A chance of a Lifetime
Melanie and Greg Brink, 20 years at TAISM
Melanie and Greg Brink have been a part of the TAISM community since the early 2000’s. This year was their last year at TAISM, and to commemorate the last 20 years we had a conversation with them about their time in this beautiful country.
Melanie and Greg met in high school in Rapid City, South Dakota. After getting married they both started their teaching careers in Sioux Falls. Greg taught High School Math and Melanie led the choral program at a local private school.
When we asked them about their decision to move to Oman they both agreed that it was simply a leap of faith for them. One that they felt safe to take knowing that they would be coming to Oman with family. In February 2002 they attended a teaching fair along with Greg’s brother and sister-in-law; Scott and DeLana Brink.
we were all looking at each other and we said this is a chance of a lifetime that we get to do this together
Melanie spoke about that experience, “we were very happy with our lives and careers at that point in our life but when we heard Scott and DeLana were going to go to this teaching fair we thought, this sounds interesting. So we went to get more information, we were mainly just curious. Once we got there, we started interviewing with all these different schools. We interviewed with the TAISM Director, Kevin Schafer, as two couples, then he interviewed us separately. When he offered all four of us positions at TAISM, I remember so vividly, sitting around a table in this cozy restaurant, and we were all looking at each other and we said this is a chance of a lifetime that we get to do this together.”
They went on to speak about how moving to Oman back then was a leap of faith because this was all pre social media, so there wasn't much information available about Oman.
Home is wherever you are at that moment in time. It’s all about the people you are with and the experiences you have
When they moved to Oman in the fall of 2002, TAISM was only four years old. The staff was made up of about 24 individuals and there were about 200 students from K-12. The Brinks got to watch and be a part of TAISM’s growth almost from its infancy. Greg enjoyed the smaller class sizes in his high school math classes. Melanie was the first ever choir teacher at TAISM. She spoke to us about how developing the choir program required a lot of patience and was a labor of love.
Melanie is also the founder and creator of The Festival of Choirs (FOC), which was an annual collaboration, pre COVID, between choirs all over the middle east region. When we asked Melanie what her favorite part of FOC was she said, “It was wonderful to work with a conductor and to try and provide an opportunity for students to create music together in a non-competitive way. It was also something that was simply not happening in the Middle East before us. My hope for the future of FOC is that it comes back post COVID even if the format is different. I hope it continues to bring people together, and that students feel welcome and know that the work they are doing has a purpose.”
Melanie and Greg will be returning to Sioux Fall, South Dakota with their two sons, Caleb and Noah. They are once again taking a leap of faith in moving their family and life, and are excited to see what the future holds. Reflecting on the last 20 years, here are the final words they had to share, “Home is wherever you are at that moment in time. It’s all about the people you are with and the experiences you have.”
On behalf of the entire TAISM community we wish Melanie, Greg, and their boys all the best, and hope they remember they will always have a home at TAISM.