Mixing Cultures: Getting it right and getting it wrong

a bit of mid day shade after a pizza lunch. that blue gate in the background is the house compound side gate leading to coffee shops and restaurants

a bit of mid day shade after a pizza lunch. that blue gate in the background is the house compound side gate leading to coffee shops and restaurants

Lets start with the rant. What is it with people going on holiday, experiencing other cultures, but  said cultures while there? We are in the Middle East and around these parts, less is more! That is, less skin, not less clothes. Today we got off the hotel grounds and while both driving and walking we saw shoulders, knees, THIGHS, and one lady was even wearing a virtually translucent vest top with her very short shorts.  I cringe when I think back to what I wore when escaping Saudi in Dubai years back. But it was unlike me, I have travelled a lot and always used to bear local customs in mind, I think perhaps in Dubai while I was swinging too far from the compulsory abaya in Saudi I was a bit bonkers (was I rebelling in my sleeveless tops etc?)  I would feel naked in a swim suit on a public beach here (others today obviously didn’t!). I would feel naked in a vest top. Whats the big deal with covering up your shoulders and knees? Theres plenty of time for baring skin by the hotel pool. Maxi dresses, and tee shirts, tunic tops and cropped trousers, thats ‘where it’s at’.

We witnessed all the bare skin while driving to the National Montessori Nursery for a visit to see if we’d like L to go there. Crikey, it made her ‘Montessori’ nursery in Reigate look a bit, ummm. weak. I was a little alarmed at the size of it as we approached but we were nothing but impressed once in. ALL of the teachers are properly Montessori trained, ALL of the staff are trained in Paediatric First Aid (something following http://www.milliestrust.com has made me aware of checking), they have rabbits and chickens loose in the play area, a pool, they don’t separate kids by age and 50% of the kids are local Omani while the other 50% are from all over the world. I can’t help but think that mixing up the cultures at that age has to be a brilliant experience that will help make more globally aware kids later on. We just need to figure out some transport logistics while we wait for my new driving licence, then will be grabbing L a spot there.

Our other ‘job’ for the day was to have a look at our new house / villa again and take some measurements before we go furniture shopping in Dubai at the weekend. Importantly, we also checked the temperature of the water in the pool that is officially a communal compound pool, but unofficially will be ours. I have taken pics to try to show the jammy proximity of pool to house, just look for our back wall by the stoned wall bit to the left on the photo. Super lucky. L was keen to jump in right then. We will be keeping some of the furniture in there, but a lot needs replacing. I’m looking forward to my sewing machine arriving with the rest of our gear that was shipped, and then going on a fabric hunt to prevent it ending up like some Ikea show home.

Other news: The washing is still in the machine and I am in need of vegetarian low / no carb food ideas as am now getting a bit nuts about nuts. Is humous OK?

on 'our' beach

on ‘our’ beach

this shows the bit of back wall peeking in other pic, plus back gate to access pool…. that isn't used by anyone else by the looks of it!

this shows the bit of back wall peeking in other pic, plus back gate to access pool…. that isn’t used by anyone else by the looks of it!

'our' pool. look to the left and see the stone brick wall then above that you will see the top of our garden back wall!

‘our’ pool. look to the left and see the stone brick wall then above that you will see the top of our garden back wall!

Another ‘New Family’

It’s always nice to meet people in the same boat hey? I don’t know what her name is but she has a little boy the same age as S and only arrived on Tuesday, and they are in the suite opposite ours (all 5 of them!)
We got talking at the ‘hotel-home’ baby pool where L and S and I had been splashing about for a bit after breakfast.

splashing in the ‘hotel-home’ baby pool

While splashing, I had been thinking ‘phew’. It really is with a big sense of relief  that I find us all here. I’m not saying I will not miss some lovely friends in Reigate, but things had been tough there at times what with money being tight and me being a very ‘late learner’ on the car front and M being away from home so much leaving me solo parenting a lot. We will have so much more ‘family time’ compared to what we had in the UK with M not travelling away so much and me having help at home freeing up more time for ‘family fun’, and financially its going to be easier too.

S splashing in her new Frugi hat

Taking the working-overseas- leap is something I would personally encourage lots of people to do. It can provide such amazing opportunities for everyone involved as well as re-balance bank accounts. If I had not gotten on the plane to Riyadh back in 2005 I would be without M, possibly without kids, and certainly still in ‘that debt’. Yes, for some it can mean leaving family (grandparents etc) at home, but the increase in quality of life for immediate family can be fantastic. Lots of countries are in need of extra people from all sorts of backgrounds, not just nurses, medics, teachers and plane fanatics 😉 I know someone lovely who headed out of the UK as a Fitness Instructor; she’s certainly in a very different ‘place’ now.

Anyway, we decided to have lunch by the pool today, and then S wanted sleep so we headed back to our rooms and while S lay in a  ‘monkey’ slumber (for some reason ‘monkey’ is the new ‘milky’) L and I covered e, f and g in her activity book.

The afternoon came with a good breeze, so once sleeping beauty awoke we headed out for a scoot along the seafront. A chatty Omani guy stopped to ask if they were twins, and then if we were Russian?! I know my Mum and Step-dad will chuckle at that. We were just past the Russian embassy back door, but still!  We continued until we got to the side wall of the British Embassy, which I decided we could all get to in the case of a national emergency (my imagination is ludicrous) and then headed back to meet M ‘hotel-home’ from work.

dates, coffee and factor 50

‘monkey’ slumber

scooting along the seafront making the most of a breeze

scooting along the seafront making the most of a breeze

the scooting Frugi twins (apparently)

dead-heading the marigolds, though not their excuse

There’s washing in the machine still, but smiles on our faces

We purged, tidied and de-cluttered, then stripped the beds, washed the sheets and packed. I’ve written the start of this blog numerous times and was planning on linking to this and that, but I now just need to make the first post and get cracking.

We arrived late Friday and although there is just 4 hours difference between Omani and UK times, the girls are still off-kilter with sleep and napping. So, we missed a Montessori nursery visit this morning for L, but I really enjoyed spending un-pressured time with her after the pool this afternoon with an alphabet sticker activity book while S napped (again). No worrying about making dinner or housework. I felt very lucky.

The newly cut Yale keys we left with friends don’t work, so the washing I had to leave in the machine sowe could go to the airport hotel is still in there. 

A wonderful balmy 26 deg C today, which made a lovely temp for shell collecting on the beach after breakfast with S having her first nap of the day on my back.

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And M, well he got ‘hotel-home’ before the girls were changed for bed. Happy.

An onslaught of photos will follow soon enough. Bare with me please, am warming up.