The Start of a Break – Muscat, Oman

The beginning of Winter and Summer Break are always hard to make look exciting for a waiting audience. Most people expect exciting views from the far away places that we will be visiting, and we will eventually get to those places. I will share those pictures with you, but the first day of a break is usually spent catching my breath and easing out of the stress that comes with being a teacher. Though I do want to explore the place I find myself in, I would rather just take it easy for the first day, and work up to the point where I can get out and really enjoy the sights.

This is definitely what our first day in Muscat, Oman was all about. It wasn’t that rough of a day of travel to get out here considering that it is only on the other side of the Arabian peninsula, so I could not use that as an excuse for being lazy. There are a lot of interesting things to do and places around town that I want to explore, so that really couldn’t be used as an excuse either. I will just say it as I see it, I really did not want to do much today except walk on the beach, have something good to eat, and get my bearings.

So we did just that. We went down to the public beach on the southern edge of town, and spent most of the afternoon wandering up and down it. I was surprised at how empty it was for a public beach on such a beautiful day. The water was warm, and the cool ocean breeze kept the temperatures comfortable. It is not a wide beach, but it offers enough real estate that I never felt like I was crowding in on another person. It is also designed a little differently than other public beaches I have been to. There are not a lot of shops, and cafes along it begging for you business. It is designed as a place to sit back and enjoy, and if you need to find a place to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, it is not far away down one of the side roads.

By the time nightfall came, we made it to the top of the hill for dinner at one of the hotels. If you are visiting Oman from somewhere other than the Middle East, you will want to look for these places because they are the only restaurants in the city that sell alcohol. The restaurant in the Crowne Plaza, Duke’s, also offers some amazing views of the setting sun at night. The food there is pretty good as well, so I would recommend heading that way if you are hungry after a long day of walking along the beach.

Overall, it was the perfect way to start my Winter holiday. I know that there will be many days of running around trying to see all that there is to see, but for now, I am happy just to gather up my energy to prepare myself for the adventure that is ahead. Stay tuned for what Oman has to offer as I explore Muscat and the surrounding places of this country in the next couple of days.

A Snowy New Year

It started last night when I arrived at my brother’s house. I had gone down to Castle Rock so I could ring in the New Year with a couple of my family members, and there was a little grumbling about how it was a terrible night to have it snow. It would make driving difficult, and a bunch of idiots would be out on the road after they had drunk one too many. There would be wrecks all over the place, and the police would be driving around to make sure everybody was safe. If only it could have waited a couple more days, the much anticipated snow would be welcomed in the state of Colorado.

I did not feel the same way. First of all, the first big snow of the year would keep people from going out and doing stupid things. It would also bring much needed moisture for an area of the world that was thirsting for any drop. The fires that started up north and destroyed a big part of Boulder county would also welcome the snow because it would put an end to the destruction.

These were all great reasons to be excited about the snow, but the real reason I wanted to see it was because it was snow! I remember a time in my life when I would grumble and complain like many of the other people that I spent the night with when the snow continued to pound the front range throughout the course of the Winter. Most of these complaints came during the later Winter months such as late February, March, and late into April when I was done with the wet and cold. But it has a different feeling when it first arrives. It brings in the change of the season, and marks an end to the one I had just experienced. I would get enjoy cold days of drinking hot coffee and looking out the window and the snow collected on the ground, creating a blanket of calm and peacefulness. I would have an excuse to snuggle in the warmth of my home while reading good books and watching movies. I knew I would eventually tire of this feeling, but when it first began, I would get excited about the prospect of what the next few months would bring.

It had been at least two years since I had experienced this change of the season, and I never knew how much I would miss it. I know it seems like a silly thing to miss, but there is a certain amount of joy that comes with the changing of the seasons. As the earth makes its rotation around the sun, the seasons give you a small, little thing to always look forward to. Every three to four months, you get to change the way you live your life, so you will not fall into rut of an everyday routine. When I lived in the eternal summer months of Thailand, I quit paying attention to pages of the calendar flipping because it meant nothing more than another day of more of the same.

Of course, part of the reason that I came out to Colorado for the Winter Break was to see my family and spend the holidays with them. It was great to hop around from home to home and enjoy their company for an evening or two. I was able to create a few new memories that I will take with me as I fly back to Jordan and return to my life there. But I will be honest; this was not the only reason that I came out. I wanted to see that snow. I wanted to experience the change of the seasons, and as my time out here continued, I kept on missing that chance. As I was making my way to the New Year’s Eve celebration, I was happy to see snow spitting from the sky. As the night progressed, I was even more excited to see it collect on the patio furniture in the back yard. And as I woke up this morning to greet the New Year, I was excited to see the whole city had been covered in this white goodness.

I know many of you might not have had the same experience, and you may not feel the same way as I do, but I hope that your New Year’s celebrations brought you what you wanted to get out of them. I also hope that 2022 brings you happiness and joy, and that you get to anticipate something great as well, no matter how small that thing may be.