I am upset about…

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1. The heat. The mind numbing-brain-melting heat. The other day I thought about skipping lunch because the thought of walking from the office to my parked car was a little unbearable. I am possibly exaggerating a little but I think the fact that I CANT TOUCH THE WHEEL OF MY CAR during the day is a sure indicator of the sun overdoing it. I tried going to the beach. Eating three scoops of Baskin Robins. Yet I have come to conclusion that I would prefer to take a nap until October.
2. Two butt-ugly cats that my building has adopted. These skinny, vicious looking animals are lounging around all day long waiting for one of the neighbors to bring over a saucer of milk or grilled chicken breast for their satisfaction! My neighbors must be out of their minds because they have actually resorted to feeding these invaders! Now, now. I am all for “feeding homeless animals” but these two fiends look like something hell threw up. I have never been a fan of Omani cats. They are not lovable and they are not affectionate. Half the time they are missing an eye or a tail. They freak me out. Every time I walk past them I am under the impression that the tougher looking one will jolt up and sink his huge white fangs into my ankles. They growl. I am pretty sure they growl.

3. The neighbor who bullies us. We lived in the same apartment for about two years now. Since the bike was stolen we resorted to a second vehicle, which is a norm around here. When we moved in the building was half empty, so we took the liberty of spray painting our flat number on the relevant parking space to ensure that we always have a spot under the shade. Ha ha. This gesture was rudely ignored by every Dick (and Harry..or however the saying goes). So I learned to live with that and we only park in the shade on a first-come-first-served basis now. Only when we have both of our cars parked there a grumpy neighbor blocks Alex’s car off with his and then endures being woken up at 6:30am with a pissed off Alex to move his car the fuck awaaaaay. This petty man ensures us that the shaded parking space is for 1 member of the family only. This happened twice so far. We refuse to adhere to any “rules” this man made up, because 1. He is not the landlord and 2. The next time he does that I will call the police on his annoying ass.

4. Dunkin Donuts at the 18th November petrol station. Just this morning the thought of having a doughnut for breakfast helped me get out of bed. En route to work I stopped by the Oman Oil petrol station to pick up a few snacks and breakfast only to be cautioned “don’t buy those doughnuts madam, they are very old”. The salesman must have recently been elected employee of the month. So here is an idea Captain Duh, take them out of the little pink Dunkin Donuts fridge until new ones arrive, coz a strawberry/chocolate donut still looks good no matter how old it is. (Yes I did buy it, but no I didn’t eat it).

5. The fact that we have still not been able to find an Omani employee for my mom’s store. Hence the store remains closed for the public. Of course we have interviewed about a dozen girls who all promised to “Call back tomorrow” or “Start on Saturday at 9am sharp” but they were never heard from again. What is going on? What pisses me off the most if that when the tale is told everyone rolls their eyes and says “Oh well, Omanis! What do you expect?” Damn it that is not an excuse and no that is not an Omani thing to do!!!! That irritates me! Can someone please prove them wrong already? The timing seems to be perfect as everyone is yelling right left and center about a lack of career opportunities and attractive jobs in the market. Well here is one! Grab it!
I am done ranting. At least for today.

Happy Birthday to me!

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Last Friday, I turned 23. It was definitely a day I will never forget, for more reasons than I can elaborate on right now. I was feeling the love. The Facebook messages poured in by the dozens, international phone calls completely killed my telephone battery and my family and friends were there to celebrate with me. There was cake and there was champagne as early on as 10am. What touched me the most is how much of an effort everyone made. Have you ever received a gift and thought “wow this person knows me so well”? Everything I received that day was deeply personal. The highlight of the day however was definitely being surrounded by people who took the time to enjoy the day with me. It’s true that the best things in life are not things at all.
Alex wished me a happy birthday as early as 6am, to make it a point that he was indeed the very first one to do so. I asked for my very own hard drive for my birthday and he got me an enormous one (apparently it has the memory capacity of 5 laptops) because I really need to get all my pictures organized as they are all over the shop now. So this week I am really looking forward to spending a few good hours with my laptop to do a much needed spring clean of the 4,000+ pictures that piled up and when I am done with that I will treat myself to one of the fantastic Spa gift vouchers that I received as gifts 🙂 Oh, the good life.
On another note, I must absolutely rant about THE HEAT. It is unbearable. I live and work just a few meters from the beach so every day I am exposed to sticky, thick and hot air that blasts from all directions. I am sure the temperature must have reached 50 degrees one of these days. It doesn’t help that I need to spend an hour a day outside as per my work description- so it’s no surprise at all that I got a massive dizzy spell last week and almost hit the ground. Seriously, it’s hot. Worse still- it will stay like that until September. Due to these treacherous conditions, the hubby now only works till 1pm- that’s right, he is home for the good part of the day. Whilst I am happy for him I cannot help but succumb to outrageous jealousy over his “long hours”.
What career does one pursue if one enjoys the refreshing current of the AC and the occasional cooling cocktail during the day (oh and a dip in the pool would also be an added benefit)?

