Saturday, June 4, 2016

Life as an expat in Muscat (Part 2)

During my early days staying here, I didn't know much about the life and culture of the Omanis, although we live in an area where I can consider as local area because 95% of our neighborhood are local people.

According to my husband, most of our neighbors are senior government servants, hence the laid-back and safe atmosphere. Although I don't know most of my neighbors (the wives mostly spend their time at home or work or outside with friends *you would only see housemaids running errands and escorting small kids to the playground* and some of them don't really speak English, and I am also an introvert that stays at home most of the time), but they are OK. Well, at least nobody has ever bothered us. 

Honestly, at first, I preferred to live in The Wave (about 10 mins driving from our house). It is a high-end residential area where most of the dwellers are expats (mostly the Westerners) and modern Arabs. I like the place not because of that, but because of its accessible facilities (Private beach, playgrounds, grocery store, gym, pools, and a lot of eateries all in one place). The only constraint is, of course, the budget. Haha. Sorry to reality, we are not that rich! (not yet, one day inshaAllah!). 

But then... I came to realize that, the kind of life I am having right now is actually the best for our family. 

2. A Relax place to raise kids

Yes, this is why. Here, I don't have to worry too much about my kids' safety. I can even let my 6 years old Aaron cross the road and buy stuff from the shop nearby all by himself if I want to, just like the local kids here (which I haven't try yet, and maybe not now, thank you. Hahaha) 

Basically, the environment here is similar to our childhood era (back in the late 80's or early 90's) where we were free to ride bicycle to our friends' houses, walked to the small shops nearby and happily play outdoor games with friends all day long and only went home at Maghrib time.

We have nearby playground with a very basic facility but enough to let the kids enjoy their afternoon. We have small stores across the street where I don't really buy stuff there but is surely handy whenever I suddenly realize that I ran out of eggs, or milk. (but I hate it when the kids especially Saraa crying for ice cream that she can just watch from the window to see whether the shop is already open).

Somewhere in 2015, our neighborhood. Photo taken from the window. A kampung environment, only no wooden houses here. Because, they don't built house using woods.
And the best part is, I loveeeeee to see the local boys with their dishdasha (man's traditional attire/dress/jubah) marching to the mosque in front of our house during every prayer time. They are as small as 5 or 6 to teen ages and they go there by themselves, without having to wait for their father. It is simply a pleasant scene for me. The number will increase during school holidays and Ramadhon. And even ramadhon, we will see cars filling up the side road even during Fajr and noon prayers. I learned that they can sometimes be really naughty. I saw once or twice they threw medium sized stones to each other as a game, on the way back from Solat. And yes they sometimes can be very harsh and loud!. But I love the fact that here, they teach the boys to go to mosque during prayer times, irregardless! And when Azaan Maghrib, they know to go home. It is just like a kampung life style, isn't it!

Actually, not all residential areas are like this. There are places similar to Damansara, Bangsar, etc, in terms of its convenience and density. I only refer specifically to our neighborhood. But overall, we Malaysians agreed that in general, the safety here is better than in Malaysia.

I guess I would never experience this if I stay in the expats' area. I am thankful to have this opportunity. It is a life lesson and indeed an experience worth to keep. But if my husband ever ask me again whether I want to move to The Wave or Madinat Qaboos and the likes, I would definitely say Yes! Hahaha. Well, at least I can learn something new over there right?!
Overall, I am just thankful and grateful. Our house is still easily accessible to a lot of places: 3-5 mins to Muscat City Center Mall and hospital, 5-10 mins to Vegetables and Fruits Market that sells our favorite coconut juice, 10 mins to The Wave for eateries, 10 mins to beach, 15-20 mins to Wadi Al-Khoud (ala-ala river), nearby to the best mishqaq stall (traditional zanzibari skewers), 5 mins to Sahwa Park- a big public park with a lot of flowers and playgrounds and most importantly, only a few steps away to the mosque - rajin tak rajin je orang lelaki dalam rumah ni nak pergi! hihihi.

So well, this is the snippet of our life as an expat here. InshaAllah  in the next entries, I will share my insight about the Omanis and the Malaysians living here
On the way to our house. Big/main road to our residential area. Quiet kan? But during weekdays busy juga during peak hours

End of winter and beginning of summer, April 2016

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