Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making it Home

Dear Readers,

I had the looooongest trip home. about 24 hours in total. I know that sounds like only a day, but to me that was missing 2 nights of sleep. I was a zombie by the time I made it to Philadelphia.

I had a pretty interesting journey. Some was unpleasant, and some was interesting.

On my first flight out of Oman I was placed on a isle seat of the middle section. I sat next to an older woman, and her daughter on her other side. They seemed nice enough, two smiling faces from their black abayas. It was 11pm when we left, so I was tired and ready to sleep.

About an hour into the flight, the craziness began. I was just sitting there dozing off to Harry Potter on the screen in front of me, when the woman two seats down stood up, and looked around frantically. There was only one thing separating her from the Isle to get out, and that was a man sleeping heavily, reclined in his chair. In a quick decision, instead of just going over the guy, she crawled over her grandmother and then me jumping out into the isle. For the life of me I had no idea what was happening.

Then she started looking for one of the German flight attendants. Finding one, she tried to explain to him in struggling English that her grandmother needed oxygen. He then asked her what her illness was, and the symptoms, and more or less what she wanted.

I tried to move out of my seat, but the woman and attendant were standing there talking intently and wouldn't give me any room. Then another attendant came with an oxygen tank and a rubber mask.
Before I could do anything the woman grabbed the mask and tank from the attendant, and then SAT on me, blinding me with her abaya! I tried to move, talk, or some how politely push her off, but I could do nothing.

A part of me felt sympathy, for her grandmother and her frantic ways, but I couldn't help but feel a but..............violated??

Thanking God the woman finally got up halfway, about to take something else from the attendant, when I made my leap.

Very fortunately there happened to be a free spot across the isle. It was next to a man watching the scene. Thinking the same as me, he pushed his stuff aside to make room for my jump. He then reached out to help me not trip over whatever unfortunate passerby got in my way. I practically fell into the seat.

I just became 3 times more tired than before, and threw the airplane blanket over my head. Sad to say, I am allergic to sleeping on planes, and instead of sleeping, I watched a bollywood movie with my rescuer beside me.

But what about the grandmother??

Well, about 30 minutes after my escape, the grandmother was up and walking. I don't believe she noticed I moved, and I decided to just leave it at that.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Last Full Day In Oman

Dear Readers,

Tomorrow I leave Oman. Its coming rapidly, but I'm filling my time with as many things possible. Today I went to the Souq with my host family.

It was nice having my host sister there especially, because otherwise the salesman would've eaten me alive!
That is, I'm an obvious foreigner, and they would've charged me twice as much for everything.

What's the key to my host sister being an awesome bargainer? Well besides the fact that she is obviously Omani, she can speak like 3 languages. Particularly the language the salesmen speak, which from what I can gather either Hindi, Lawati Arabic, or a secret alien language no one told me about. :)

I will ask her tomorrow.

It was hard to shop. I am extremely indecisive and I have very particular taste. Although it was a close call thinking about buying my uncle, Father George, a wooden box with Jesus and Mary posing with the Koran in their hands. The store guy wouldn't lower the price enough, so I just gave up. : /

But oh well :)

Here are some of the items I bought:

Here are some pictures from inside the Souq:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Muscat Night :) Saying Good Bye

Dear Readers,

Tonight I said goodbye to my best friends, and it was sad. :(

BUT, before we said our goodbyes, we were hanging out down at shatti!

First we met up at Darcy's, the british pancake shop, and then took a stroll along the beach. Adventurously we got lost in a Wadi (don't worry, a small dry one!). We we being covered in sand, and is was pretty icky, and scary, but we made it out eventually.

We walked for a while, then wondered over to some mall, and sat around for a while, talking.

During our walk we saw a scary little kitten. Awwwwwe its so cute!

After the mall, I decided to take a video. I thought it was interesting enough, so I posted it! 

Here it is:

My How-to on Omani Snackage

Dear Readers,

I got pretty bored today, so I decided to make a quick video on making an Omani snack.

Its really simple, and pretty tasty.

Here you go!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Plane Tickets

Dear Readers,

I've received my plane tickets, and I will be leaving for the U.S. Tuesday, at 10:45 pm. Late isn't it!?

But that's not the kicker. I'm doing a direct flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Philadelphia! That is a 10 hour flight! Ahhhhhhhhhh. I know its harder flying from China, but still. 10 hours of sitting.

Goodness. Gracious.

I'm trying to download some new songs to pass the time. Any suggestions?
So far I've downloaded all of Adele, Ray LaMontagne, Arcade Fire, and some other random stuff.

