Sunday, October 31, 2010

RANT: National Day

While I am SOOOO excited about National Day, I am soooooooooo bored of National Day rehearsals. So are ALL the teachers I know.

Cooking with the Shebab

Boxie might remember this one;p :

KH: "I cook."

OPNO: [raises one skeptical eyebrow] "You have a maid. Omani WOMEN don't even cook all that often when they have a maid."

KH: "I can make eggs with tomatoe."

OPNO and Boxie [look at eachother, like, this could be interesting]. KH continues to boil water and throws in three eggs. He boils them. He readies three paper plates. He puts one egg on each plate. He then slices a tomatoe into three chunks.

Tomatoe with eggs.

OPNO and Boxie roll their eyes at their crappy lunch with disdain.

OPNO [to KH]: "I thought you meant like an omlette with tomatoes."
Boxie: "You can't cook. You can boil water."

KH eats his crappy lunch as if it were tea at Al Bustan and smiles: "Tomatoe with egg."

MashaAllah: two things that might make people jealous but that I am going to brag about

1.) My husband is currently cooking me lunch. Yes, I married an Omani male that COOKS. And is good at it. And doesn't think cleaning my flat and cooking me lunch is anyway demasculating. Alhamdulilah. Who knows how long this will last, when he realizes I am alot more selfish and not a great cook but... for now I shall brag. From my shebab, I know that I lucked out.2.) Tomorrow I am getting paid to do something that I love. Once, I got paid to shop for clothes for myself for this job. Isn't that awesome? Tomorrow will be even better because I get paid to learn more about Oman and things people are doing to aid in making this country that I love even better. Alhamdulilah.

OPNO loves to eat at Meknes late at night

My favourite type of food is Morrocan. I LOVE tangines, and Morrocan chicken spiced with cinnamon, garlic and lemon. I also love to eat at Meknes restaurant late at night, when I am near the Al Wizaraat area, Alkuwair near the Zawawi Mosque and skating rink. Less pricey than Shangrila's Sharazade. My favourite thing is to sip their Morrocan (fresh mint) tea and gossip with my nearest and dearest behind curtains late at night, and if we are starving, some warm harira soup.
Hariara soup: so healthy and with a light squeeze of lemon, I die peacefully. Mmmmm. Can you tell it is close to lunch now?
The staff wears traditional Morrocan clothes, and if you pay 20 rial for a private room (at the busiest times, late at night and quieter periods no charges) the atmosphere is heady,
Blu chi of course did a review more detailed than mine http://www.omanicuisine.com/review-meknes-restaurant-al-khuwair as I am not adventurous when it comes to food.

R: The bedu tricked me into that lizard and if you remember correctly, I wouldn't eat the goat's head your Auntie tried to feed me last Eid.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Buying a Marriage on the Blackmarket

In Oman, and some other Gulf countries, it is illegal for the men who are citizens of that country, to marry women other than those who hold the same passports as themselves. Omani men can only marry Omani women. But there are those who take wives in secret from the government, as in Islam, it is allowed for a Muslim man to marry any Muslim woman regardless of her citzenship. They either found an Islamic and brave Imam who cared more for the religion than keeping his standing job position in the country [as all Imams should be] believing that only God/Allah can make things lawful or unlawful for the Muslims, not countires. If he believes other than this, well, he is not a Muslim, because it is a form of shirk/disbelief in God) to make unlawful something God has made lawful for mankind.

Please Omantel don't block me, this is true.

But most recognized Imams in Oman are cowards. No offense guys, but you are. And some of the ones left over, are creeps.

This post isn't about the cowards. Cowardice I get, I understand it. It is a sign of weak faith but I don't hate on that. Most men are cowards, husbands, even are the same. Omani girls, who don't go against their families wishes to marry the kind of man they wish to, even though it is halal to, ect... Cowardice I can live with, and just pray for ya'll to have your faith and hearts strengthed.

But creeps.

Any Imam (usually in charge of the Mosque's prayers) will know that selling things from the door of the Mosque is not allowed. The Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him)said, “The most beloved places to Allah on earth are the Masajid, and the most hated places to Allah on earth are the Markets.” [Muslim] and “Whoever sells in the Masjid, say to them: May Allah not grant success in your sale.”

