Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why I wanna live like an Omani Princess ;)

I love Oman. I have so many reasons why, and this post is just to remind myself why my life is so much better here (since lately, I have been focussing on the things I hate about Omani culture;p). Now, onto why I love living like an Omani princess in Oman xoxo -OPNO
Safety and Religious Freedom: As an expat many years ago, before I embraced Islam, I was impressed by how no Omani woman [or man for that matter] insulted me or was insulted by my Western clothing, and lack of a headcovering.

I remembered that. How as Christians, my family was safe and welcomed in Oman, a Muslim country unique in the Gulf, for my experiences in the UAE were not quite the same, despite UAE and other Gulf states being toted as modern and safe for expats and tourists.

My Western home country is actually one of the most famous countries in the world for tolerance and freedom, and yet, sadly, when I became a Muslim, I had difficulty in continuing in my profession (in fact, I was practically reduced to poverty and I am more fortunate than many) , and in fact, sadly, and due to a very small portion of the population, did not feel safe to just live my life as my non-Muslim neighbors did. I could not walk down the street everyday without being hated and insulted for no reason. Most people were good. But the ones that were not sapped me of my strength to keep on fighting for justice and equality. I just wanted to live.

Here in Oman, all praise be to God, I have the blessing to be able to just walk down the street without having to tell my life story and geneology to justify my way of dressing, and I can get a job regardless if I cover my face or hair or body or not if I am capable at it.

This is the most Islamic GCC country to me, and I have finally found peace here, and place to build my life up from:)
My Omani Husband: because he's my love and this is his home. And he'd be prettymiffed if he didn't find himself #2 on this list;p.

I loved Oman long before I ever loved him despite popular opinion, but my love for him helps me continue to love Oman when things in its culture get me down. Why? Because MOP is all that is the best in his culture, and has the patience to deal with all that is the worst in both of our nationalities, while I, well, don't anymore. As I am constantly raging at him about Omani village mentalities "I converted to Islam, not HIS-lam!" he has the patience to find a way around things or to explain things to those more ignorant, and I do not. Allah bless him, ameen.
Shopping: Khaleeji designer abayas. I came here to shop right? Now this may be something totally mysterious and untranslatable to a non-Muslim audience, but for a girl from the West, Oman is SHOPPING HEAVEN! We have a choice in abaya styles, cuts, and embellishments, as well as an array of headscarfs. Which totally takes away the toil (and expense) of trying to convert/tailor regular American and European clothing into something that meets the Islamic requirements of loose, not see through, covering all the right body parts, ect. And still have individual style whereas in other Gulf states that is a no no? Hell yes! And you know what? There is no law in Oman saying you HAVE TO WEAR abaya, so you get all this, + the option of wearing whatever else you want. Which I do, CONTRARY to village mentalities remaining in Oman.

Omani women, you have NO IDEA how lucky you are that you can do what you do and keep up your beliefs. Don't let that go, or let men or people dictate how you believe you should be able to dress. A right that is not taken, is taken away.
Omani hospitality: it's part of the culture. In Oman, people are always inviting you for Qhawa [Omani coffee] and dates (plus a huge lump of meat on a stack of rice on a giant plate!). And if you are a traveller in trouble (and boy, have I been!) people go waaaaay out of their way to rescue you.
Shout out to KH and AH who saved us from a hellish nightmare in UAE and wouldn't take a dime for anything!My backyard: What Muslim girl or housewife doesn't daydream of having a courtyard to let her hair out (and her arms) in the nice sunshine?

I love my yard, and that pic? The archtecture genuinely resembles the little villa where I live;D Alhamdulilah, mashaAllah right? Omani history & Culture equal the best weekend road trips!: Oman has a rich heritage and history, which accounts for differing regional customs and dress, and as well as a pantheon of forts and castles and splendours of natural beauty to explore, all on a 1-2 day weekend.
Camping: Oman has some of the most amazing nature you'll ever see. From the green tropic foliage of Khareef in Salalah, to the serene sands of Wahiba, to the Wadis in Sahrqiya, to the world's second largest Canyon of Jebel Shams mountain, and fishing on the Qurayat coast, camping in Oman is one of my favourite things in the entire world to do. This is what I do when I have a vacation.
Where I live: it's a plantation farm with mango and banana groves, and I love walking in the dappled sunshine. The road to our house is lined with date palms, and I love to sip tea on the swing and watch the workers in the feilds.

People, when they think of Oman, think of desert, and are very much disapointed to see how green Muscat is, so no, I don't live in Salalah;p. Western friends are always surprised that I seem to live like Scarlet O'Hara, lol.

