Sunday, 24 August 2014

Life in Oman: 6 months

I decided since I have been so awful updating this blog, the best way to get back on track is to give my thoughts on life in Oman now that I've hit the six month mark. Six months already! I intend to do this little update at regular intervals (the next obvious one being at the one year mark) to track how my thoughts on the place change.
Please keep in mind this is a very personal experience.What I like about living in Oman:
  • The weather. It's sunny all the time.
  • Comfortable lifestyle. We are extremely fortunate that as a newly weds we are able to have the lifestyle we do. I doubt we would have been able to afford a nice home, holidays and regular date nights had we stayed in London. 
  • Beautiful, mountainous landscape.
  • Safe. 
  • Very relaxed pace of life. 
  • "Adventurous lifestyle" I put this in inverted commas because I am yet to do any of the outdoor things Oman has to offer; sailing, diving, camping, driving off-road in the desert or mountains, hiking and much more. I do intend to though! 
What I don't like so much about living in Oman:
  • The weather. It's incredibly hot, all the time, so much so that I don't want to leave the house unless I have to. 
  • Having to think about what I wear, all the time. This is the biggest issue for me and is very much linked to the weather. It is incredibly hot and obviously modesty is a big issue here, which means that shoulders and knees at least should be covered. So I wear a lot of long skirts and cardigans and, as a result, I am generally overheated outside of the house. It makes me not want to go out and also makes shopping for clothing difficult, since the stores don't sell a lot of clothes that would be considered modest. 
  • Driving. The second biggest issue for me here is driving, everyone on the roads is in a hurry, which leads to a lot of dangerous driving. 
  • Awful, awful shopping centres
  • No city vibe.
  • Unskilled labour needs supervision and direction. One of my worst days in Muscat was the day we had curtains fitted. I didn't realise just how much direction the men would need to hang the curtains and, after seven hours, we only had one of three curtains fitted. Having a language barrier made the situation that much more frustrating. 
  • Not being understood. This is a simple language issue and obviously can't be helped, but it makes you realise just how important communication is. When there aren't many people around that understand what you are saying, let alone deeper things like your sense of humour, it can make you feel quite isolated. 
Honestly, the last six months have been difficult, although the pace of life is nice, adjusting to it and understanding how things work here was a challenge, because it is very easy to sit and compare to the UK and then get frustrated that the processes aren't the same. I'm looking forward to the cooler weather and getting the chance to enjoy the outdoors more. I am also excited to report that I will be starting a job sometime in September, which should give me a bit more of a normal routine.