Flights are purchased, plans have been sorted, and in seven short days my time working in Oman will come to an end. These past six months have felt long, with far too much time spent feeling isolated and lonely, as well as dissatisfied with/ uninspired by my job. In these final few days I wish I had a tidy life lesson to write down, something about the value of persevering through unhappiness perhaps, but mostly I’m just glad this phase is over, and I’m trying to find the silver linings from this experience where I can.
Oh man, Oman- my week spent roaming around greater Oman was pretty much the bee’s knees. A few days after celebrating a still surprisingly festive expat Christmas, Gary and I made a beeline down the Gulf Coast, eventually crossing the border into mainland Oman and continuing south. To help pass the time we counted wild camels and donkeys along the way, pulling over after a long day of driving to set up our tent on a cliff above the ocean, where we watched the sunset and spent the night playing cards by the fire, listening to the waves crashing below us. The next morning the drive further south looked remarkably like the coastline in Southern California, until we crossed the Tropic of Cancer and big mountains etched out by deep canyons began rising up next to the sea. Our first stop was to explore the ruins in Qalhat, a tiny coastal town written about in its heyday by Marco Polo. We tried to imagine former splendor as we poked about Bibi Maryam’s tomb and an old graveyard before continuing inland towards Wadi Bani Khalid.
Happy Holidays from Dibba, Oman! Today work was cancelled thanks to heavy rain, the Arabian version of a snow day. Since some of the cold and dust from last weekend’s trip to the Empty Quarter is still rattling around in my lungs, I spent the better part of the day watching Lawrence of Arabia curled up in my cozy bed. Four hour later (I didn’t know movies were allowed to be that long), now fortified with tea and toast, I’ve decided to finally stop procrastinating on writing a bit about the past couple months.
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
-Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
Some pictures from two weekends spent touristing!
Dibba, which I’ve also seen written as Daba, Dabba, Dibya, Dabya and Doba, has helped me redefine just how sleepy a little town can be. Living here has felt a bit like stepping back in time, life following the simplicity of the desert landscape. There are quite possibly more goats than people, roaming about town wherever they please, and you’ll also find the occasional wild donkey milling about, left over from days when they were expected to haul in fishing nets. Superstitions still abound, so far I’ve heard not to photograph the goats or they won’t produce milk, not to kayak off the main beach because it scares the fish away, and to only eat dates in odd numbers if you want any of the nutritional benefits.
Somehow I have already been in Arabia, specifically the United Arab Emirates and Oman, for exactly one month, although it feels more like one week. I’m sitting in my courtyard taking my first lazy day off since I arrived, coincidentally the first day that the weather has been pleasant enough to sit outside anytime after 7am or before 7pm. As I enjoy the breeze while bingeing on snacks left over from last week’s student group, I guess I will attempt to rewind to day one.
Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence. -Wendell Berry
The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours in which we truly live, so that the longer we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched from inevitable Time. -Richard Jefferies
I spent this summer playing around the San Juan Islands working as a kayak guide, where I successfully managed not to lose anyone at sea, although I did have to rescue capsized clients (twice!). During my months in Washington I started lead climbing, hiked many hikes, and entered a new decade. I can hardly believe the summer is really over, although it’s even harder to believe in less than a week I’ll be leaving my beloved west coast, bound for a new job in Oman.
There are years that ask questions, and years that answer. -Zora Neale Hurston
After my first taste of the majestic Himalayas in Leh I was eager to spend more time in the mountains, and planned to spend the last part of April trekking in Darjeeling and Sikkim. As the trip grew closer the idea of going back to India started to give me night sweats, and so despite having lugged around unnecessary cold weather trekking clothes for months, I decided to eat the costs of my flights and instead head to Myanmar for my final trip. I’m feeling pretty lazy about actually writing anything, but here are a few pictures:
I was lucky enough to spend cumulatively a little over a month working in Bali, and despite being overrun with tourists, I still found it to be kind of a magic place.
We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of the world.- Jack Gilbert
I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately, especially as the current political climate continues to relentlessly break my heart, and since reading Naomi Klein’s ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate’ has been giving me some restless nights. All I can figure is the only way to combat the phase we’re in now is to speak up where it matters, to love with more depth, to be even kinder, and to stubbornly enjoy every little moment of joy we can find. Sri Lanka provided the perfect opportunity to practice gladness, it really was a perfect 12 day trip.