The Boss of "Not Fun"

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Those of you who know me personally or read this blog often know that I have a little brother who is just 7 years old. We have a 15 year difference between us which of course makes me the adult in this relationship-right? Consequently the latter also gives me the right to dictate, oppress and generally boss him around. Kids are supposed to behave. Adults are supposed to worry, obsess and calculate every possible risk that surrounds the child.
I firmly believe that my brother is utterly spoiled. He is not a brat by any means, he just always gets his way. He even has a shirt that says ‘If mommy said no, ask daddy”. Did I make my point? The kid owns an IPad for God’s sake! Did I make my point now?
Now, I try to spend as much time as possible with him although my work schedule tends to get in the way of this. We go to the cinema, he sleeps over and we even take his dog to the beach sometimes (ok, we did that once, but we will do it again!). I like to think that we generally have fun! I even let him eat ice cream for dinner. I am a fun sister.

He begs to differ. It just so happened that our mom left on a business trip yesterday and she will be away for the next ten days! I took a stand, pointed my finger at that child and said “Listen Ilya, while mom is gone, I am the boss around here”. To which he swiftly replied ” Ya…the boss of NOT FUN”. I was speechless I tell you. Am I really the boss of not fun? Ok, so maybe I did give him a hard time about having pancakes with jam for dinner, and ya I never let him do back flips in the pool and he is certainly not allowed to cycle without a helmet- but that just makes me a sensible adult, right?
I may be just a little obsessive compulsive but in the long run he will benefit from it. I just don’t want him to grow up thinking that his sister is a bore…because I can be all sorts of fun!
A few months back the husband and I witnessed a scene that is forever burnt into my brain. We were standing at the counter of Oman Dive Center and a little baby who could not be more than 10 months old was crawling half naked on the floor behind the counter. This kid was everywhere. (She?) got hold of diving equipment, climbed into baskets, ate things off the floor and eventually crawled out of the reception area…right towards the pool. No one was watching this kid. She kept on crawling until she was at the very edge of the pool and that’s when I could not take it any longer, I ran to her, picked her up and brought her back to the lady who I assumed was responsible for her. The woman thanked me  and calmly said “Don’t worry she almost always stops when she crawls to the edge of the pool”. Seriously. I was petrified. The husband on the other hand applauded the fact that the child is growing up so freely and can explore and learn on her own and is not “wrapped in an overprotective bubble”. Seriously? I cannot emphasize the extent to which I would freak out if our future kids ever get near a pool without proper swimming lessons or a life guard on watch.  The fact that Alex applauds Tarzan-like upbringing worries me somewhat.
It also makes me quite certain that when we have kids I will have pictures similar to these to share:

Will I soon be promoted to Mayor of No Fun Land?

On second thought…

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You say there is nothing to do in Muscat? I say boo-yaaa

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I am sick, sick, sick of people whining about the lack of entertainment in Muscat. And when I am not sick I am tired. I am sick and tired of the moans, groans, sights, blank expressions and of the whimpering. I would like to argue that the problem does not lie in the lack of activities but rather in the poor coverage and communication of these events to the general public. Look around you, open a newspaper, and check the Events section on Facebook or even call a friend! Every week there are concerts, shows, exhibitions, workshops, garage sales, classes and even educational wine evenings taking place!
I’ve had a culturally diverse couple of weeks. Let me rephrase that, I have been surviving on sugar sticks and red bull the entire month. I have been trotting around town, adoring paintings worth a fortune and even broadening my understanding of Baroque music.
It all started with my eagerness to visit the International Book Fair which was held in the Exhibition Center at the end of February. Rumor has it, we even got on National Television which showed myself, Alex and Cynthia scouting through volumes of Arabic literature in search for transcripts that looked familiar. Since the title of the fair raised my expectations to finding “International” books I was somewhat disappointed at the limited availability of English merchandise. I have nevertheless purchased a very cool book about dinosaurs (for my brother of course), a few Math/French Grade 2 workbooks (also for the little pest) and even treated myself to yet another Paulo Coelho masterpiece which I am enjoying very much. I found their merchandizing to be questionable after I located a “Cocktails 101” guide next to “Nursery Rhymes for Toddles”. But hey maybe that’s just me…
In the first week of March, the Russian Embassy in Oman organized a reception dedicated to International Women’s Day and invited members of the Russian community for a celebration. On this occasion Mrs. Edemskaya (wife to Ambassodor) has addressed her audience with best wishes of prosperity, peace and health. Coincidently this week also saw the commencement of “Maslenitsa” a traditional Russian holiday throughout which bliny (Russian pancakes) are made and offered to family and guests. Keeping in line with tradition the Embassy served Russian pancakes in abundance with a side of sour cream, jam and honey. Mrs. Pavlovna has stressed the importance of keeping native traditions and holidays alive far from home within the fast growing Russian community in Oman.
Just a few days later I found myself in a 45 minute queue to witness the wonder that is Jared Leto. Being the fidgety hyperactive ball of restlessness  anxious person that I am, I managed to lose our tickets while waiting in line- thank god they were later returned to us by a very kind woman. Overall, I was generally impressed by magnitude of the event and the quality of the music and it turned out to be a good night (3 buckets of beer later). What was missing nevertheless, is the vibe and the drive you are notoriously supposed to experience at a rock concert- and for that I blame the crowd of 14 year olds who were yelling “Get off the stage, bring Snoop Dog instead”. I mean seriously, bedtime anyone?
On the 12th of March I had the honor of attending the inauguration of “‘Drip, Spill, Spray, and a Touch of Nostalgia’” by Anna Dudchenko. Held at The Hyatt, it was a beautiful event that saw the turnout of a very dedicated crowd. Anna rightfully mentioned that some of the guests have been turning up to every single one of her exhibitions since she first began showcasing her work over 7 years ago. The paintings were breathtaking, vibrant and hypnotizing, my personal favorites were the painting of the winter landscapes- I am guessing nostalgia kicked in.