My good friends here got me some great books, by my favorite Author, Malcolm Gladwell, plus Super Freakonomics.

Well my readers, I have 3 days left in Oman. What am I doing to enjoy my time?

The other night I went to Shatti Beach, which is where everyone and their brother goes to hang out. They have maybe 6 different cafes, and a bunch of restaurants, plus a nice mall. Because the whole city goes there on Thursday nights, we met up with loads of people I had never met. But they all seemed to know us, so we just smiled and shook they're hands.

That's the norm. here, shaking hands. Yes, I mean for teenagers. Whether you're a guy or girl, it doesn't matter; you casually shake the person's hand. Its so different from in the states where we either get all excited and hug each other, or oppositely nod and say "hey".

Although I must clarify the hand shaking is different from what we're used to.

Instead of firmly grasping the other's hand and actually shaking it, they just kind of lightly touch and pull back like they just burnt themselves.

Hah, yea okay that's funny. I don't mean to make fun of any Omanis, its just the way I see it.

Shatti is really fun. Its completely crowded with people and they're $100,000 cars, as well as white foreigners, which makes the place all the more interesting. I hope to go again in the next few days before I leave, so I can spend some quality time with the Omanis and Americans.          

 (I didn't take this picture, but we do see cars like this, so its a good representation ;)

Friday, January 13, 2012

10 things I'm Looking Forward to When I Go Home

Here's the list:
  1. Baking chocolate chip cookies....what I've been crazing for 5 months now
  2. Driving my (Mom's) car!!! FREEDOM. Oh yes, it is a black Acura. Her name is Rrrashell
  3. Going to the grocery store and getting organic health food!!
  4. Hanging out with friends, and doing whatever.
  5. Going to the Gym/ exercise, Zumba!
  6. Sitting on comfortable furniture....Americans DO know comfort.

  7. Watch a movie with family and have everyone actually watch it.

8. Reliable FREE WiFi!

9. Wearing Shorts

10. Live Music in Coffee Shops

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    I'm Coming Home

    Dear Readers,

    You must be wondering why I haven't posted a whole lot in the past weeks, and it is because I've been testing in finals at my school. Yes, the semester is now over.

    Though this was one of the most impacting, interesting, and amazing experiences of my life, its time for it to come to a close.

    That's right, readers, I'm going HOME!!!!

    I don't know the exact date and time, but it looks like within a few days. I can't tell you how excited I am to go home, but sad to leave behind who have become my family.

    There are so many things going on in my personal life right now that are beckoning for my return home, that it only makes my rapid return more relieving. It has to do with the pressure of schools, my natural family, and personal longing for a vegan meal!!

    Haha, but I can't tell you how sad it makes me to leave such an extraordinary country.
    Oman is so fun and so fresh- really. The city is only 30 years old!!

    Because of these sudden events, I'm going to try my very best to make the best of them.

    And so to start with the beginning of my last days here, the next post will be:

    The top 10 things I will be excited about - coming home!

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Bathroom Switch

    Dear Readers,

    At my school here in Oman, we have 3 floors. The first floor of the school is for the younger kids in Kindergarden and 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. The second and third floor were for all the other kids, randomly (in my eyes) scattered into different classrooms. Now, the school originally handled things like this:

    They split a line down the middle, making the right side the BOY side, and the left side the GIRL side. So, the right bathrooms were for the boys, and the girl's bathrooms were on the left.

    Today when Emma and I were on the 3rd floor in the library, Emma decided to get up and go to the bathroom. She left the room, and made her way to the girls' bathroom on the left side of the building. But to her dismay, she ended up in the BOYS bathroom!  ??

    About a day ago someone in charge decided to split the school horizontally instead of vertically. They wanted to completely separate the girls and boys from being able to see each other from across the balcony. (instead of hallways our school has a balcony system, so the teachers can see everything.)


    Don't fret, readers. I did some research, and got the juicy gossip from some classmates ;)

    What happened was, a girl decided she liked a boy in another class. she had a friend give a note to him. Then, from what I heard, the boy showed the note to one of our superiors, and the whole class got in trouble. SO......they sliced the school like a tomato!!

    Mmmmmm hmmmmmm.

    Now when Emms and I are in Arabic class on the 3rd floor, we have to walk ALL the way downstairs. Uhhhhggg. Hahahhh, just kidding, we're not that lazy.

    I will say though, now that I am pondering this whole bathroom switch............I bet those girls are going to regret writing those love notes and profanities on the stall doors. I will admit I don't know what half of them say. But, I'm sure the boys will. :}