This is nothing new to people who worship and believe in God, Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

"And Jesus [Muslims call him Isa A.S] went into the temple of God [Muslims call God 'Allah'], and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves..." King James Bible, Mathew 21:12 Making sales or a business out of the Mosque is forbidden. But, some Imams are making a small business out of black market secret marriage. The average cost for a secret marriage in Muscat is 300 OMR-1000 OMR. BTW, my marriage wasn't that secret or black market bought. But a friend's story inspired me for my novel. I'll write it better but concept goes like this.

Couple seeks out an Imam they hear is willing to marry couples in love without Government permission. Imam informs them that he will marry them, but he is going to charge a "danger" fee for himself and the "witnesses" (and he's only willing to have witnesses he trusts. This is more more money than the couple has, more money even than the girl's maher (marriage dowry from the husband to her) though she offers it up to the greedy Imam.

The brave Omani man wanting to marry the girl gets an idea. He says he has the money but will have to drive to get it from the bank machine but the Imam and the witnesses can follow their car after the wedding. Imam agrees and calls his two "witness" thugs and gives the young couple their Islamic marriage document so they can preform hajj together. The Omani man takes his nervous bride and new wife with him in the car and the creepo Imam and his thugs follow close behind. The Omani man makes a salary of 270 rials a month and the girl's maher was one silver ring and a rose in a traditional box, plus 100 rials. They don't have the money in any bank machine.

The Omani man drives a certain way that he is familiar with and hails down an ROP cruiser that is always parked there and makes like he will tell on the blackmailing Imam and beg mercy from Oman's laws from the ROP guys [who probably disdain the law themselves, as many ROP men that I know have secret marriages to Philipino Muslim girls]. The creepo Imam freaks and takes off, afraid of losing his job. The Omani man then asks for directions in a touristy way to the slightly suspicious ROP men. After that is finished he turns back to his new wife and says:

"The Prophet Mohamed sallalahu alahi wa salaam said, "Whoever sells in the Masjid, say to them: May Allah not grant success in your sale."" New wife laughs nervously. "-And don't you think we said that the best way possible?" He grins.

Omani men's veiw of Women watching sports, as well as makeup and clothing

So driving with my new husband to our camping spot, I decided that after marriage was the perfect time to start a fight. You know, just mentioning all of the things I will never ever take from Omani culture. Yeah... I know, do this BEFORE marriage. But I decided, do it while he is insanely in love with me, and yet, can't back out. Not fair, but very, very smart.

"I am not going to stop wearing colour because colour is halal in Islam, amd actually of the sunnah, not always black black black, and if you try to tell me again I have to stay in the car at the gas station unless I want to completely cover my face I am going to divorce you."

I would divorce over a lipstick. He knows this. He was forewarned that I am the most stubborn woman that he is likely ever to meet. Boxie, can confirm this fact. I am also VERY-much into Islam and the subject of hijab, and well read on it, so he can't tell me something is tabaruuj (showing off to catch men's attention with one's wealth or sexuality). Omanis (most Muslims actually) have the mistaken idea that being different or the slightest bit pretty is tabarrujj. It is not. Tabarujj is flaunting wealth, social status, or in a woman's case, sexual beauty. Not the beauty of her clothes, provided they don't make a vain show of wealth. That is rooted in evidence from Quran and hadith.

H2B [now to be known as H], while knowing I have a thing for black abayas, AND covering my face ANYWAYS, still was irrationally afraid for some reason that I'd start wearing a hot pink abaya or something in his conservative village and was actually getting annoyed with me. I let him be because I think such engagements are amusing and keep me in practice for when I actually need to use my debating skills.

H: [in a huff to OPNO] "Your head and heart is a stone."
OPNO: [not the least bit phased] "Yep, am not a clay Omani girl you can mould into whatever you want. And another thing, I am still going to wear red lipstick. Divorce me if you want. But before you talk about what is halal or not for a woman to wear in Islam..."

