Muscat, Oman | the shopkeeper.

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I wonder what this man would have said to me had I spoken arabic. I had been in the middle east for nearly two weeks when we decided to travel from Dubai to Muscat, the capital of Oman. Most of the people I interacted up to then could not speak English. But as I wandered around the souq I felt drawn to this shop and this man.  Even now I feel like he's reaching out to me and speaking to me with his eyes.

No matter where I travel I'm fascinated by the local markets. I believe it's the best place to see the culture of the place I'm visiting. If you get a real good market you get to eat the local food and really interact with the locals.  When I head to India I'll definitely be visiting the markets. Can't wait.  hurray.

Raleigh | Two men in a museum

As I walked through the North Carolina Museum of Art, I came across these two older men enjoying each other's company.  Earlier that day, I shared a conversation with an older lady who described her life as a widower, mother, business owner and part-time museum worker.  She must have been in her 60s or 70s, but she was radiant.  I admire older people so much, and when they have something to say, I make a point to listen.  They understand life and have experienced its full potential.  Then I was reminded of what my friend, Geoff, had said to me earlier in the week during another of his life-lesson-pep-talks he always gives me, "Wisdom and life experience are what it's all about.  Pack your days with experiences."

It sometimes amazes me how an atheist like him and a Christian like me can be friends.  Who would have thought?  I've always sought to surround myself with people, especially those older than me, who have chosen to make the most of their life.  Everyone chooses their own paths in life, some motivated by success or love, others by fear.  Instead, I try to pave my own path driven by God's guidance.  He continues to fill my life with experiences, always showing his faithfulness in my life.  I am blessed beyond words for all the experiences in my life and both the good and the bad ahead of me.

The New Yorker.

I first met Geoff in 2006 when I visited New York for the first time.  He was a friend of a friend of a friend or something that I met at dinner for someone's birthday.  We hit it off right away and have been friends ever since.  Some of my favorite memories of Geoff was when we trekked all the way to Long Island from Manhattan in the cold and the rain to visit Brooklyn Brewery then found out they were closed for tours.  Or all the W hotels he's put me up in when I didn't have a place to stay in Manhattan.  He's been there when I've needed him, even when he was in London or New York or Minnesota or Detroit. If I had to describe him, I would say... He's a hopeless romantic.  He genuinely cares about the people in his life and would do anything for them.  He's a big kid.  He can be a bull in china shop, but somehow my personality and his mesh real well together.  He LOVES the steelers and soccer, and everything there is about New York.  He definitely takes advantage of all the fun things to do in New York.  Also, he's the reason why I know so much about beer and why I love it so much!

Here's some pictures of him from a while back when he visited me. We went out to Lower Haight for some tasty beers at Toronado.  Being from New York, he wasn't too impressed with public transportation in the city, but we made around on Muni pretty well.  woot.

Getting Older

On some days I tend to reminisce about how quickly time as passed. The older I get the more frequently I reminisce. I notice that people my age nowadays are project managers or directors or in some position of authority. I wonder if I could have made it there if I hadn't been laid off. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I still had a job or a boyfriend. I picture myself living in my own apartment, riding my motorcycle to work everyday. Spending happy hour and nights with a boyfriend. It's nice to imagine the what-if's, but self-destructive if I dwell on it.

Having been "unemployed", living at home and car-less for the past two years, I've come to realize something both very bitter and uplifting about life. Life doesn't stop... it just keeps going. It's bitter because you may struggle to keep up with it or find yourself lost and unable to move on. However, it's entirely uplifting if when I remember that no matter what hardships I encounter, life keeps moving; new opportunities will come. Life continues to present me with happiness and things to keep me moving.

I think the way life works is all part of God's plan to give us hope and keep us motivated.

When I look at older people who have such a fervent love for life, I am reminded that I have so much of life to enjoy and even more to look forward to.