Oman - Week 1
I have now been in Oman for over a week, and goodness gracious, I'm blown away. I knew that I was embarking on some sort of new adventure here, but I really didn't know what to expect. I've tried to write this post several times, but I never knew where to start because if I'm going to write about this amazing country, I want to do it justice. However, I've come to the conclusion that this simply isn't possible. I've experienced a saturated phenomenon, leaving me too starstruck to pull out my usual descriptors from my back pocket.
So, here's a brief taste of everything Omani from this first week.
I've been surrounded by mountains, good food, and great company, and that's an understatement. It's been both challenging and amazing, and not only am I getting to know Oman, but I'm also getting to know the other 6 students who came here with me (this is a lot all at once for a quiet introvert like me). But each day has had its own little adventures that make everything worthwhile.
One day, a couple of us left the Al Amana Centre ( our home for the week) to go to the beach, but instead we ended up hiking, clambering over sea rocks, and not even reaching our intended destination.
On the way back, we took a so-called shortcut back to the center, but little did we know that this was the trail our professor said would take an hour and a half. Once we realized how long it would take, it was too late to turn around, so we just laughed and tried to get back as soon as we could. The bare Omani mountains and lifeless pools made it feel like we were hiking through a canyon on Mars. I'm looking forward to countless other spontaneous excursions while I'm here, because obviously those are the best kind.
We've gone to the Suq, Grand Mosque, Grand Mall (and tried Omani McDonald's, which wasn't bad actually), museums, old forts, a park, and all sorts of other beautiful things.
One of my favorite nights was when we had a picnic on the beach with our professor and his family. We walked the beach and followed the sun's last rays for the night, played frisbee, found strange sea-creatures, and ate chicken salad and baba ganoush on picnic mats. Mmmm. I could do that every night.
Today, we all leave for Ibri, Oman, which is where we will attend an institute to learn Arabic for 6 weeks. Am I scared out of my wits? Yes. But hey, sometimes those I'm-terrified-but-excited-can't-turn-back-now moments are what we need most.
Stay tuned next time to find out if all those rumours about Arabic being hard are true.