At sunset, the physical beauty of the place is breathtaking, and I have to thank God that I was born, and that I am here. And it is so surreal to wak up to the sounds of parrots singing!
Horses: Oman has some of the finest stock of Arabian horses and some of the most skilled riders you will ever find.

I love spending the morning running on the beach watching riders work out their horses, or ride myself in the surf on a hot day.

I am so thankful that Sultan Qaboos is enlightened enough to allow [what men should have to allow what God himself already ordained good for womenkind?] Omani women to do sports like riding.

Thank God I can ride down the beach without some man going "haraam, she's a whore for making a show of herself like that" or parents going to their young daughters "oh she'll break her hymen."

Alhamdulilah Oman has bigger minds than those for the most part! Tourists: Now I know this is a personal one of mine, since no one in my village is as thrilled by them as I am, but I love showing english-speaking expats around the country and explaining the culture. I guess I just want them to see the Oman that I know and love, not just the stops on tour bus route;D
Omani children: and Omani babies. Another personal bias but I think Omani babies are just about the cutest in the world and little kids walking around with khanjars and kohl in their eyes make me smile.
No destructive nationalism [for the most part, we have to keep an eye on this one]: Omanis are indeed Patriotic, but not in the "local are better than thou" attitude I am seen and experienced in other GCC countries. Omanis are generally welcoming and respectful, and this can still be improved!!!!!

I love what the mix of cultures in oman lets me experience, from how to tie a sari lesson from my friend Z, to an Emirati traditional weddding invite from friends from Buraimi.
Decorating with Omani handicrafts and archtiecture: I love Omani traditional building methods (as do all the OPNO girls) and it is my goal to mix my traditional English easthetic with Omani peices from my travels in my home.
The weather: which will make most Omanis and expats laugh. But I LOVE the sun. I am sick of cold and rain and had too much of both as a child. Once I adapted to the climate of Oman, I was never able to aclimatize back for my home country. I love living in a tropic forever-beach setting.
The juice: I love that I am sipping cocktails of fresh mango juice when my little sis is stuck with apple concentrate. And that I am eating exotic fare like Arabic, thai, Indian, ect, when she is stuck with Turkey dinner. Don't worry Little Sis. When you come, you'll get your fix;p
Well, that's my list, on why I am in Oman and not going anywhere else without a good fight.
Why do you love living here?

26 comments:

bosnishmuslima said...

What a beautifull post! Very impressing all your reasons, I could get jealous :-P
May Allah swt. always keep you there where you feel most happy!

Muscat Mitchells said...

Another lovely post! :-)

Me, I LOVE living here because:
~ my husband getting a job here meant we were finally living together as a family (he used to work away from home);
~ my kids are having such a fun childhood!
~ the sun and warmth is aMAZing!
~ I LOVE a country that keeps it's identity, culture and heritage and is proud of it and is willing to share it with nosey, inquisitive expats like me;
~ of the odd brief conversations I have with complete strangers which end up with us swapping GSM
numbers!
~ I've never felt as relaxed as I have since I've been here.

I seem to think of a different reason each week!
Hope you're having a good weekend!

Boxie said...

Good post mushalla, You are making me miss it there so much.

Anonymous said...

Salams

Wow, I really wanna live in Oman. MashaAllah you have an amaaazing back yard. I would so appreciate that because mine is soo overlooked. U cannot go out with no hijab on.
Its good to see a post like this. I just have a few questions if you don't mnd.
How hard is it to realistically reocate there? In terms of the law I mean and paperwork etc

How hard is it to find a job in th healthcare profession and what are is the pay like?
Are omani people accepting of all cultures? Just because Im not from white western background and Im not sure how they would react to a different background.
Oh and last question is, do you need to speak arabic to work there? Is it ok if u know nothing. lol

thank you!

♥Amal said...

You make Oman sound so interesting (not that it wasn't before). I definitely want to check it out!

Alice said...

Cool post! May you always feel this way about Oman!

♥ααℓiα♥ said...

MashaaAllah wa tabarakAllah!! Those sound like awesome reasons to live in Oman and I have to admit, my time there would have been waaay better if A) u were there to guide me LoL and B) if i didn't make friends with the wrong ppl (ughhh silly naive me me LOL)

Well, I can't wait to come visit u inshaaAllah and I am sure I will enjoy it waaaay more than last time :-D

muscateeress said...

thank you soooo much for this post....as a non-Muslim living in this beautiful country for the last 11 years, I had stopped realising how lucky I am! Especially the bit about Omani hospitality....I am constantly asked......"11 years, don't you want to move on???".....If someone could find me a country that is as beautiful and has given me as much...then I would......until then......................guess where I am staying!!! LOL

hijabi said...

