Monday, June 30, 2014

Muslim generosity during Ramadhan in Oman

I have just experienced Muslim generosity at its peak. I'm so touched right now I feel like crying. God bless generous people!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The trip to Jabal Akhdar, Oman

On Saturday, June 28, we visited Jabal Akhdar, a mountainous city in Oman. The name literally means "the green mountain" - and while it is somewhat green and the weather is amazing there (it even rained on our way back!), the title doesn't' refer to the weather but to the fact that people live there, the color green being symbolic of life. The people who live here are called the Bani Riyam, but after the oil discovery in Oman, most of these people left for bigger cities nearby, so now barely anyone lives here. The houses we saw were abandoned homes.

Jabal Akhdar  is a good two hours away from Ibri to just get to the bottom of the mountain, but then you take these "four-wheelers" to drive up the mountain. That ride was a good 20-30 minutes, I think. Also, the place is known for rose water, but I totally forgot to ask about this during our tour. Oman generally imports rose water from Pakistan, a teacher told us last week, but Jabal Akhdar is the one place in Oman famous for it.
While on Jabal Akhdar, after seeing those abandoned houses (noted in the pics below), we went to a village called Qaryat al-Ayn (qaryah = village, al-ayn = (water) spring), and people still live there. It reminded me much like villages in Pakistan. Then again, I imagine all villages around the world are the same.
Now the pics. Bismillah.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The presentation on migrant laborers' human rights violations in the U.S. & the Gulf

Okay, okay, I know I've promised to blog about a bit too many more topics than I can prolly take up right now, and I still promise to do so with time, but for now, I'll just talk about something that's still fresh in my mind and heart. I promise to blog about the engagement party I attended last weekend AND about my host family's farm and all. And I've some pictures I'd like to share sooner or later. And I can't claim that it's because I don't have time--because blogging is one of those things I'll find time for (another such thing is sleep). It's mostly because I'm being lazy; other times, it's because the amount of stuff I've to say in the blog post overwhelms me (it's exciting, I swear, but it's so much it's also rather overwhelming); other times, I'm simply trying to avoid the computer because the thought of checking my email and the responsibilities I've to full while in Oman scares the shit out of me. I want to have nothing that serious to think about! On a happier note, though, finally allowing myself to check my email wasn't so bad after all because there've been some good news academic-wise lately, alhamdulillah. I'm too shy to note them here. Maybe another time, iA.

Also, I cannot speak in English anymore being more focused on Arabic at the moment. I find it hard to convey a simple point in English and forget the most basic words in English when I talk. It's prolly good news for my Arabic, though ... because, DEAR HUMANS, I'm starting to have dreams IN ARABIC!!!! I'm even starting to think in Arabic now!! How successful is that! Please #SayMashaAllah, though. So another reason I'm not blogging is that I actually cannot write in English. And while I'm happy starting a blog in Arabic, I also enjoying having readership, lolzuna.

Now about this thing ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The controversies that are "women's rights" and "migrant laborers' rights in the Gulf"

The usual disclaimer: I'm not writing this on behalf of CLS or anyone or any other program's behalf. Everything I say here (and in all my other posts and tweets during my two months in Oman through CLS) is entirely my own thoughts. So don't be hating CLS if something I say doesn't please your heart.

Okay, qrratugiya, time to stop pushing boundaries, at least in Ibri. But today was an adventurous day, controversy-wise (what?). Though, honestly, why should anything related to women's rights be considered controversial? Or migrant workers' rights? Stop it, humans. 

Here's what happened.

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Omani host family

We're supposed to spend every other weekend with our host families (the speaking partners I mentioned previously are our host siblings, for the most part, or otherwise members of our host families - it's an awesome system). So last weekend, we all visited our host families. We visited their farm, and I've too many pictures from that, so I'll write on that tomorrow, but below, let's talk about what the family was like and how their house was and all.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ibri, Oman, from the top of a mountain

We climbed up a mountain last Thursday. Left around 6:20pm in time to see a part of the sunset but also in time to leave the mountain before it got too dark. Our bus drive accompanied us. Near the end, when a couple of more students were still coming down the mountain, he said, "I'm scared for those girls. You know there are jinns here at night. It's a scary place to be at." He was so relieved when we all made it back just fine and safe. God bless him for caring.

So here are some pictures. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

How we got here and details about Ibri. And stuff.

Again: I am not writing this on behalf of CLS. I speak for myself and only myself in this post and in every other blog post and in every tweet throughout my two months in Ibri, Oman.

So I'm writing this as I wait for my host sister to come pick me and my classmate/friend up. We're supposed to spend every other weekend with our host families and the weekdays in our dorms. Details below on how things have been so far, how we got here, and so on.

While at Frankfurt Airport ...

Flying into Oman from DC, we had a five-hour layover at Frankfurt airport. Since we left around 5pm, I couldn't sleep through the flight at all (plus, the seats aren't comfortable enough, what with barely any leg room and all), but I watched a couple of movies and some TV shows. It was about 8 hours to Frankfurt. So this is what happened.

