A few weeks ago, I made an odd request to one of my good friends. This individual jetted off to Israel and various locations in the Middle East and I made one request, bring me back sand from the desert. 

Now I know this sounds terribly strange to ask someone to get you sand, but the truth is that I always wanted to have a piece of another place in my collections from my personal travels and from those of my family and friends. I own pins, coins, postcards and other assorted knickknacks from places I have never been, but wish to visit in the future. I have never seen a desert with my own eyes, not even in the United States.

So I asked for sand.

Israel, the country roughly the size of New Jersey (CIA Factbook) is approximately 5,550 miles away from my home in Rhode Island. I speak not one word of Hebrew and my skin is awful in the sun, turning red with the hot burning situation. The rich cultural fabric of Jewish, Islāmic and Christian culture blends as one, even if the groups hardly ever see eye to eye.

I think Israel has always fascinated me because it seems so far away from my own cozy world in suburbia, sandy deserts in place of green parks and white picket fences. I have only read and heard about the Middle East and its exotic treasures in books, magazines, on television, in films. Now I have a part of that land in my room, sitting upon my desk. 

It came wrapped in two bags from thousands of miles away in the heart of Jerusalem. Intertwined in pink and purple plastic came the sand I requested, just the right amount of desert for my bedroom in suburbia, on a cul-de-sac far away from war zones and car bombs. I will end up buying a glass jar for it, to remind me of places far beyond my reach that maybe someday I will be lucky enough to visit.