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everything that we did to better experience Moroccan culture was so special to me — tea ceremonies, visiting nomadic families, visiting rug and argan oil co-ops, attending traditional music performances, eating locally prepared food, and even just seeing our guides have so much fun showing us their Sahara was so meaningful and are experiences I will always treasure. being able to build those sorts of connections and experience traditions and cultures that are in some ways so different, but in other ways so centered around the same important things of life, is just one of the best things about being alive. there was a moment when everyone who was staying in the retreat center – some we knew, and some we didn’t – were all dancing and singing and laughing together under the same celestial sky, and I just was overwhelmed with this feeling like… there are so many bad things in the world like wars and poverty and death and personal tragedy. but dancing still exists. people can get together and not even know each other or not speak the same language, but for just a moment, we can dance under the moon and everything is going to be okay. I’ll remember that feeling forever.

every single minute of off roading through the Sahara, blasting Moroccan music and making up lyrics since we couldn’t understand and dancing along so hard I was bruised the next day is one of the happiest memories of my life, I have never screamed so loud or laughed so hard. my cheeks were sore for days afterwards in the happiest of ways.

there was also one very specific memory of the first time we did yoga at night, on the rooftop, the sun setting and one by one the stars coming out, and the sliver of a crescent moon rose above us, and I’ve never felt so small and insignificant, and yet so big and grand and important, as that moment. we were underneath universes on end, and we were living and moving and breathing, and it all mattered. it matters so much.