It's still hot in Oman.

Abayas come in dif styles. This is one. Black in Oman
Previously in my Oman Journals series, I wrote about how hot Oman is. It's really like nothing I've ever seen or felt before in my life. Not that I've seen that many places, but still. So I forgot to note two things about the heat: I went on a run with another CLS-er and a classmate a couple of mornings ago, and we decided to leave early in the morning when women generally run. Because women gyms are a rarity here (if not completely an impossibility?) and women also don't typically run or exercise here ... I don't think most men here do, either, but the males at CLS have been given gym membership to the men's gym. So the women who do run and all do so very early in the morning when Ibri is asleep. And also, CLS has advised us to follow this country's rules of modesty and dress codes for males and females, so since women apparently run in abayas (the long full body covering that doesn't cover the face) and all, we were asked not to run in tights/shorts and to try to wear abayas as well. Many of the girls in the program want to try on abayas, and we have plans to buy a couple of them here, but we haven't had a chance yet. So I have something similar to an abaya but not quite an abaya, and I decided to run in that. Changed my mind later when the other two girls I was running with didn't have abayas on, though.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's hot in Oman.

Sup, folks.

I'm writing this from Ibri, Oman, where I've been since last Sunday-ish. (Surely, y'all remember me blogging about my parents' giving me their blessings to go to Oman?)

That stuff aside, OMAN IS HOT!!!!!!! Like, yesterday at around 7:30pm, it was 116 degrees F (46.7 C). Right now, at 4:30pm, it's 118 F (47.8 C) I didn't think it'd be this hot. Not sure why. I mean, I thought, was told, and expected Jordan to be crazy hot, but that was nothing. In Jordan, I'd need a jacket by evening time. June was much cooler than July, but July was still nothing like the mid-June here in Ibri. We landed in Muscat around 11pm, and IT WAS HOT AS HELL!

So this first little journal or whatever was to say that it's really, REALLY, really hot in Oman. When the wind blows, you feel like flames of hellfire are being thrown into your face. Nothing could've prepared me this. It's so hot that most shops are closed, especially around the afternoon time, and no one here walks outside. No one. Because the heat kills.

Also, at the Muscat airport, there were so many Pakistanis, many of them Pashtuns. There are other South Asians as well, and these immigrants can be spotted by their South Asian-style clothing. Men. I haven't been outside much, and women typically aren't seen outside here, but on the way home the other day in the bus, I saw a South Asian woman walking through the gates to her house.

It breaks my heart to see these people, not just the South Asian ones but also the Arabs/Omanis, who sit in their shops or outside their shops in this heat, trying miserably hard to make a living and most of them probably just barely surviving. It makes you hate this world, and hopefully we all already hate poverty and injustice. Why do people have to go through such hell to live? It's so unfair. And then for the immigrants, most of them are forced to leave their families and other loved ones behind to have jobs outside their homes and communities, and most likely to be discriminated against, ostracized, and otherwise hated and treated brutally - as we know happens in the Gulf with South Asian (and other?) migrant laborers.

I'll write in more detail later - about how we got here, what all happened in Muscat, what's been going on here so far, how this experience is different from my Jordan one, what Omani society is like as far as my little observations are concerned, and, of course, more things about HOW OMAN IS HOT AS HELL.

Peace be on you, crazy-ass world.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Disneyland Parade (video) - Anaheim, California, March 2014

I went to Disneyland in March, and I made a few videos. I haven't shared any pics yet on the blog but I really should. Disneyland claims it's the happiest place on earth, and, besides the amount of money you've to spend while there, I agree that it really is the happiest place on earth :) I had a great time!

The parade is basically when they have all the famous Disney characters (including all the princesses) walk and dance around a specific path in the park; they ride little carts or cars or automobiles or whatever that are also themed. It's such a joy to watch! And the music ... omg. Music, of course, is the best thing in the world, so when it's loud and happy happy, it makes a person grin! 

Also, some readers can probably guess that I don't believe in princesses and other such crap. But honestly, I think Disney movies are the best in terms of their plots, except for the damsel in distress mindset and women needing saving by knights in shining armor. So glad and relieved that Frozen isn't like that.

Anyway, enjoy the video!

Kashmala Playing on the Computer - "it's my graduation!"

This is my niece, Kashmala, playing on the computer when she was a month away from turning 3. Basically, what's going on is: "Gadulation" in Kashmala's (back then a little under 3 years old) language meant balloons, celebration, congratulations. We had just returned from a graduation ceremony and had taken balloons for the friend who was graduating, so Kashamala understood balloons = congratulations = graduation :) Isn't she adorable! God preserve her! In this video, she's playing a game on the computer, and it looks like a balloon pops up and that's why she says, "Gadulation!" 

Please say MashaAllah on her :) I tell her she's "the most important thing in my life," and she angrily responds: "I'm NOT A THING!" :) Hamdallah for feminism! The girl already knows the difference between being a thing or object and a human with value.

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...