[Now Omani girls, please keep the following line in mind for any arguements about clothes and makeup from your-acting-all-cultural husbands]

"...why don't you grow a beard first? Huh? Focuss on correcting your own faults and bad hijab before worrying about mine."
H: "."
I won. And ladies, I usually do.

Driving some more, the issue of my love of observance of certain sports came up in the form of a question from a jealous H.
H: "So.... OPNO, what do you think of watching sports like football where men wear shorts that are too short?"
OPNO: [aware this is a trap set for her] "I think it is fine for a woman. Sports like HANDBALL, and FOOTBALL are aaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyb [shame] on the Muslim men who don't cover to their knees [Muslim men are supposed to cover all the way to their knees at all times] but no shame on a woman who keep her eye on the ball instead of staring at their shorts trying to ctach of glance of the other kind of balls."
H: [bites his lip] "So you think it is haraam for men to wear shorts but okay for women to watch men playing sports in such shorts. I don't watch women's volleyball."
OPNO: "But you watch movies don't you? You see women's boobs and uncovered heads anyway. I'd rather you watch volleyball or tennis than an add on a billboard. I am going to keep attending sporting events. Don't be jealous of the teams. I promise I am not checking them out and if I happen to be overtly attracted to a thigh or anything higher, I will lower my eyes."
H: [in a huff] "I am going to start watching women's volleyball."
OPNO: [smiling at him] "I like volleyball. We can watch it together."

Ladies, never give in on what makes you who you are unless you think that thing is actually wrong. If it IS wrong, then do make the concession, but otherwise, do not give in and up, especially early on in a marriage. Or you'll be regretting it shortly after, and you'll resent the men who made you change something about yourself that you did not think was wrong.

But DO make an allowance, while discussing, that he could be right, before you put your foot down;). Sometimes, while rarely, he is.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Setting up my lux camping honeymoon: happy weekend everyone!

1.) Carpet for inside the tent, carpet for under the tent so I don't have that ugly blue tarp look going on.
2.) Set up the tent.
3.) Drag the mattress inside and make the bed and hand mosquitoe netting above.
4.)Laundry hamper storing bride's clothes used as side table, have a bowl of water and some facecloths here, as well as two fresh rolled bath towels.
5.) Lay out the traditional picnic mats outside and make a fire ring, as well as place the grill for cooking and light it up. Cooler stored behin the tent.
6.) Light candles and place them in glass lanterns in a circle around living area outside of the tent and one inside the tent. 7.) Eat very delicious camping food and enjoy the peace of being married while it lasts;)

Omani Culture: Turn off your headlights

Apparently, it is part of H2B's Omani culture, that when driving at night, and you see a man and a woman together in a car driving towards you, you turn off your headlights, so you cannot see the man's wife. Out of respect.

Regardless of whether this results in you taking the wrong turn around some date plantations and getting exceedingly lost.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Address Middleeastern Royalty & Important Personages

LOL, I I remember one of our former OPNOs [American] asking Princess [Commonewealth somewhere] what fork to use first and how to address the Prime Minister of _______ country. Gone are the day's of a Huston Debutante's flawless courtsies;) [as pictured below]... ...Or the perfect balance and the artful dance of eating soup and stirring tea to perfection, white gloves for lunch and elbow length ones for evening...

But there were some Americans over at one of the OPNO's workplaces, and they kept addressing His Majesty as Your Highness, which made this particular OPNO think, well, in Oman, part of the out-dated world the OPNO girls in-majority once knew, in is still very much relevant. So here is a guide for those whose parents and grandparents did not force them to learn how to address the ruling classes (all OPNO girls rebel at this concept though they respect the responsibilities and traditions) and walk with books on their heads:
The Sultan of Oman is addressed as "Your Majesty". Like the Queen of England who'd be "Her Majesty the Queen" [don't say "of England" since she's coming and you might meet her-I have;) & her late mother too). To introduce him, you would say, "His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said" as he carries a long list of ranks not limited to his role as Sultan of Oman, for example he is the following: Feild Marshal, Royal Army of Oman; Admiral of the Fleet, Royal Navy of Oman; Marshal of the Royal Air Force of Oman; Supreme Commander, Royal Oman Police; & General (honorary), British Army ect... After any formal introduction it is appropriate to use "Sir" to His Majesty, likewise "ma'am" to the Queen of England. But his formal title should be used at the end of all conversation. Not very hard to do.

