I haven't been calling people up for fear that they'll ask me about the trip. The standard question: So, how was your trip? completely flummoxes me. So how was my trip? Everytime I try to think unease wells up inside me and myriad images flash through my mind. Am I unable to judge because there is so much experience tightly packed within a relatively short span of time? To say just good or bad about this whole complex of experience-sights, smells, sounds, tastes, emotions-seems so reductive. So how can I sum it up for people without going into the intricate details of all those days, nights, sunrises, sunsets, bus rides, lunches and dinners? Is there a necessity of summing up at all? Should I dismiss the question with a short and sweet lie? I remember how I would write, in my journal, that all my days are merging into one long day of bus rides and tiredness.
But if I close my eyes now I can see so many different landscapes: the arid deserts of South Iran, the first rain after crossing Qom, the green, wide sidewalks of Esfahan, the news stands in Tehran, the snow on the way to Tabriz, the spaghetti dinner for veggies at Bazargan, the vanilla and choco chip ice cream landscape on the way to Van, the completely boring brown bare muddy fields on the way to Diyarbakr, the first plate of hummous and baba ganoush in Syria, the orange groves by the road side on the way to Saladin Fort, the first glimpse of the Mediterranean...I could go on.
I hope I can go back to most of these places and live for a while. Then I would surely have more than just fleeting glimpses of the landscape.
Maybe I immersed myself too much in the details to have a bigger picture. I'm trying to think what I felt after coming back from Kashmir. No doubt something similar: how to concentrate so much of little details into a broad overview. But then it was diluted by other concerns. And it is true that I was much less involved on this trip than I was in Kashmir. So I haven't come back with strong convictions. But that's a good thing I think. But I hope I have strong ties-I think I do. I really really feel a very strong urge to go back especially to Iran and Palestine. I hope I can, soon.