Date: December 31, 1999.
Place: Muscat, the fascinating capital of the Sultanate of Oman, where I was working. More precisely in the Al Hajar mountains. The thought that I had never felt so far away from home was welcoming. Oman was exactly the place I needed to be: distant, different and exotic. The sweet and relaxing aroma of frankincense, the glittering Arabian Sea against a dramatic mountainous backdrop, date-palms, watchtowers, men in kummah and flowing dishdasha, and Muttrah, a souk by the sea . It offered me a life that I imagined I needed. Welcome to the New Millenium! On the horizon, the lights of the city. Much closer, the bonfire from a group of English revelers drinking and celebrating. The sky ridiculously filled with stars. I close my eyes and they remain in my retina. I try to rearrange the constellations of stars in order to recognize the sky. A failed project, I could not find the familiar Southern Hemisphere signposts. As I said, this was clearly not home. Thankfully.
When happiness comes like this, you swear that you can imprison it inside you forever – my thoughts, then. But of course this is not true. Happiness is not a tangible thing that you can keep in your pocket (even though I had naively sworn so in the past). Happiness is something slippery. And it can be deceitful.
No problem. At least I imprisoned the image.