May 17th | Saturday
Those who have not read my previous blog, an expat is an expatriate, a person who is temporarily or permanently residing in another country and culture of their own. I have met many of the Oxy expat wives, some from Oklahoma, Texas, California, and they all have one huge factor in common. They are completely and utterly out of their element and have to adapt to a new country for their husband’s job. I have developed a lot of respect for these women. Their marriage is sometimes challenged and their children have to grow up in a foreign country. It’s the little things that they have to work at just to understand the cultures they are surrounded by. Communication and entertainment, for example, is not as convenient. VPNs are any expat’s best friend. VPN: Virtual Private Network. Many sites and apps are blocked here, and in order to view Netflix, Hulu, Groupme, etc, you have to have a VPN on the device that is trying to use it. It can cost between $30-$50 a year…on every single device! Another difference that you have to conform to is the ability to navigate through traffic. These people that drive here are bat shit crazy. The majority of the traffic laws are “suggestions.” Aside from running a red light(which will put you automatically in jail), not many people drive cautiously. Cops don’t stake out on the sides or corners of the road like they do in the US. There are cameras that will catch you speeding and bill you, but other than that, stop signs are optional, and turn signals are rarely used. It’s nuts. Also, people in the middle east are nocturnal. When do stores/businesses normally open in the US? Here, you are lucky if it opens at 11am. Aside from coffee shops, everything opens late and stays open late. In addition, the store owners sometimes close down in the middle of the day just because and open back up at 4pm. Why? Because they can. For example, a doctors office may be open until 1pm, then close until 5pm, and open back up until 9pm at night. Although, once these families overcome the differences in these countries, there are a lot of benefits that they get to experience as well. My cousin Trey, Tara’s son, is going to an American school here in Muscat that has nearly 70 different nationalities in his school alone. 70! We picked him up from school and it was fascinating to hear all of the different accents and languages being spoken in one hallway. So much diversity between a handful of classrooms. He is going to learn so much from his classmates and being in a school abroad compared to schools in the US that practice teaching students how to pass standardized tests. Tara has also learned a lot from people she has met here too. Her neighbor Sumaiya, an Omani woman, has introduced her to their culture and helped her understand omani people and muslims much better. Sumaiya invited us over to learn how to cook a particular omani dish. She was super sweet and also offered to teach me some arabic! Her and her children were so welcoming and friendly, that I can’t wait to go back over their.
Random but…..delivery foods/take out: here, it is called “Take away.” If you say you want it to-go, they have no idea what that means. Also, everything delivers to your house here. Even McDonalds! Fast food, Thai, Chinese, Burger king, Subway, etc.
Earlier this week, Tara and Vita took to me to a fabric mall in Ruwi to buy yards of different fabrics to make pants and shirts that will be cool to wear in this hot weather. Some linens, silk, etc. People here often have their clothes personally tailored because it is a quarter of the cost like it is in the US.
Oman is amazing,