It is considered impolite to engage in conversation before the head of heirarchical royalty speaks to you, or to offer to shake their hand before they offer to shake yours. If you are wearing gloves as part of a uniform of evening dress, you do not remove them to shake hands. For men, if you are going to bow (not necessary these days for most Royals, and not exactly Islamic to do), for men, you bow from the neck (not the waist). For ladies, culturally there are many variations of the curtsey, and the length and height (how far to the floor) denote the status of the personage before you traditionally. None of this really matters anymore unless you are a Deb so the most well known curtsey is to place the left foot behind your right one, bending your knees slightly. Bowing is usually not required unless you are a citizen of country ruled by the member of aristocracy you are paying homage and respect to. A prince is addressed as "Your Royal Highness" followed by his [position in government if he has one] followed by his name. Same for a Princess. Any child or male line grandchild of a monarch is considered a prince or princess. The spouse of a prince is also a Princess, although she is not always "Princess" addressed as that, followed by HerFirstName. The spouse of a princess is not always a prince.

A Crown Prince (for which one is not determined in Oman) is "Your Royal Highness".
There are exceptions, but in general you can distinguish between those who are royal and those who are not in Middleeastern Royalty simply by the letter preceding their name: H.H.: His Highness - i.e. he is royal. H.E.: His excellency - i.e. he is or has been a senior government appointee (like an ambassador or government minister, though often they can also be royals).
Senior Government Minister: "Your Excellency".

An Ambassador: "Your Excellancy"

All other Embassy staff of import: "Counsellor" followed by their name and office for formal written address [just not in the post address!], but usually Ms., Mrs., Mr... in person. Oman seems more formal so I have heard people say "Counsellor" and it makes me giggle.
Sheikh (if not a government minister, ambassador, or prince): "Sheikh" followed by name. Is H.H or H.E than that would precede "Sheikh" than name.Sheikha (if not a government minister, ambassador, or princesss): "Sheikha" followed by name. If her husband is H.H than she would be addressed as "Her Highness, Sheikha..." followed by name. If her husband is H.E it doesn't carry to her.

Royal titles include King, Queen, Sheik (or Shaik), Sultan, Crown Prince, & Kahn (in certain circumstances .

Also, a Morrocan royal term of import of respect for a lady of respected family is "Lalla" which follows their titles. For example, "Princess Lalla ...[name: Salma] of Morroco".

For any visiting Brits of import (go commonewealth) Dukes and Duchesses are called "Your Grace" or "Duke/Duchess." Introduce the duke to someone else as "His Grace the Duke of Norfolk," the duchess as "Her Grace the Duchess of Norfolk". Baronets and knights, if male, are addressed as "Sir Ralph" (if his name is Ralph Sweet) and his wife is "Lady Sweet". You would introduce him using his full name, "Sir Ralph Sweet," and his wife as "Lady Sweet." Dames (the equivalent of knighthood for women - there is no female equivalent of baronetcy) are "Dame Gertrude" in conversation, and you would introduce her as "Dame Gertrude Mellon."
Other forms of nobility (including Marquess/Marchioness, Earl/Countess, Viscount/Viscountess, Baron/Baroness) are generally addressed as, "Lord or Lady Towlebridge" (for the Earl of Towlebridge), and introduced with their appropriate title, such as "Viscount Sweet" or "Baroness Rivendell" .
For former OPNOnoa, the Prime Minister is "Your Excellecy" in most cases, while a former Prime Minister is "Mr. [name] , the former President of [country]." Some countries, Prime Ministers are awared additional status, ie the UK, so the UK president, for life, will be "Your Honorable". And there is a special exception for the King of Saudi Arabia who has (self-bestowed) religious title instead of the usual Kingly greeting. He is called "The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques".

