and when I moved to Pakistan
I moved to Lahore, Pakistan in December of 2007. Given that I only had one year in Lahore, the time seemed so thick. Benazir Bhutto returned from exile, 136 people were killed in a suicide bombing attempt on her life, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and sacked the Chief Justice of Pakistan and fourteen other justices, Sharif returned from exile, Benazir was assassinated, elections were postponed, elections took place. Lahore, never known for extremist violence, suffered its first bombings, two buildings associated with ISI offices. (I was nowhere close, but the blast was still enough to rattle my studio windows. The sound was like a mountain falling over.)
Media was blocked at one point, and at others our neighbors told us to stay home so as not to cross paths with people demonstrating. The US cross-border drone bombing campaign began to radicalize even people in the Punjab, who had no particular sympathies for the Pashtuns the Americans were killing. Nobody was particularly interested in "where is Bin Laden" as we were too busy worrying what the War on Terror was doing to us. The rupee dived against the dollar and the new government was unable or unwilling to curtail grain hoarding and export, so people who were marginally surviving became completely desperate. Power outages ran to ten hours a day, and were not predictable. All the other non-Pakistani Americans we knew, those who didn't have armed guards at their gates? They left, seeing nothing good on the horizon.
It became clear we needed to leave too, although that was not what we wanted. For my partner and I both, Lahore had been a good place.