I've filled out a couple of questionnaires about my blog and what it is like being an expat in Oman recently and they, typically, would ask for top tips when it comes to living here. So I thought I would collate my answers and add a little more information for anyone about to make the journey or new to the place. That said, I would like to think these tips are useful wherever in the world you are going.
Before you arrive
1) Get your paperwork in order.
Get marriage certificates and education certificates attested. We were given a lot of wrong information from my husband's company about what we would need to have. This meant FedEx'ing documents back to the UK to be attested, which is expensive and time-consuming. Think ahead and bring all the documents you could be asked for.
2) Pack home comforts.
I was very naive about how hard I would find the transition, but my best friend gave me this tip, and she was so right: pack home comforts and things that are familiar to you. I specifically remember her telling me she took the Boots home-brand facial wipes and cotton pads, and this makes so much sense. While shopping in a new place can be exciting, it can also be incredibly annoying, especially if you don't recognise brands or can't even figure out what a product is because you can't read the packaging. Having those small things that add a bit of normalcy to such a big change can make a huge difference.
3) Read blogs.
Mine obviously, as well as all the people in my blog roll. They will give you an idea of what life is like here and what you can look forward to. Obviously, you will continue to do this after you arrive too.
4) Join Facebook groups.
There are loads of Muscat-related groups, some for buying and selling furniture and such, others for asking questions, and some for reviews of restaurants, spas, etc. They are great sources of advice and information.
5) Spend time alone.
Undoubtedly you will feel isolated, and you have to get used to dealing with that feeling or being alone or lonely. There will also be situations when you will be trying your best to communicate with someone, but you just don't understand one another, if you want to get used to this maybe try having a serious conversation with a toddler.
After you arrive
Now I'm going to leave out the obvious here, because there obvious (get a roof over your head, furniture, bank account, etc.)
1) Get out and drive.
Don't end up like me so scared of the roads that you don't go out and explore. Get in the car, expect that people are going to drive fast and very close to you and if you are from the UK get over the fact that you are driving on the wrong side of the road. I don't think I ever used my horn before living here; now it is almost daily. It's normal.
2) Forget about time.
Time. Deadlines. These words mean nothing here. If you give up on expecting anything to be done in a hurry, you'll be just fine.
There are a few expat social groups for women, which I have blogged about before, and via Facebook, you can find groups related to any particular interests you may have. There is also a handy "local events" tab where you can find out about stuff happening that you might want to go to.
4) Find a new hobby
Chances are whatever hobby you had before you moved to Oman exists here, but there is the chance to get into new hobbies, particularly outdoor ones. I discovered scuba diving, but there are plenty of other water sports, there is also hiking, driving, camping, cycling, and I am sure much more. If you aren't so into the outdoors, there are also clubs for playing games, arts and crafts, reading. And if it turns out that there isn't a club/group for your particular thing, it's easy enough to start your own.
I hope that is helpful to anyone moving. Those of you who already made the move, what would your piece of advice be?