And then… yesterday evening Mom invited me to join her at the Al Bustan for an Austrian concert. I called up my loyal partner in crime Cynt (her blog is here) and we dressed up in evening dresses and the whole deal. Now, I am not usually a fan of classical/orchestra/flute but I like to venture into the unknown every now and again. The troop was very impressive and the music- well unlike anything I have ever heard before! Ok, and maybe we did run down to the café for a glass (or 5) of wine at the interval- but we profoundly appreciated the opportunity to enrich our cultural spectrum during the concert. Classy event of the year? Tick.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is that there really is a lot going on in the capital. You just have to pick your battles. Do not fret, I will help you along the way and hopefully my next post will highlight upcoming events instead of bringing to your attention those that have already passed.

♥ I love you blah blah hearts and flowers yadda yadda cupid etc ♥

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Although we are still in abundant disbelief to the theft of our Honda and are suffering an identity crisis of immense magnitude- we have each other this Valentine’s Day and it’s all that counts. I have mixed feelings towards Valentine’s Day and although I always pretend not to celebrate it, I end up making a big deal out of it every year.

This is the forth Valentine’s Day we are spending together as a couple and our second one in marriage. We have what I like to call “The love that moves the sun and other stars”. We have been through more challenges and fights than I can dare to count, moved mountains and crossed oceans (quite literally) to get to where are now. In the meantime we are constantly taking deep breaths and finding compromises. Being the proud and strong headed individuals that we are- agreeing on the smallest things is a daily challenge. Against all odds the bigger picture is turning out “picture-perfect” and I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have him as my husband.

So thank you for the small things like making my coffee this morning, taking me out for sushi although you can’t stand the sight of it, for understanding why I need 6 pairs of identical black shoes, for taking the cat to the vet when I was pre-occupied with work, for being patient with me after I come back cranky from a 12 hour shift, for tip toeing around me when you need to wake up at 6 am, for making my brother pancakes when he sleeps over, for helping me find and then figure out the remote control, for watching “Ghost Whisperer” with me and for acknowledging my love for “Lays Salt and Vinegar Chips” and never forgetting to buy them.
And thank you for the universal things that come naturally to you like the respect you show to me and my family, the responsibility that you carry on your shoulders daily, for the eagerness to turn our house into a home and start a family, for having a solid vision of what the future must hold for us, for following your dreams and entwining them with mine, for always putting our family first, for not being afraid of challenges, for reassuring me in times of uncertainty and for tolerating my frequent emotional outbreaks.

I love you and I am so thankful for having you in my life.

Huge support and strange coincidences

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First of all I would like to express my gratitude to Muscat Mutterings and English Girl in Oman for re-posting news about our stolen Honda. They have picked up the story exceptionally fast and hopefully with their help a lot more people will become aware of this barbarous deed.
Being the firm believer in Social Media that I am, I have created a group on Facebook called “Help Find The Stolen Honda XR 650”, please feel free to join, support and spread the word.
Meanwhile, Muscat Daily is working on a story to shade some light unto this matter for the public to nibble on sometime this week. We are ever so grateful for their support.
This morning Alex went to the police station yet again and they have claimed that they will be actively searching for the vehicle. We are waiting to receive a copy of the report that they filed so that we can arrange all our insurance documentation.
Here is some food for thought…today morning a colleague showed me this site:
It features a stolen bike which to the untrained eye will appear to be our Honda. But since I know my bikes, I spotted that it was a different model. However, they are both off-road bikes of similar capacities. From what I understood this bike was stolen earlier this year from Mawaleh- why the sudden interest in motocross bikes? Does this only seem strange to me? It’s too much of a coincidence. See below:
The bike stolen in Mawaleh earlier this year.
Our Honda XR 650 L
Let’s play spot the differences.

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