Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Day at the Wadi

Dear Readers,

Remember how I was telling you about the Wadis? Well I went to one today! It was quite a lot of fun. And guess who showed up? My inseparable partner EMMA. Yes, her lovely family set up camp next to my lovely family.

To get to a good spot, we had to drive through the wadi, really fast so we wouldn't sink. We got a nice car wash and my little brothers in the back were screaming with joy. "morethania morethania!" Which means: "again" in Arabic.

It was a fun day. We ate good food, and walked through the stream. I brought sunscreen this time and didn't get burnt. Here are some pictures from the day:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Raining. In Oman?!

Dear Readers,

It is, yet again, raining! In a country where it usually only rains once a year, you can imagine it being odd. And my mother laughed at me for packing a raincoat! Tehe.

Last night we went for a family cookout at the old farmhouse. The rain started when we were driving on our way there, and by the time we got out of our cars, each raindrop was the size of a shoe!

Okay that may have been an overstatement, but we were drenched! It did however, stop long enough for us to play soccer and slide around in the mud. One awesome thing about my family's farm house, is that it has a little soccer field, with grass! Green green grass. It was a lot of fun.

But besides all this fun, the rain can be very dangerous. There are parts of this region that contain "wadis". They are parts of the terrain that are barren during most of the year, but fill up with rain in what seems like a flash! They can be in the middle of roads oftentimes, which makes driving less safe.

After the rain ends, the wadis are very beautiful. This is why they are a common destination for Omanis when it rains, and therefore calls for more precaution, with the attraction of all the sight seekers.

Today, it rained again. My little brothers got really excited, as always, and we all went outside to soak up the wet weather.

I got a chance to catch some pretty hilarious footage of my little brothers acting as windshield whippers as well. Enjoy:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving at the Ambassador's House

Dear Readers,

Tonight we had a formal but fun Thanksgiving dinner, hosted by the Ambassador himself, Dr. Richard J. Schmierer. It was hosted outside, in the backyard, with white round tables and a buffet style food service.
Here are the pictures I took:

It was a great evening. Not only did I get to see Noah, Bailey, Emma, and Jaira and their host families, but also the alumni who went to America last year! We were also joined by people from AmidEast, our school principals, and the fun-to-talk-to workers from the Embassy as well.

Now don't worry, it wasn't stuck up and fancy shmancy, but more so a relaxed get together, that brought everyone in this program together for a warm and welcoming rendez-vous. I got to talk with the Omani alumni, who had stories to tell of their experiences in the States, which was really cool to hear. I even heard some new stories from Haya and Hadeel, two girls I go to school with! (They both went on exchange to America last year, and have been very sweet with helping Emma and I adjust to our new school).

Here is a picture of the five of us Americans together: I wish I had a picture with the whole group, with the other alumni! I'll post one tomorrow if I can.

Note to Emma: Sorry about this picture :}

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Staying In Touch

Dear Readers,

When exchange students like Emma and I feel like knowing what is going on in the U.S., we like to use the wonderful world wide web to connect us with our dearly missed society.

There's no measurement for the joy we find, reading about how the Government just passed a bill making pizza a vegetable, or what's up with the Twilight stars (tehe), or who the "Top Celebs" are on OR, even for what's going on with the Occupy Wall Street Hobos.

We love the news, and I thought I'd share it with you: Click these entertaining links!

Congress Calls Pizza a Vegetable

Breaking Dawn and the Box Office

But let's not forget America's finest news source:

Here's where we got our enlightenment on Occupy Wall Street:
The Demands of Occupy Wall Street

Bank Executives on 15th Floor Gambling On Which Occupy Wall 
Street Protester Will Be Arrested Next

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today was National Day!

Dear Readers,

Today was finally National Day, in which we dressed up in beautiful dresses and watched traditional dancing, and a fashion show of the traditional clothes!

It was quite hot, but we had a good time. Some people passed around some very strong coffee, with sweets, to cover the bitter taste. We took a lot of pictures:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

National Day is Coming!

