Saturday, January 1, 2011

What Makes You an Expat?

Being married to an Omani man, surrounded almost entirely by Omanis, or at least, Muslim women who are experienced in dealing with Arabs and living their lives in the Gulf, my identity is hard to distinguish sometimes.

I was never terribly patriotic to the land of my passport. Even as a child I knew, I belonged somewhere else, and my life was always going to be somewhere far away and unexpected. People always say expats are either a worthless or a romantic type of breed. You JUST KNOW this. Some people just belong somewhere, and when they find that place, they just know.

Others are boundless, but these are the rarest form of man. I wouldn't ever say I am boundless.

My home is certainly Oman. And the majority of my culture is Islamic and even Omani, nigh 90%, while I know Omanis whose culture is only around 60%, but still, I am not Omani. I am not even 30% the country of my passport, but I am not 100% Omani either.

So I still consider myself kind of an expat. An Omani expat, for in my home country, to all apearences, I am certainly Omani, but I am still someone not 100% on the inside.

A close family friend said it is a gift, to be able to walk between worlds and relate to people of all walks of life, to the most fabulous, to the most humble, and find one's self most at home with the humble, but at ease with the great. I guess this is my gift. I find it easy to adapt and relate to almost anybody. But it doesn't make me anymore an Omani, or any less of an expat.

Does it?

MOP says just because I am married to an Omani, I am an Omani, and it is a simple as that. For my most of my Omani girlfriends, it IS as simple as that.

If the girl is from Dakliyah region but her husband is from al Batinah, she becomes an Al Batinah girl. The girls say, this is only rare for Dhofari girls, and they reason, maybe that is why they marry only Dhofaris.

I think it is more like my parental culture. I am not my husband and he is not me. Together we are something more.

My Omani husband veiws us as one and same. That is his culture.

I don't think one is better than the other, but I think my identity is of an Omani who is an expat, no matter what country they go to.

I started thinking about this after reading Nadia's post one, YOU KNOW YOU"VE BEEN TOO LONG IN OMAN WHEN

And I remembered the comment's on Jet Driver's blog on this post. From JD: What gives you away as being a newbie expat in Oman:

I don't know why really. It is not so important to me really, to know my identity, for I truly believe that only the shallow know themselves, but I have to assert what I am not, when people claim "you are an Omani girl now", for at least I know what I am not, even if I do not comprehend wholly what it is exactly that I am.


Lamya said...

Kleenex!! I hav4e 3 box's going in my room right now lol. but i keep fining more that are almost finished haha.

Noor said...

Asalam Alaykum, I know just what you mean but replace Oman with Saudi :p I feel the same way sis..

soso said...


ya know I've always wanted to go to Oman for some reason, would love to visit, heard its a beautiful country

bosnishmuslima said...

This belonging thing to a country I think often about!
My origin is bosnish and I was born and raised in Germany. And if you ask me what I am I could not say it. I don't feel like a real Bosnian either a real German. And in both countries I feel kinda expat though I feel somehow home in Germany and my heart's home in Bosnia.
But at the same time I don' feel patriotic to any of these countries.
Sometimes I feel it is so positive to be a global person and just feel as a Muslim and being citizen of this Earth.
But I and also my brother have this enormous affinity to the arabic countries that we say sometimes, we are probably real Arabs and were displaced as babies to Europe and with time our appearence(both blond)probably adapted to the place we are living in ;-DD
It is probably because of our religion and its origin and moral values that let us feel so close to the Arab world.
Inshaallah I will find a place where I will feel at home one day!


Coolmom said...

This post is most relatable in a long time. It's like u spoke my heart and mind. I always thought our nationality shouldn't be based on where we were born, but which place we love and appreciate the most. Our country shouldn't be one of entitlement through birth, but one whose history, culture and traditions we study and love. There are many people around the world of various nationalities who don't know their country, tradition, and history, and they don't even love their country, but by birth they are of that nationality. I love my husband's birth country, and I love my adopted country. But my birth country? No, not at all. I wish I could trade my passport with whoever wants it from my adopted country :)

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Lamya: hehehe, where you are, people think you have a major illness if you've got more than five boxes of kleenex going on in one room;p

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Noor: wa alaykom e salaam ramatullahi wa barakto, oh, alhamdulilah I am so glad to hear you love KSA. I love to hear positive things about there and people liking it.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Soso: It really, really is. If you come sister, let me know.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

bosnish Muslimah: I totally relate. InshaAllah Allah guides you to where He means for you to be and where you will find the most happiness, ameen;D

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Coolmom: Exactly!