Friday, January 11:  Tonight I take the boys to Muscat for a last dinner together before they head back home to the U.S. tonight at 10:50.  Of course, Adam requests that we make a stop at a Restaurant/Coffee Shop near Bidbid for a cup of tea.

We make a stop on the highway near BidBid, so Adam can stop at one of his favorite coffee shops for tea.

We make a stop on the highway near Bidbid, so Adam can stop at one of his favorite coffee shops for tea.

After taking our seats at The Left Bank, we order glasses of wine so we can toast to our latest adventure in Oman, and to the boys’ great and successful year ahead in college.   They start their spring semester classes on Monday, January 14.  Both of them are excited about going back to school and continuing their period of self-discovery.

Alex, Mike & Adam enjoying our last meal together at the Left Bank in Muscat

Alex, Mike & Adam enjoying our last meal together at the Left Bank in Muscat

Adam orders some delicious butternut squash ravioli, which all of us want to eat.  Sadly, it’s his dinner and he doesn’t care to share more than tiny bites.

Adam's butternut squash ravioli

Adam’s butternut squash ravioli

I order my favorite chili fried prawns and goat cheese en croute topped with cranberry compote.  Alex orders a vegetable curry and Mike orders vegetable spring rolls and side dishes of spinach and mashed potatoes.  We enjoy our meal together, but I can tell they are all anxious to go.  I can understand; when I am getting ready to take a long flight, I get impatient and irritable myself.

a bird's eye view of our meal

a bird’s eye view of our meal

Alex is excited to get home and thinks he will never come back to Oman.  Adam, who is always enthusiastic about everything, thinks he could live here full-time.  Mike is glad he came; he took great interest in reading a book I’ve hardly touched the whole time I’ve been here: Oman: Jewel of the Arabian Gulf by Georg Popp with Juma Al-Maskari.  When he had down time at my flat, he perused the book and educated us on different aspects of Oman’s history and economy.  From the chapter on “The Date Palm, Oman’s Tree of Life,” he told us that the lifespan of a date palm is about that of a man and having a personal tree is a guarantee against starvation.  There are an estimated 8 million date palms in Oman, approximately four for every Omani.  He tells us that by consuming 15 dates a day, a person gets all the essential vitamins & minerals necessary for an adult person.  After learning this, he and the boys made a trip to Nizwa souq, where they stocked up on dates, and Mike proceeded to eat 15 a day each day he was here.

Adam and me. So sad to see them go!

Adam and me. So sad to see them go!

Adam tells us his favorite places were Camp Al Areesh and Wadi Shab.  He pauses just a minute and then says, “Oh!  And the Balcony Walk at Jebel Shams.  Oh!  And I loved Wadi Muaydin!”  And so it goes.  Alex feels the same enthusiasm about Al Areesh and Wadi Shab that his brother does.  Jebel Akhdar still tops my list.  And Mike found it all interesting, but didn’t seem overly enthused about any one thing.

I loved having my family here to share in my life.  One night Adam told me that I’ve inspired him by becoming a teacher; he likes the idea of influencing people’s lives through teaching.  He’s still trying to figure out what direction he wants to take in his life.  Alex has developed a real interest in history because of a great professor he had last semester.  He plans on taking a course in Russian history with that same professor this semester.  I’m glad to see them finally opening their minds to things they might have never considered before.  That’s what the college years are about, as far as I’m concerned.  Heck, I’m their mother and well over 50, and I still haven’t figured out my direction.  Maybe they will inspire me to explore some avenue I’ve never even considered before.

We go early to the airport because they want to get checked in.  I have burdened each of them with one suitcase, the first of my shipments back home.  On previous trips, when I’ve flown here with Qatar Airways, I was allowed 2 50-pound suitcases to check.  Lufthansa tells them they only get one each, even for an international flight!  Luckily Adam only has a carry on backpack, but with my three suitcases, and Alex and Mike’s 2, that makes 5 for three people.  Mike can carry my smallest one onboard, which he’s not happy about, and then he pays for the other at the exorbitant charge of 40 Omani Rials, or over $100!! Ridiculous!!

Oh well, I have a lot more boxes to ship in June when I leave.  This only puts a dent in my burden.

I hug all of them and bid them adieu ~ until I see them again in early August.   At that time, they won’t be able to get rid of me. 🙂