Dear Readers,

In class today we are preparing for national day. All over the school decorations are going up, people are talking about what they will wear, and green, white, and red has taken over. It's been pretty fun.

On National day, everyone in school is allowed to dress themselves in the Traditional Omani Aparrel, which is quite colorful. The outfits consist of all colors, and are layered. Certain designs are worn based on which tribe one descents from.

Of course, these are not what Omanis wear everyday. These outfits are reserved mainly for special occasions.
Regularly Omanis wear western clothing! Stores here that I've shopped at include H&M, Forever 21, and Gap. The only difference is they wear mainly long-sleeved and long panted outfits. Although when going out, like to public places, they just throw on an abaya over their clothes. (Sometimes over pajamas:)

But with National Day fast approaching, and the festivities in the air, I thought I'd share the experience with you, my faithful readers.

Here are some pictures of the decorations in our school:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Emirates Workers"

Dear Readers,

Emma and I were reading CNN today, when we stumbled upon this video. We though it was pretty interesting, considering we see workers similar to these everyday. Whether they face similar conditions or not is not in our knowledge. None the less, this is a very compelling book.

Here's a link about the author: 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bugs Love Me

Dear Readers,

Two nights ago, as I lay awake in bed trying to go to sleep, I couldn't help the feeling of bugs crawling all over me. There was an ant problem in my bathroom, and earlier, I had been chasing after ants, trying to eradicate as many as possible.

So that night, while I was laying there, I tried to ignore the feeling of the tiny ants crawling all over me and just go to sleep.

"Its your imagination, go to sleep!" I said to myself.

But at that moment, I felt something soft tickle my hand.
 "What in the world....." I immediately sat up in an instance, and started to fling my hand all over the room, as if I just burnt it on the stove.

After turning on the lights I found the culprit tickler. A little brown bug was lying on the wall. With my sharp ninja skills I grabbed a shoe and squashed it, feeling a bit better. But then I turned back to my bed, and saw another sneaky brown bug scurry across my blanket, like there was no problem at all with it being there!
Another fight took place, and I am sorry to say my 2nd battle was lost. The other brown bug hid under my 500 lb. dresser. I commenced a stake-out, waiting for it to come out of hiding so I could squash it. I sat there for a good 5 minutes in my PJ's and running shoes, with a magazine in one hand and an old shoe in the other.
Though, the little devil never did come out from hiding. Exhausted, yet braver, I went back to bed, and finally fell asleep.

Though, nothing can really compare to the humor of the cricket crawling into my pants last night.
I went to meet some friends from church. Walking into their house, I saw a black cricket in the doorway and felt I should move it outside. With my foot a gracefully (or so I thought) swiped it out the door. I continued, walking through their kitchen, meeting all the family.....then walking into the living room. Suddenly I felt something jump. Then it jumped again, and then again!! Needless to say, I performed a really awesome dance for them, and made a memorable first impression! The poor little cricket survived with a head injury, but did finally make it outside. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Average Day

Dear Readers,

Yesterday was the first day of school back from Eid vacation. Everyone still had some energy left over from the holiday, and Emma and I were excited to see each other again. In fact, after saying "good morning" and our usual hellos, and going through our usual routine: I go to get water, we go to the bathroom together, but instead end up talking and forget to even use the stalls, and back to 1st period, we had to stop, and give each other a hug!
I spend every minute of my school day with that girl. I feel like she's my designated twin this year. 

We have all the symptoms of being twins:
People mix up our names,
We are both the only 2 students with white skin and light hair, 
We sit next to each other in class,
People think we live together and are sisters

There you go!

Moving on, the day went quite well. We laughed a lot, and learned a little. But mostly laughed. But the highlight of the day?

Ribbon Dancing. All the way.

For gym class today we danced with ribbons. I can not express to you the excitement Emma possesed all morning, in anticipation for the ribbon dancing. Unfortunately there was no music. But that didn't stop Emma from having a good time. :)

I've another wedding to go to!  So I will write again later.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Day at the Beach

Dear Readers,

I just had a wonderful day at Sawadi Resort.

