Saturday, December 22:  On December 7, I got an email from someone who actually reads my blog.  She wrote:

I’m an expat in Abu Dhabi, stumbled onto your blog a year ago when researching Oman and have been following you ever since. We have a lot in common, but key words are generalist, teacher, writer, photographer, art, and hiking. And wine. I am lucky enough to have my husband sharing this experience with me. We love Oman and are spending Christmas week there, including the Western Hajar and Nizwa area, then Muscat and As Sifa. I want to find the best hikes to do, and I think you might be able to help. If there is one must-do hike, what is it? And … I would love to meet you if you are around. We will be at Hotel Jibreen for a couple nights before Christmas and have a couple of unplanned nights at the end of the trip that we are thinking we may also spend in the mountains. ~ Anne

Of course I am always happy to meet anyone who reads my blog!  After all, that person needs a lot of patience and perseverance, and so must be a very special person!  Haha! So, we arranged to meet in Nizwa at the Falaj Daris Hotel on Saturday night.

meeting Anne was a nice Christmas present. :-)

meeting Anne was a nice Christmas present. 🙂

I was so thrilled to meet Anne and her husband Mark.  They remind me of my people back home.  Though they’re not Virginians, they’re from Nevada, and I spent 4 years of my life living out west in the USA, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  It’s just enough that they’re fellow Americans.  In addition, Anne reminds me a little of one of my 4 best high school friends, Louise, especially in her mannerisms and her character.  I felt immediately at home in her company.

me and Anne being goofy at the Falaj Daris Hotel

me and Anne being goofy at the Falaj Daris Hotel

And that’s not all.  Anne is a fellow blogger!  I didn’t know she had a blog as she never mentioned it, but once I found it, I subscribed right away.  I love her sharp colorful photos and her fresh take on her experiences as an expat living in Abu Dhabi.  Although she is a BLOGSPOT blogger, and not a WORDPRESS blogger, I had to step over the line and join her on her journey.

Wildcard Travels ~ Anne's blog

Wildcard Travels ~ Anne’s blog

She writes about herself on Wildcard travels: Mark and I are, more than anything, sailors and racers. Leaving our northern Nevada and California stomping grounds and moving to the Middle East is something we never dreamed would happen, yet here we are. I’m spending the time being a writer, photographer, teacher, and painter. I’m a former 5th grade teacher, conservation project manager, sailmaker, and stained glass artist with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography. Also a mom, grandma, and Mark’s wife. I believe life is best lived by stepping outside the comfort zone, taking on challenges and enjoying adventures while maintaining a sense of humor. I’m not a thrill seeker, but thrive on change. I hope you enjoy the stories.

us with guns :-)

us with guns 🙂

Anne is a warm, easy-going and fun-loving person and I invite you to check out her blog.  I was honored that she contacted me and made the time to meet me.

We talked for a long while over dinner and a bottle of wine poolside.  They insisted on treating me.  I felt incredibly at ease in their company.  Anne used to be a 5th-grade teacher and has worked in conservation.  She’s also a painter, photographer and writer.  She and Mark are avid sailors; they met in a sailing regatta.  They sail in Abu Dhabi with an Italian crew.  And they have their own sailboat in California.

I feel she and I could be kindred spirits.  🙂  I hoped when we parted that we would meet again.  And surprisingly, we did.  That story will follow in another post…. 🙂