Things I still don’t quite…
1) Why are beauty salons called saloons. I just. WHY.
2) the normalized ethnic stereotyping…yeah given the racially correlated and practically ubiquitous wealth/educational/professional discrepancies here, this is a predictable problem but certainly one I will naaht miss…although obviously the US has great problems of its own, this one is tough in particular for me to accept.
Things I learned to appreciate, admire & enjoy…
1) Whole Milk!!! I think the biggest take-away from Oman may be that (especially, omajah, fresh!!!) whole milk is freaking awesome and should be consumed as often as possible.
2) the Omani/Yemeni family-style of eating together on the floor with hands. It is so intimate, cohesive. So beautiful.
3) Ludicrously strong black tea (called Karak, meaning “strong” in Hindi). I have stopped drinking coffee but started using two black tea bags per cup…Thank God for whole milk #2!
4) All-female spaces. Because of the conservative gender roles here, these are commonly found in both public and private throughout Oman. Having never gone to an all-girls school nor really been in a sorority, I definitely underestimated the great power of such spaces before arriving in Oman.
5) I had granola for the first time. It exists without nuts! Wow, what a food! Thank God for whole milk #3!
Things I will miss a lot
1) Friends. About two weeks ago, I received an email from a mentor of mine, an ’06 Dartmouth grad and former Fulbright scholar to Bahrain currently completing a Middle Eastern Studies PhD in New York. Her words were, “Whatever may lie ahead, I hope that you leave Oman proud of the research you have accomplished and rewarded by the friendships you have made.” Wow. YES.
2) Hearing Arabic, Persian and Swahili spoken almost every day. This gives me so much joy and such comfort. It is not possible in any other country in the world. In fact, that is the reason I choose to come to Oman in the first place.
3) My “modeling career.” LOL. This was, to paraphrase my mother, a “hoot-and-a-half.”
4) My instagram feed will get significantly less exciting. Eh. I will survive *somehow*.
5) The bean variety at grocery stores. I mean honestly. EIGHT types of chickpeas? Mashallah.