I'm not sure what it was about this trip to Oman, but the restlessness and frustration I felt before I stepped off the plane in Muscat, seems to have dissipated. I feel washed clean.
Growing up with a nomadic lifestyle, there's a paradox that becomes apparent during adolescence: you don't belong anywhere, and yet somehow, you belong everywhere. Though this was my first time in Oman, I felt like I had come home. The desert held the same sand I drew pictures in when I was five; it was my sand— and the sea was my sea. Everything was new and yet so familiar, and this wonderful feeling did something to me that I can't quite explain, except to say that I remembered.
I remembered singing ABBA songs with my mother in our little car, on the endless two-lane highway that crossed the desert that was Dubai. I remembered snacking on manaeesh with my father, and taking walks with Uncle Khalil— who would tragically pass away a few years later. I remembered sneaking into my auntie's room with my cousin to secretly sip the holy water contained in a plastic Virgin Mary bottle— and the disappointment that it did not give us superpowers. I remembered bees and bougainvillea, the music of Arabic on my tongue, the smell of salt, and my sister being born. In all of this, I remembered the feeling of being light.
Sometimes, before we know it, we find ourselves digging grooves into the earth with our repetitive movements— commutes and daily chores, paying bills, and other unexciting obligations. I have bored a hole into my living room floor (much like the excavation in Taksim for a new tunnel), where I have been trapped in a pattern that has kept me from making any art. This has been going on for far too long, and the more time that passes, the harder it is to get motivated to do anything about it. I used to call this state of being, The Pea Soup Syndrome. It's essentially stagnation.
And there is something about Oman that is healing.