Thursday, 10 February 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?

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