Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Christmas Memories from Oman
...So I told her if she wants a pink tree bad enough she can save her money and buy it for herself. She said she will. We'll see next year won't we?
My mother sewed and then hand embroidered stockings for us. We couldn't find any stockings, and my step-father, American that he was, didn't like our French ideas of Christmas shoes set out, and opening presents the night before. Open-toe shoes also kind of suck for that tradition.
And we could, because, Oman is like, the perfume center of world when it comes to buying odd ingredients that go into perfumes. And Mutrah had a pretty impressive gold souq. I haven't gone there since I was a non-Muslim expat kid;).
The thing I remember most about Christmas in Oman was the lights. The lights induced a lot of swearing and fighting and arguing, and general running away from home incidents.
Yeah so my mother likes to have a fake tree up a whole month before Christmas. So every time a light burnt out she'd freak out and have to UNDECORATE THE WHOLE TREE and then sort the string out, find the problem bulb, and then re-decorate the tree. I swear, she was probably the only other expat in PDO who did this crazy stuff. Our neighbors usually only had lights on their tree the first two days they plugged it in and then they'd logically (reasonably) give up, and said if we bought more wine and made cocktails nobody would notice our tree had no lights. Whereas, my mother would freak and out and be saying F*%% you!!!!!! to the Christmas tree at least once a week for a whole month. But she took their advice about the wine. So we drunkenly decorated the Christmas tree several times a month before Christmas.
If, by chance, my stepfather happened to mention that this was indeed the actions of a total lunatic, he and my mother would fight so bad he'd have to leave the house, and we usually decided to go with him, because who wants to hang out with a crazy person fighting a tree?
Thus as a result I got to see some pretty cool places in Oman because of bad-quality christmas lights. Old forts and castles (before restoration some of them---some of the places now are only dust or have been replaced by resorts and hotels), desert, mountains, abandoned beaches....
We'd also host a Christmas dinner where my mother would invite everybody from PDO she thought was a Christian (which half of them were Budhist and the other half were Hindu). Thus Christmas consisted of a group of truly confused people who were half scared to death of us, and as kids, my sister and I, we loved to scare them more so we'd love to tell people about Santa Claus "who sees you when you're sleeping" and the Snowman that becomes real when he puts on a magic hat. Scary stuff to people whose English isn't that great. They thought Christmas as a holiday was pretty nuts, I am sure, despite my mother's Christian intentions to feed all the labourers and sweepers and cat-catchers employed by PDO.
Somehow we'd have a Turkey dinner, and my mother would set out all the silverware, and cloth napkins, and silver napkin rings, and then our guests would be all confused because they usually ate with their hands, and in the end I got to eat a formal dinner with my hands which (rebel that I am) I always thought was pretty awesome.
That is how I remember Christmas in Oman. Now with pink Christmas trees and all that available, is Christmas still as crazy and weird for expats living over here? Or was my family just a bunch of total weirdos;)?