Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chillin' When Your World is Upside-down

This morning I rolled over, turned off my alarm, and feel back asleep. George's alarm went off, and I still couldn't get up. I didn't want to do yoga, which I try to do every morning first thing. The most I could do was drag myself to shower and try to wake up.

In the kitchen, I started a fight with George over the brown sugar for his oatmeal. He was just in a morning daze like any normal person at 6:20 AM. His calmness annoyed me. Sad, I know, that his sleepy daze was more functional than my tense unpleasantness.

Then I realized (as I have in the past before) that you really can't afford to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and stay there when you're traveling. Whether you're just on a fast-paced vacation, or actually living in a place long, your day ends up being more of a catastrophe than when you are grumpy in your home country.

You just encounter way too many difficulties, too many small snags in your day, too many surprises, and too many forces that change your plans.

You gotta get happy. You gotta chill. I'm feeling better already.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Opps.. No Power Opps.. No Classes

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I glanced out the window at the workers constructing a house next door. All of a sudden a dump truck lifted its rear and wiped out the power lines.

One can only guess when that will get fixed. George connected a long power cord to the refridgerator, but my landlord is (as usual) no where to be found. Hopefully it won't get too toasty inside.

On the professional side of things, today is the unofficial fist day of class. Last Saturday was the official first day. But still today some classes have no students. This time is is not the students' fault. Last week Saturday the students where here, it was the college that was utterly unprepared. The teachers did not have their schedules. Not even all the teachers were even in Oman yet.

It was actually sort of endearing when one lone first year boy would show up, excited and naive to his first college class, to meet his new classmates--and there is no class to be found. It's got to be sort of a let down.

We shall see what happens today.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cherchez La Femme

This past week the story came out that a woman who worked at the college had been being seriously sexually harassed for the past several months by a colleague. She struggled through the Omani police system, the court system, and even the Ministry of Education. In the end, she was told to either drop it or she would be deported. She's gone now, which is unfortunate for us, but for the best for her. The man is still working at the college. There is talk that the case is not over, but all tangible evidence shows that he's not suffering any consequences for his behavior.

It's sad but true that here in this region (as in MANY others) of the world, women are the first to be blamed and the last to be supported. Despite ideals of protecting women, they are marginalized and used as the scapegoat in compromising situations.

There are people at the college who care. But if the ones with the power don't take action, there is little that can be done.

We have to do what we can on the ground. Women here have to support each other. If we don't stand up for each other, we can't expect anybody else to.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ramadan: Inconvinient, but Silent

I understand the religious significance and I respect anyone who celebrates this month and follows the traditional requirements of the fast. But for a non-Muslim who is trying to get stuff done, it can be sort of a drag.

In addition to the cafeteria not being open all month, which isn't so bad because the food is somewhat lethal to your digestive track anyways, all government and official offices are only open until 12 or 12:30. That includes banks, the police station, insurance offices, etc. Your time to get errands and chores done is seriously limited. And unless you drastically rearrange your sleep schedule, it's hard to even get to the store. For example, the grocery stores are closed from 6-9 for iftar, or the meal that breaks the fast after the sun goes down. They open again from 9-1 AM, which isn't my favorite time to shop.

Nevertheless, it's quiet. I enjoy taking walks or bike rides at sundown because the neighborhoods are so silent. Everything stops for the meal at the end of day. Everyone is there inside the house, together. It's a beautiful idea, but nonetheless, I enjoy being on the outside. It's as if the the strange silence during that time is just for me, and I'm in my own separate world for a bit.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Garbage Pick-Up

I've never seen garbage actually picked-up in our neighborhood, or any where else in our little town for that matter. Yet somehow it is emptied every day. At our previous apartment, which was closer to town, it was rarely, if ever, emptied. There was a dead cat festering by it for a while. It also wasn't uncommon to see small children hiding inside...rummaging? playing? Again, this ties into my previous post about the huge difference between the philosophies of children here and in the west.

However by our new place the heaps of garbage disappear everyday. I don't know who takes it or where it goes. That's one aspect of Oman that I know nothing about. Waste disposal is something of a mystery here.