Regardless of your stance on this caste system, respect and proper use of terms is good for business and social dealings. One need not bow ect, should they not be a member of the country or a country under allegiance to country ect...
Anyways, I am bored now of this post sooooo see ya'll for the day;)
Happy weekend.
And if I did a typo let me know. Don't want to be resposible for any offenses, I am a bit rusty afterall, since any Prince that I know I treat him the same way I treat the Omani guys at the coffee shop so that H2B won't be stupid;p
He he he :D
H2B: "He talked to you?"
OPNO: "Yes. He asked my opinion, and I was supposed to say nothing?"
H2B: "You probably talked to much, and laughed." [He was pouting and looked so sad].
OPNO: "I promise, I swear to GOD I was not flirting with [you will never know who fits into this post]! Wallahi, you are an idiot. Even if his Majesty Himself asked to marry me, I'd say no."
H2B: [tone suspicious] "His Majesty is in his 70s."
OPNO: "Yeah, but he still looks super cute!" [winks because she is being a brat and lols and H2B for being such an Arab male.]

Last post of the day: marriage talks break down after OPNO told to walk behind a man

I was about to get all feminist the other day during my marriage negotiations. I was about ready to burst out into the lyrics of a popular country music song that goes like this:

"I want a man that stands beside me!/ Not in front of or behind me!/ Two arms to hold me/ Not own me/ I want a man who stands beside me."

...Since well, I was told that I would have to walk behind my husband in certain places in his village.

I was righteously angry.

What kind of sick man thinks a woman needs to walk behind him?

I was about ready to break off the marriage right then and there.

He figured that out pretty quick and was like "NO! In some places we'll walk side by side. Its in the wadis and mountain Habibti." He laughed. "There's snakes. Men go first so women don't get bit."

Whose arguing with that now? I'm totally not. I'll let him do it with sharks too, if he wants to.

So shows you a valuable lesson about marriage I suppose. Let the man finish his sentance before divorcing him. Or un-fiancing yourself.

And for those of you who missed Steve's posts and transportation in Oman cartoons he started a new blog up about Life in Singapore so enjoy http://www.103degreeseast.com/.

Conversation Between H2B & OPNO

H2B: "With anyone from my tribe you can't..... bla blah blah blah."

OPNO: "Mmmmmhmmm? [Skeptical eyebrows raised]. Boqh." [Arabic equivelant of ''blah blah blah' meant to denote a lack of caring for what the person you are speaking with has said].

H2B: [exasperated] "I don't really care but you will if you become the only thing all your neighbors are concerned about. I won't hand you tissue when you are balling your eyes out if you bring it on yourself."

OPNO: "You wouldn't love me if I thought it is was right to act the way you want me to act."

H2B: "I didn't say you were wrong or that I don't agree with you, but women don't wear colour, they dont wear make-up, they don't move too quickly, or talk when men can hear them in my tribe and that's just how it is. I don't want you to get hurt so we can live wherever you like but if you want to live with my family... [He bites his lip, and looks like he is thinking really, really hard].

OPNO [to herself, silently]: 'He doesn't think I can do this!' [to H2B] "As long as I complain as much as I like I will act however they like, WHILE LIVING THERE. You want me to change the system anyways."

H2B: "When you have enough respect from them to do so, yes."

OPNO: [narrows her eyes at H2B] "Will that be, like, when I'm eighty, and I am waddling around, and everyone younger has to listen to me out of respect not because they care to hear me at all?"

H2B: [Laughs at an unconvinced OPNO] "InshaAllah not that long. Like when you are thirty."

OPNO: "Thirty is AWFULLY old." [I am grouchy and stressed and have not the will for witt.]

H2B: [glares at OPNO, I guess you readers can guess his age]

OPNO: [using the usual Omani way of trying to un-dig the hole one has dug one's self into] "...for a woman." [OPNO does not really believe this, she is just a brat].

[On a side-note]
OPNO: "I have changed my mind. I am going to dress in the traditional dress of my city." [To be brat for a little while longer].

[H2B knows it is similiar to the above dress pictured]. [H2B grows very excited].

H2B: "That would be-! I would wear my traditional dress [think Lawrence of Arabia robe, but black, with silver sword and dagger, and camel stick] and you would wear yours. I love it."

