Sunday, September 27, 2015

Settling In


The first day I arrived in Muscat I was completely taken aback.  My boyfriend not only paid off the customs agent to get Meg into the country (then went back with the necessary paperwork a few days later), he put me up in a really nice brand new apartment.  He also furnished the whole thing before I arrived and included a dozen maps, visitor books on the country and magazines.  He even added thoughtful touches of framing a picture of the two of us and putting it on one nightstand, and framing a second photo of my best friend and I with my little brothers and putting it on the other nightstand.  A sign that read, “Welcome to Muscat Sam & Meg” lay on my bed with signatures from just about every church member.  Needless to say, I cried.

The first couple of weeks in Muscat he took me to probably a dozen different schools for interviews and to drop off my resume.  He called, e-mailed and wheedled his way into offices of those who would be best to receive my papers to get me a job.  After two weeks it became pretty clear that I was too late in the game to get a job as a teacher – especially one without a car.  We broadened my scope to the next best jobs that would utilize my skills.  My degree is in human development, and my certifications are in being an assistant nurse as well as a teacher of English as a second language to adults.  My military experience gave me MC, writing, video and audio editing, and radio announcing experience.  I finally landed a job with an event coordinating company on a strictly trainee basis.  The general manager and I share a U.S. military background. 

Honestly, I wasn’t qualified for this job when I got it.  The GM just kept saying, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you for some reason,” “I couldn’t get you out of my head,” “You’re not qualified but something in my gut keeps telling me to take a chance on you.”

He may not know what that “something” was, but I do.  We make our own plans, but God determines the steps we take (Proverbs 16:9; 20:24). 

He’s got me on a 90-day on-the-job-training program right now with a fixed salary each month.  Come the New Year my salary will increase depending on my value to the company.  I’m being groomed to take on a management position in the next 3-4 months and once the late spring and summer months hit our workload will slow down exponentially because the majority of the residents go on vacation.  That will allow me to not only take vacations as well, but to go back to school.  I’m planning on getting an associates degree in Oenology and Wine Business to, eventually, open my own winery back in Washington State.

I’ve been working with this company for a little over three weeks and it’s been a wonderful eye-opener.  While the hours are not what someone would typically prefer – I work most weekends and holidays in addition to weekdays – it’s given me a vision of how the skills I’m learning now will be beneficial to me in the future.  Learning management, event coordination, Disc Jockey, sound and lighting systems have given me a vision of making a future winery also a place to host events like weddings, birthdays, family reunions and anniversaries.  Adding to it a few years into the business would be a bed and breakfast farther up on the property.  Who wouldn’t want to have their wedding, reunion, etc. at the winery, and then stay at a quaint B&B up the lane?

God’s provision has continued to surpass my expectations.  Most people wait a month or more before they’re able to get a job – I only had to wait two weeks.  Admittedly it felt like a very long two weeks!  My boyfriend has been an incredible support since I got here.  Until my first paycheck comes he’s been helping with weekly expenses so I don’t have to worry about them.  Until I get a car he’s been wonderful about picking me up and taking me to run errands without so much as a single word of complaint.  My dog, Meg, has been well loved and taken care of since I got here.  Even with my crazy work hours it’s never been an issue for me to run home to walk her and feed her before having to get back to a setup for an event.  With all the changes that have happened to her the last few months she’s transitioned like a champion.

Across the street from my apartment is a very nice gym that’s affordable for my budget so I got a membership last week.  Having that simple luxury of being able to have a safe place, especially one that’s so close, to stay in shape has been an incredible blessing.  One by one God provides ways to help me take care of myself.

Joe and I continue to work on our relationship, day by day.  The romantic beginning he and I experienced, one that everyone said was just like a fairytale, has shifted to a wonderfully intimate reality.  We’ve had difficult conversations that meant we had to share hurts, disappointments, frustrations and our hearts desires.  We’ve had to sacrifice and humble ourselves, even when we aren’t sure we wanted to.  We’ve had fun, laughed, been able to rest, relax and set aside the demands of work and life simply by spending a few hours in one another’s presence.  We continue to learn what it means to be in a relationship, and continue to work to be better partners for one another.  One of the most joyful moments for me was when I shared about a stranger who had become pushy with me at a club event, and Joe offered to talk to him if he showed up again.  That small act of offering protection meant the world to me.  The more I open my heart to him and give him a chance to know me, the more confidence I have in him and his love to last.

I’m still settling in to Muscat.  I’m working on adding color and feminine touches to my apartment.  I’m still discovering my role at work.  I’m trying to find ways to establish something of a routine, and creating little comforts to make long work nights less of a burden on my heart and mind.  I’m still learning how to be a girlfriend!  But I’m enjoying the journey.  I miss my family, friends and home state every day.  There’s nothing like eastern Washington in the fall.  But the Middle East has its beauty as well.  The more I seek first God’s kingdom more is added to me.  Church, meeting with women in my congregation, opening my heart, being in the Word every morning and having a prayer list to bring to God’s throne every day makes all the difference in the world.  The more I seek Him, the more of Him and His goodness I find.