"Sarah, Fuhget About the Babehy"

-Got our second post to Muscat, Oman
-Actually passed a course with Arabic right in the title
-Witnessed my first Eid up close, my first bloody, bloody Eid
-Ate Dodger dogs and drank honest to gosh Egg Nog
-Visited some of our favorite cities
-Learned to take care of a dog all by my onsie
-Visited Seville and Paris (which I didn't even blog about!  See below for implied excuse)
-Finally accomplished our life's Halloween costume dream (thus explaining above)

This year was pretty awesome in bullets, but what really made it for me were the people.  We have made great friends within our consulate community, both of my parents were able to visit, we spent Christmas among the snow capped Utah Mountains, Max’s brother lived with us for the whole summer and we had a few travelers stay with us along their journey.  Most recently we hosted an amazing family who took a year off from their regularly scheduled lives in America to travel the world with their three boys.  Their journey has been guided by a verse in  Proverbs which, in The Message translation of the Bible, reads “God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world.” (Psalms 8) with hearing the echoes of God in all the places and people as their aim.  

I am sometimes overcome by what I now recognize as “The echoes of God” around us.  I have loved living in Morocco and learning about its history and its people, the natural beauty and the political and social forces that have produced its modern state.   Over the years I have loved living in Muslim countries (and a Jewish country) and watching how people understand God and try to reach for him.  But more than landscapes and orthodoxies; this year, for me, was about the joy of connecting with the people around us.  Our family, our friends, our co-workers and even our door man with no front teeth.  I feel sad to leave Morocco in a few months, but I am also energized by the idea of meeting new people, seeing the spark of God in more neighbors and inviting our family into another home across the sea.   

I’m kind of a recluse by nature.  I’m terribly anxious about social events and I frequently baulk at dinner invitations. But when I push past whatever makes me afraid, I actually enjoy it.  This year I’ve realized I’m also a people person by nature.  How you can be both, I’m not sure and I shudder at the cliched term "people person" but it's true.  My Mom made a comment after she left Morocco that she was surprised how involved I seemed to be with the people at the consulate and how I knew everyone and they knew me.  First, it's a small consulate.  But second, look at me being social! She's right. I have found so much joy in making these relationships over the past two years.  Certainly more than climbing over Moroccan mountains in our corolla or slurping salmorejo in Seville for the first time (but you should know it's a pretty amazing summer soup).  

Sometime during this year I realized that all of the second hand sympathy and understanding gained from reading or traveling or learning doesn’t mean anything if we don’t get out there and share some of it, learn empathy first hand, grow some real relationships and try to be good to those around us.  

2013 is already stressing me out.  I'm staring down the barrel of a baby bear sized move from Utah to DC, a mama bear sized  move from Casa to Utah and a Papa sized move from DC to Oman and my first inclination is to dub this the year of the hermit.  Hide away, organizing my things in preparation for our next big thing, our next country, but what a shame that would be I'm now realizing.  No promises, it might still happen, but perhaps I won't embrace it so merrily as I once would have.  And this declaration of a possible new self I write coming down from a major food poisoning event originating from my first meal on a 15 hour transatlantic flight.  Max's optimism must be wearing off on me.  

So, as Max used to say as a child and shall not live to see it forgotten "Happy New You!"

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