InshaAllah one day I will visit Oman.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the joy of going for morning walk with your daughter in a popular residential area only to have a car drive past slowly in a heavily tinted car 4 times. Only you can't do anything about this probable sexual predator because he is Omani and you aren't. (And I was covered from head to foot with only my head uncovered)

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Anon: No offense, but that is what guys (not necessarily sexual predators) do in the Gulf who are desperate to get dates. They are losers, but since he didn't try and grab you, not a sexual predator.

And you CAN do something. Take the plate number. Report his behaviour. While the ROP won't do anything unless he actually touches you, they have him flagged if he ever does touch anyone.

And you CAN go up to him and tell him off. Just make sure you have people around.

Omani or not this has ALWAYS worked for me.

In Oman, I have always been able to make horny Omani men realize stalking me is a mistake. It is part of their culture though. Unfortunately, there are slutty women who ACTUALLY are stupid enough to get in cars with these guys and thus this resultant behaviour.

But do something about it:)

I always make a big scene and that works for me.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Or better yet, take a picture of this guy's plate, and car, and I will post it on this blog for you so everyone out there knows to watch out for this creeper:)

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

bsnich Muslimah: May you come to visit one day, inshaAllah:)

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Muscat Mitchells: I FORGOT about the relaxation part. But that is PROBABLY because I work, and the easy work ethic gets annoying when one likes to get things done before the weekend like I do;D

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Boxie: OPNO misses you!

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Anon who wants to know about relocating to Oman: It is very easy to find a job in the health industry. The pay is generally less than in the rest of the GCC though, excepting some specialities.

Most of the healthcare workers in Oman are from India, Iraq and Egypt, and your salary may be dependent on your passport and what seems an acceptable wage for such countries.

If you go their website, the Royal Hospital of Oman lists jobs available. I personally don;t know what is available but do know Oman does not have enough medical staff so they are always hiring foreign workers for that.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Amal: it really is mashaAllah.

Alice: I hope so. InshaAllah!

Aalia: I hope you will too. And we will get you some mishakeek that is delish and with MOP and beach is safe for us ladies;D You can meet the rest of the OPNO girls. Excited!

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Muscateeress: Wow! You beat me for more years in Oman :)

I hope you always love it, and find a way to stay, inshaAllah, or find another lovely place to live. Ammeen.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

hijabi: InshaAllahkheir:)

Kitten said...

Such a fantastic post. Made me appreciate being an Omani and having lived here my whole life. Thanks for that. Keep writing :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to go on, but don't kid yourself that the police will do something. Yes, they will take a statement, but then they will try to talk you out of pressing charges. If you persist, then somehow the family of the guy will get hold of your number and harrass you night and day to drop the charges. Still willing to carry on, then your PRO will go on holiday and your lawyer will stop taking your calls.


This has all happened to aquaitences here, I don't know anyone who has been strong enough to actually go to court when faced with so much official opposition.

Trailing after women is kerb crawling, and is illegal in many countries as it is intimidating threatening behaviour. Making the streets unuseable by normal respectable women. Any woman who does just getinto a car with a man in order to have sex with him is a prostitute. It should be quite easy therefore to arrest both the women and the men who do this. But strangely not!

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Kitten: Yep, ;) you are one of the lucky ones.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Anon: I HAVE gone to the police on more than one occasion. I admit, in the case of curb crawlers, there is little they can do but make a file.

I have never had them give my number to the family.

While they sometimes DO try to get you to not press charges, I have gone through with the process and recommend everybody does. In fact, a friend of mine had an ROP man jailed. Yes, she went to the ROP ABOUT AN ROP member, who assaulted her, and he was tried in a military court where she testified, albeit asking for a lesser charge for him since his jail term was satisfactory for her. So I am not fooling myself.

I say go with the process. AND if any people from the person harassing you is bugging you? If you have an OMANI MALE FRIEND AT ALL, SET THEM on the fellow harassing you. That is how justice seems to be done for Omani women who get bother while on their walks.

*I go for walks ALL the time and am quite safe. I photograph or videotape any incidents on my cell so I have proof and that is usually enough to get something done.

iB said...

I'm grateful for your post :)

We always need to stop and think back on where and how we live - to realize how truly lucky we are.

Aliyah said...

mashAllah u have such a talent in writting and ur articles made me addicted to ur blog :) but this is a good thing. i wish i can talk more with u if u dont mind regarding oman. can u please tell me how can i find u? if u open the link i have u will find my facebook profile over there so maybe u can add me.
thanks and again very very good work with ur blog.

AymiSu said...

i love your blog.. in my short stay in oman i have loved it too.. but i was too scared and too shy to go around then.. so i must say i have never maximized my stay. but just the same it holds a special place in my heart. I MISS OMAN.. never thought i would but i do..