Surprisingly everyone here is German! Even their public library was filled with German books and magazines!
Here are some pictures of the beach :)

I made this sand castle :)

Monday, November 7, 2011


Dear Readers,

Its 3:48 pm and I just got back back from my Great-Uncle, and Grandmother's houses. I was fed until I popped. :) After getting dressed in my beautiful abaya, and waiting for my family to be ready (it took about 2 hours, haha), we departed to our families Eid celebration.  Eid is just like Christmas. There are presents, endless varieties of food, family members you haven't seen in months, little kids running in chaotic bliss, and candy strategically placed in artistic bowls all throughout the room. 

It was quite wondrous. Though, there were big differences. 

There was no Church in the morning, no snow, no christmas decorations, no tree taking up the entire room, or at that, no christmas music. Instead, we.....
Dressed up in our abayas, prepared envelopes of money (Happy Eid ;)), and visited the ENTIRE family. Those who didn't go to Dubai or London, that is. At my Great Uncle's house, we found the children chasing each other around the room. You could tell this was the "Gathering" house, because there were pictures of EVERY family member on the walls. A difference between American and Omani houses, is that the Omani houses are very colorful! They are not made of wood, because there is no wood in the desert. The floors are all marble, and some beautiful tile design lines the walls in crazy colors. Lots of rooms are yellow, which I personally like. Most houses have designated family rooms, with cushioned seating for EVERY member of the family lining the walls in a curve of chairs.  "Everyone has there own throne here!" I said to J. 

The family speaks in arabic, cracking up at each others stories, and impersonating people with funny accents. 
Just like Americans make fun of Arnold Shwartzenegger's voice, or an Alabama drawl, they laugh at Indian accents.

Along with the candy at every corner of the house, there is coffee in every room. "Heaven!" I think. (I'm a coffee addict.) The cups are the size of shot glasses, which I like, because it somewhat limits my take in. Although, I must admit, J and I sucked down a good ten of them!

There was one time-to-time behavioral similarity anyone can relate to. J and I sat in my Great Unlce's house with M, Mom, and the 2 boys, watching relative after relative sneak out. J predicted what was about to happen, as we sat on out cushioned throwns. 

"Watch M. See now he's talking to my cousin about cars. Watch watch, he's gonna pull out his phone and show him a picture of a car." 
Sure enough his blackberry popped out displaying a car."
A few minutes later....
"Okay. Now, he's going to try to escape."
M stood up looking concerned about some text message.
"Uh-oh..." he said.
"He's gonna pretend his friends got in an accident." 
Luckily for him, no one bothered paying attention to fabricated distress in his eyes. The adults were busy talking about something.
"I've really gotta go, my friend was in an accident."
With that he left the room, and went to the door. Then J tried to save us too:
"Hey M, our friend was in the accident too, right?"
"No, just MY friend." He says with a smile. And out he went. 

I couldn't help but think of my brother and sister, making up excuses at thanksgiving and other gatherings. "Uhhh, I've got soccer practice!" or, "My shift starts early today!"  It's the ole' excuse-game.

A few minutes later, one of our cousins realized M had left. "Stuck-fulallah! That S-of-a-B!" 
"Bahahahaha! J and I started cracking up."
Then we watched as he copied M, pulled out his phone, and acted like there was this terrible accident, and he HAD to go see his friend.
"Wait, wait, what?" 
Eeeerrrrrrrrk! You could here his breaks being hit.
After explaining it to one of our grandmothers, we watched her protest his reasoning. "What accident!? I didn't hear anything! Let me see this text!"  Something told me that the elders were used to this game.
"Ohhhhh shiiiiiiii..."
 We started cracking up again.

Besides all this good fun, we gawked at new born babies, ate special Eid food, and pretty much hung around. My extended family is extremely welcoming and sweet. Not to mention lively.  I had a great time.  A million thanks to my dear host family!  This was a holiday I will never, ever forget.