One thousand grains of sand

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What if all of a sudden you are disconnected from any and every thing familiar to you? What if all of a sudden you get stripped of your belongings and put in a land, totally unknown to you- a desert even? Such was my unbelievable experience- my Connecting Cultures desert excursion. In fact, it was somehow a mimicking of what was happening in my own world.
Suddenly, I was in the middle of Sharqiyya desert, Oman, accompanied by groups of faces I have encountered only few hours before. We were all stripped of our phones and all means of communication with anyone but us, the desert lying before us, and its people.

For me, it was something I needed, whether I was aware of that or not. My world had been in constant turbulence for months on; I most urgently needed to distance myself from it for a little while. I needed to hear my own voices, sometimes conflicting. I needed something; and there was the call of the Omani desert.

And there it was: our first encounter… I have never seen the desert but on TV channels, touristic brochures in Morocco, or otherwise through the accounts of friends who have been or lived. I have never pictured how it could be or feel like being in the desert, either…
As I walked through the billions of sand grains, I realized how not easy that was, but as I have been carrying one conversation after another with my newly made acquaintances, I forgot about the sand grainsthat infiltrated into my shoes to be utterly breathless by the sunset. The sun was being gulped by the distant mighty space, while the horizon wore wonderful colors… I was about to witness my first desert sunset… Once it was time, the view was majestic, warm and enlightening…

Sleeping in a small tent with my newly-met Polish friend was something new to both of us- my guess is. Having lived in Poland and she in Qatar for a year, we seemed to have some very deep understanding, appreciation and embrace of one another and so there was some sort of instantly felt affection between us… I could not stop tossing glimpses of my Polish experience every now and then- actually, it was the first time I discovered what love, admiration and belonging -yes- I have for Poland!! It was high time for self-rediscovery…

Exploring the desert, I also discovered how ignorant I had been about the many views and landscapes of the desert… Walking on the dunes was not any like walking on a solid ground… It was much more difficult than what we had on the first day. Then, arriving at the Ouadi, the view was just utterly majestic! I have been bewildered… I just fell in love with it… The Ouadi, extended proudly before us, offering an overwhelming aura of serenity- exactly what I needed.

Inside, I was contented, happy, proud, majestic… What an infectious effect it had!! Thinking of home seemed like an impossible task; home seemed distant in time and space, a quite intangible target… All I could recollect was the buzzing noise of horns in a fading street. I renounced. (to be continued)

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