We are back on our island.  We had an amazing time in Oman.  Still searching and processing all we learned and took in but I know for sure it was good. Like really good times for our family.  I never realized the rich web of folks we would meet living internationally and that it would be such a blessing. We had the privilege to travel with some of our best friends here and that made it even sweeter.  Yesterday and today we are sorting through pictures, greeting neighbors interested about a place with many connections to here, and tackling mounds of laundry.  It was a great trip and I need to just say thank you that He provided yet again for us in awesome ways.  In ways that cannot just be coincidences.  Yep, today I am looking back on our 10 day whirlwind through the desert and breathing in gratefulness.  And because we arrived home to humidity that sorta makes me want to poke my eyes with a dull pencil out or hurt someone else.  Like hurt them baaaad.  Plus, dead cockroaches in every room and a broken water pump a thankful spirit is a must for me right now.  But it is good to be back and we spent the day baking date cakes for everyone in the neighborhood (once the power came back on), giving our zawadi (gifts) out, and telling the tales of a far away land that many here wish they could visit one day.
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beautiful people and gorgeous creation
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even though the slimy jellyfish looking globs look cool…they sting….lesson learned: don’t mess with weird stuff on the beach. Pole Anni!
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we made time for malls with AC and playgrounds because for our crowd that is a novelty and much needed!
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shockingly awesome!
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Evy was in love with this “kaka” (brother) and I equally was enamored by the AC and carts in this Middle East version of Walmart…..it does not take much I tell you! Full disclosure: after shopping we gathered up our booty which included hot sauces, granola bars, and cereals to take back home and headed to lunch.  We then promptly forgot all our bags of groceries and headed back to the place we were staying.  Now maybe the make-me-want-to-pee-my pants excitement of fountain beverages and comfy seats in a real restaurant was just too much for us to take.  More likely it was the constant kid-induced frenzy we tend to operate in most days that caused us to leave behind our loot.  Jason dropped us off and went back to find our goodies happily smiling up at us from the comfort of their air conditioned cart just outside the restaurant.  Yeah! and have I mentioned  I love my husband?
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Ferris Wheel at night with friends.  “Mama, this is my most favorite time ever“- Annikah.  ’nuff said.
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a trip is not really a trip for our clan unless some serious over eating of local flavor is involved and the Middle East makes that E-A-S-Y!! I seriously think I gained 5 pounds but I enjoyed every bite.
“dearest roadside Shawarma, I already miss your greasy yumminess….sigh”
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We also indulged a bit in ..western chains…..which I swear are better outside the states…or I have just been gone a while and cannot remember clearly and start drooling and panting when I get near a take away iced coffee….ok, so either one.
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We also love traveling with similarly deprived Americans who not only understand but encourage our desire for iced coffee breaks and Mickey D’s runs. Plus, they tolerate our high falutin buffoonery which is an added bonus.  Kindred souls I tell you.
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We traveled around a ton and with gas at about a buck a gallon it was cheap and perfect chance to see the country. Paved roads and cheap gas…..awesome!  Although it seems that the only rule governing round-abouts here is “don’t look, step on the gas, and pray….inshallah you will survive” We lived to tell the tales.
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market in Nizwah
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We had LONG desert road trips where I was heard saying things like “stop spitting on your sister and keep your chupi (underwear) on” Seriously.
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and road trips made for lots of “pee in the rocks and sand” stops for Miss Evy but with these views we were happy to oblige.
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We had a slight mishap at a border crossing…meaning we crossed a border we were not supposed to…oops!  After a quick detour with Jason trying to explain we are dumb Americans who took a wrong turn and me overseeing overtired kids running in the lobby of the border guard building and generally creating unseenly hullabo we were off with just paying for another visa and getting this little ticket which we could not read. No worries it was all good.
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At every stop on our epic road trip we met awesome folks and they all had little girls …and….wait for it…..dress up clothes!!! Yeah, it was heaven for 2 watoto who had been in the car for 5 hours.
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Grand Mosque in Muscat. After removing our shoes, touring, taking pictures, and generally being a nuisance to other tourists we made our getaway.
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It was a beautiful space and I was emotional.  Similar to how I felt when touring St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, I was overwhelmed with man’s ability to build sacred spaces to honor God but God’s complete transcendence that can never be encapsulated in any man-made temple. We humans always try, though, with our rules, deeds, buildings, money, and attempts to put everything in the place only meant for our Creator.  I was and am humbled by how inadequate my and collectively our reaches for God will always be. And I am profoundly grateful for His Grace in my life.
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did I mention we met some amazing people from all over the world and were shown outrageous hospitality? The family of Jesus is big y’all!!!
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a highlight for me was meeting up with a dear friend from our island who moved to Oman just a few months ago.  She was my English student and then helped me teach Skuli.  All 6 of her kids are still on our island and she is working as a housekeeper to earn money to send them to school.  We had to meet up half way between her village and where we were staying but found it!  The whole household she lives with came along to see the fabled Wazungu so it was quite a rowdy gathering.  We exchanged gifts, hugged and both cried.  It was short but sweet.
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one night in Muscat J and I were able to sneak away for a date night at the Souq (Market). Beautiful.
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every place we went there were folks that spoke Kiswahili.  Awesome-ness.
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J trying on the national dress
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our travel buddies and dear friends.
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As I sat on the plane in a moment of silence (there were a few) I thanked God that I get to experience these places; so different from “my home” in many ways and yet I learn so many things about the world I would miss if I stayed home.  Our trip was great and we are full of gratitude and expectancy.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yay! Praise God! That is such great news. I'm so happy that your trip was such a blessing. Les and I prayed for your trip, and Les hasn't stopped talking about how jealous he is that you got to go to Oman (it has been on his “must visit” list for a long time). Love you!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So great to read your thoughts and see the fantastic photos. Did you end up taking an online course? If so, which one did you settle on? Hoping to see you guys Stateside.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Pole Anni. No jellyfish in Lake Geneva! Photos are beautiful, can't wait to hear more about all of your adventures.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great photos and well done for organizing it so soon after returning! Fun to see (= steph

  5. Anonymous says:

    Praise God you guys had such a fabulous trip to Oman! We feel blessed that we were able to meet up with you guys (even if only for a short time) at the Turkish Palace restaurant. Love all your photos especially the recent “found” entry after your daughter was baptized. Awesome memory for you I'm sure and the photo is a great capture! God bless you guys continually as you continue serving Him in Zanzibar!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful photos!! Looks like quite a contrast to island living!