OPNO: [not what she had been expecting] "So we look like the old 1930s movies, like that Rudolph Valentino one where the Arab dude and the British chick want/hate eachother until the point they make out in the sand with camels as a backdrop? [skeptical] Or Rachel Weisz from the Mummy movies, or Candice Bergan with Sean Connery playing a very Scottish Berber?"

H2B: "You kind of look like the girl from the Mummy movies."

OPNO: [glares]

H2b: [being a brat] "I can find us some camels in Barka if you want to take pictures!"

OPNO: "."
To all loyal readers who give a damn, please vote on the poll on the sidebar. And the "sheikh" was a very inaccurately costumed Orientalist extravaganza silent movie, as pictured below:
And I do not resemble Rachel Weisz in the slightest regard!!!!!!!!! Or do I ;D

RANT: #1 thing I don't like about Oman

Some Omanis (GCC Arabs in general) treat me better than an

IndianPakistaniIndonesian

Malaysian

or Philipino

Muslim women. Who are sisters to them in the religion.

Even when I was a non-Muslim.

Why?

Because they think I am better than those other women, by virtue of race. That THEY are better by virtue of race and cultural entitlement. When their religion would say they are the same as a creature that lives in dung.

" ...People should give up their pride in nations because this is a coal from the coals of hell-fire. If they do not give this up Allah (swt) will consider them lower than a lowly worm which pushes itself through khur (feces)." -The Prophet Mohamed, peace and blessing be upon him [abu Dawd and Tirmidhi].

ANYONE who thinks like that, whether they are from my country, the Gulf, Asia, Africa, what have you, MAKES ME SICK AND ANGRY. Especially if they are presenting themselves as a Muslim.

ANYONE WHO ACTS THIS WAY IS A POOR MUSLIM, because Islam says:

Surat Al-Hujrat, verse 13, reads: 'O mankind! We have created you from a single male and female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other. The most honorable of you in the sight of Allah are surety the righteous." (Al-Hujurat: 13)

Allah also says in the Qur’an: "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” (An-Nisa’: 1)

The Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him) declared: "O people! You are all to Adam and Adam was made of dust. No Arab is to be preferred over a non-Arab except by virtue of his piety." In another hadith, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Allah does not look at your images or your colors but He looks at your hearts (intentions) and your deeds. Creatures are the dependants of Allah and the closest among them to Allah are indeed the most useful to His dependants."

In practice, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had among his closest Companions Salman the Persian, Suhaib the Roman, and Bilal the Ethiopian. Two of the three Companions were ex-slaves who were liberated after embracing Islam, namely Salman and Bilal. Despite this, and in spite of the black complexion of Bilal, he was chosen by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as the first muezzin to prayer, a position coveted by many. As a matter of fact, senior Companions like Abu Bakr and `Umar used to call Bilal 'our master', and the Prophet himself used to say: 'Salman is a member of our family.' It was not, however, an easy task to cancel racism in Islam. But every time it rose its head the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to give the Muslims an important lesson. Thus when his Arab Companion Abu Dharr called Bilal 'son of the black woman', the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) got angry and told him: 'You are a man who has ignorance in him.' Abu Dharr felt such a great remorse that he put his cheek on the ground and asked Bilal to tread on his other cheek if he’d like to.

I love Oman more than other GCC and Arab countries like Jordan, Syria, UAE, ect because the unislamic form of Nationalism isn't very much present here, but racism remains.

The Quran Says :
3:103
"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allâh (i.e. this Qur'ân), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allâh's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islâmic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allâh makes His Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided."

Q.3:105
"And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment."

So to those brave women in Oman who defend the maids and workers, who are kind to them, and stick up for their rights, and to the one sis in Salalah I know who sits with her families maids, and is sweet to her, I love you. Allah increase you and keep you, ameen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Renting Traditional Omani Women's Dress in Muscat

In case you are, like myself, a bride without time for a tailor, and you do want to wear traditional Omani dress for a wedding (or as a guest for an Omani henna party or wedding), upstairs in CCC in Al Qurum there is a shop straight down from the Bukhoor (insence) shop over the gold domed whatever it is below, that sells and rents rather gorgeous Oman traditional dresses. Rental prices range from 40-250 Omani rials for 5 days time. Go at least 3-4 days time before to get the rental dress tailored to your figure. They also rent gold and silver plated traditional jewelry, and accessories, like designer birqas (I am going to buy some of these as they sell made to order as well----AmAZING souvenir and pretty when framed).

