Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas, Omani Style

It's December 21st here in Muscat, Oman and Christmas is just around the corner.  But it just doesn't feel like it.  I'm not hearing Christmas songs on the radio, I haven't seen It's A Wonderful Life even one time and (can't believe I'm saying this) I actually miss hearing that bell being rung in front of stores.  Yes, it is Christmas in a non-Christian country and if you're headed to one, prepare yourself.  Go overboard in bringing lots of decorations and CDs to hear the music you always yearn to hear during December.  Since there are many British residents here, Christmas decorations are available in most store, but in short supply and not cheap! Stock up on gift type things, including wrapping paper, and don't forget to factor in shipping fees.  It is a big part of your budget!

I do miss my kids and my grandkids.  One of my friends is coming tomorrow night  from Sarajevo for 9 days and we'll experience Christmas in Oman together.  One good thing...all the stores will be open!  However, I'm not sure we'll find many bargains.  We will go snorkeling, see some 15th century forts, shop in the souk, or marketplace, explore the surrounding towns and just have a good old time.  My tree is decorated, what ornaments and decorations that made it from Honduras are on display and my one Christmas CD is playing.  I could use some more.  Maybe there will still be some Christmas music in stores when I get back to the states in July.  Maybe.

For me, 2010 has been a terrific year.  The years just keep getting better and better.  Oman is a wonderful place with great people and amazing sights to see.  I've already served 1/4 of my 2 years and will soon (this summer) begin the process of finding where I go next.  No more being assigned...after your second assignment, you are responsible for looking at the list of available embassy jobs around the world and the process of selling yourself and receiving an offer of a job begins.  For those of you in the FS, I highly recommend bidding on/requesting Oman.  Feel free to ask me about this post any time you want. 

I'm looking forward to 2011 and my travel opportunities.  Egypt, Bangkok, Italy, Washington DC and my home, Fort Worth, Texas are all in my sights for next year.  I hope that whatever you have in your sights is within reach for you too. 

Merry Christmas to all...and have the very best New Year!