it’s about time. (home)

doha, qatar = longer layover next time. if you remember from my last blog, i had a surprise day-long layover in doha, qatar (or ‘cutter’). i wasn’t sure what to expect, and with the only people i knew that had ever visited this piece of the earth in the u.s. military, i was hesitant… but it was great- and here’s why…

out of anything i think i learned on this trip, it was to never ever judge anyone before you take the time to meet them on their level (of language, education, or interests) and to keep an open mind and heart for everyone around you. i can’t count how many times complete strangers have helped me along this trip. and then many of those strangers becoming friends (and thanks to facebook- continue to be so). if i had come out of the airport with thoughts about how this predominantly muslim area would treat me (an american of all!), i would have hidden in my hotel room and wasted the day. but i put my trust in people- the locals- to help me get around, find good food, and explore.

back to a muslim area- something i have had a taste of on the coast of kenya. the dhows are slightly different, but the call to prayer sounds the same. five times a day, the city ignites in song. you may hear the soft voice of the call start in the distance… then as more mosques start their calls to prayer, you become surrounded, engulfed in songs of praise to allah. it really is something beautiful and i wish i could have recorded it.

so i spent my day walking around the city, getting lost, getting coffee, and walking the streets as the city slept… until 4pm. my day in doha was a particularly quiet friday (a holy day like sunday for christians), a week after the announcement that doha will host the 2022 world cup, and a week before national day for qatar. it was like a celebration hangover and pre-dinner without the alcohol. so once the sun set sometime after 4pm, people flooded the markets, the sidewalks by the water, and the museum of islamic art. the museum was a beautiful building and housed many amazing works of art from all over the world (sadly none from afghanistan…). que stolen images. tnks google.

but after a day of fun, making friends, having local coffee, and hanging out with local falcon breeders, i had to board my plane for washington dc. i should mention that i had almost no sleep the two days leading up to my departure from cape town, none on my flight to doha, then two hours nap in doha, then none on the plane home. so after about 22hrs of sunlight (flyin with it makes long days) and 52 hrs of near constant travel, i was tired as hell. but excited to see my family and be … home.

well i was home for maybe 10 hrs then we headed to asheville, north carolina… a 10hr drive away (well worth it though)

8inches of snow when we got there, more snow the first two days there. a perfect place to get snowed in…

i thought i was going to die in the cold. a year in perfect, generally sunny, weather spoils you a bit. but damn i love winter too. cause how else are you going to make snow forts with your brother (who almost dresses in a snow burqa)?

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now enter akaliza, an amazing little girl from rwanda. her favorite thing this day- automatic opening doors at the library. my favorite thing about her- her smile and her heart. but it’s her heart that brought her here. she’s come from an orphanage in rwanda (escorted by brad) to come to baltimore (jhu) for surgery to correct a heart condition. she’s six, loves the colors pink and purple, laughs a lot, and has her own little attitude. i love her. brad came back to america for the holidays, and brought her to stay with him so someone can look after her before and after the surgery.  im glad he’s back, and im glad akaliza has come, because she has given me all the confidence i needed to know i can handle adopting a child from africa. it’s something i always thought i would end up doing, but having her come, i was able to turn to my mother and say ‘this is what your grandkids will look like’ and she said she loves that.

home. it feels good. and now that christmas has past and new years is upon us, it’s time for fresh beginnings. and while i haven’t found a place to live in baltimore yet, i know i am back because i am already taking photos like this again. god i love baltimore.

happy new year, and i hope all is well,