Weekend Planning

(The usual honeymoon is a bit different than what I wanted soooooo.....)

Planning the weekend honeymoon: I didn't get alot of days off from work, nor did H2B because I only told my work, well, when I told ya'll, so H2B & I have two days. A weekend. Not ON the weekend, weekend, by Omani standards, but...
And neither of us are big on organized tourist camping, unless we are the ones showing around the tourists (which we do enjoy). So to-do list for packing on top of all the other things one USUALLY crams into the 4x4 for camping. I really do own all this stuff for camping but RARELY pack it all:


  • one tent (part of my rather traditional maher request)

  • one mattress for the tent (a REAL mattress)

  • one wedding blanket and one white sheet

  • two pillow cases with pillows

  • one laundry hamper for the bride's clothes also used as a table in the tent

  • one traditional majlis couch with musada (cushions) for the inside of the tent

  • one persian carpet

  • one mosquitoe net

  • two traditional lanterns lit by candles (of course candles and matches)

  • two woven cushions for sitting around the fire outside

  • traditional picnic blanket

  • a grill and coal for the grill

  • rope for hanging clothes to dry (every time I use a bush I get bit by something or a thorn in my thumb)

  • one coffee dala (pot)

  • one basket of dates

  • one pot for boiling coffee

  • one grill for meat

  • coal for the fire

  • sajadah for praying (sajadah are prayer mats)

  • bowl for water for washing

  • face cloths

  • fresh towels

  • extra palm mats

  • coleman lamps

  • sheet to hang for privacy

  • cooler

  • food

omigosh, life is soooooo going to change...

I just read Sweetness of Salalah's post on codependents. I am one of those. Actually, I was one. I think, I have recovered. I can accept compliments, I know that I deserve a good life and happiness, and I have stopped seeing that I need to endure people that drag me through hell because pain/love are not interwoven unless of course, we are talking blood. Like family. Which you can't choose. But you can choose to have alternates as back-up for those times your family fail you. I am also expecting less of others, and making deicions without freaking. It is amazing. The old me is sometimes a stranger.
This weekend my life is REALLY going to change. I am cutting all ties with the past that are "not good views" and not puting up with people that make no effort to be in my life (except of course, my family). I also gaining a whole new family, complete with kids, and a tribe. Yes, a TRIBE. I may not fit 100% anywhere, but home is where the heart is, and my heart is here in Oman. If you are not happy where you are, life is too short. Go to the place where you think you have a better chance at happiness. Most people, when you ask them what they want to do most in this life, they've never done it. And that is sad. Ask yourself what you want to do. And then go and do it. I decided that I hated my old life. I couldn't stand it. My bones were numb with cold, my mind couldn't feel anymore, and I was a robot, living someone else's life, not mine, not what I'd envisioned mine to be, doing nothing that I wanted to do. So I did something. I bought a plane ticket, I bought a ticket, and I put everything that was worth keeping from my old life into a suitcase and a carry-on, and I began. From nothing. I struggled, I subsisted on lemons and dates plucked off of trees in my new 'hood while I waited for the stall in the pay cycle between two jobs, but I did it, and while not without help and the grace of God, Allah SWT, but on my own.
I made mistakes along the way too numerous to try and right. To those who love me and want to carry on knowing me anyways, you are my life's light, my heroes. Regret is not something I can do anymore. I will just try to do three goodnew things for every twinge of regret I feel, and maybe that will make the world a brighter place.

To the idiot who loves me, you are either crazy or a moron but, well, that makes me brave enough to try and deserve you. About love: No one ever deserves another's love when they truly love someone. All that they do to make that other person happy doesn't equal some sense of entitlement. But what a person does deserve, is to be able to love themself. If you don't love yourself then you will NEVER deserve someone else's love.

Fall in love with your life.