Are we there yet?

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Pregnancy- day two hundred seventy freakin’ three. No seriously. I am still pregnant.

although I am not overdue (yet…) statistics do show that most first time mothers give birth a week or two before their due date, the same darn statistics that promised me that only 5% of women deliver on the actual due date that has been forecast.

Yet, here I am. Excited, nervous and oh-so-sick of waiting. (Not to mention bloated, uncomfortable, tired, swollen…just peachy basically…)

I read somewhere that the most common craving that pregnant women have is not to be pregnant. That might seem a little over the top but trust me 9 months into it even the most “sunshine-up-their-butts” mothers start to feel like this just can’t end soon enough. The exhaustion you feel is both mental and physical, your mind is constantly replaying possibilities of “what could go wrong in labor” and your body aches from your toes to the ends of your hair.

I also miss the little things. Like seeing my feet when I look down, fitting into my clothes and shoes or simply getting out of bed without having to roll to the side and readjust the 4 pillows that are prompting my back. Ugh.

The general opinion here (amongst husband and family) is that I still have time and the baby will come out when she needs to and when she decides. But wait, I though I was the boss of this baby- why can’t she come out when I want her to? I pick now. Or at least today. Please?

I have friends calling me every single day asking me if she is here yet or every time I call one of them they thing it’s only because I am in labor…nope…still pregnant…just wanted to say hello. The conversation I have with My Cynthia everyday is a straight replay out of Shrek ” Are we there yet? ” ….” No not yet”….”What about now”….”Still not”….It’s rediculous.

I apologize if you were expecting a touchy-feely post about how prepared and excited we are to welcome our daughter any day now and instead you got stuck reading the rantings of a sick-and-oh-so-tired pregnant woman. Believe you me, we are ready. The bed is made, the hospital bags packed, the baby bottles sterilized and even the video camera is charged. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands…just waiting for the grand entrance now.

I shall keep you posted.

Granny’s Pie- Russian Cuisine in Muscat!

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A few days ago Granny’s Pie opened in Muscat- the first of it’s kind serving homemade Russian cuisine!

I haven’t tried their dishes yet, so do expect a review to follow shortly! They have a Facebook page and gained 200 likes in just 3 days, which I think is incredible!!! Also on their page you can find menus, pictures of their chefs and images of the food that they serve. If you have never tried Russian food before I can assure you that it’s very mild so go ahead, be brave and give them a visit!

The outlet is situated at Qurum Park area (just close to Horse Riding Centre ) on the food court of New Family entertainment Centre called “Fun Zone”. Openning times are between 9am and midnight everyday. In a few days time Granny’s Pie will begin to deliver to homes and offices- stay tuned!

For more information you can call: 989 55 094 or 988 89 233

Yey for more diverse food outlets opening up in Muscat!!!

Russian Community in Oman

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“You can take the idiot out of the village but you can’t take the village out of the idiot” or as this saying applies to me currently “You can take me out of PR but you can’t take PR out of me”.

I’ve been on maternity leave for about 10 days now and that was plenty of time for me to get myself involved in a massive project – an e-newsletter for the Russian Community in Oman. There are over 200 Russian and Russian speaking people here in Oman and yet there isn’t a single blog, Facebook page or website that successfully unites all these people and allows them to communicate with each other. Sure, a lot of them know each other already but plenty of new people arrive all the time!

Also I saw a demand in forming a communication path that would allow these people to ask questions, advertise businesses, publish vacancies, look for baby sitters, exchange books and DVDs- in their own language! In other countries, this initiative is typically carried out by the embassy, most even go as far as to host a “club” or hold meetings to encourage communications between the community members. Unfortunately the Russian Embassy in Oman has not taken on any similar challenges yet (at least not without strong encouragement of volunteers) but maybe such projects will encourage them in the future.

The e-newsletter is of a very basic Word format at the moment and it gets sent out to a database of the Russian Community which I have independently put together overtime. Once a week the 3-4 page document containing the latest news relevant to the community gets sent to those on the database. I am hoping the number of contacts I have will grow overtime especially now that people have begun to email me asking to be added to the list of receivers.

Generally the feedback I have received has been very positive, a lot of people are saying its a very good idea and are inspiring me to continue with it. In time I am hoping I will not be the only one involved in this, I encourage active participation not just in the form of submitting advertisements and news but in writing articles or organizing events that the whole community can participate in.

If you wish to receive this newsletter (in Russian!) please email ruscomoman@gmail.com and I will gladly add you to the address book, likewise if you are selling/advertising/looking for a job/have a vacancy/require a translator/selling your car, please also e-mail me and I will add your news to the newsletter!

Wish me luck!

My cupcake

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No, that isn’t a silly pet name I have for my husband. It’s an actual place. A new, unspoiled and undiscovered place located in Qurum. As the name might suggest- it’s a place of cupcakes.

One particularly hectic evening Is This Serious and I decided to meet for coffee (ahem, I mean herbal tea…) and she suggested a cupcake place she has recently been to. Although sceptical, there was no way I was going to resist a mouthful of chocolate goodness over a heartfelt conversation.

I was about to call her and tell that I got lost when I spotted her car parked next to a very ordinary looking cafe located in a half empty “future” shopping mall. Hmm. Then I spotted the baby onesie hanging on the cafe’s door with a little cupcake illustrated at the front. Awww. Walking in I realized the entire inventory of the store is built upon life block of cupcake origins, the few shelves present there were  under “everything cupcake” from lip balms to cups with illustrations.

It’s a very girly place. My Cupcake is certainly not the venue for a job interview or romantic rendezvous, it’s the kind of place you would want to take your BFF to if her cat got run over by a car or if your mom’s favourite perfume scent got discontinued by the producer. Ok, perhaps celebrations would also be appropriate and oh yes! play dates! The cafe has the cutest set of pink kiddie tables and chairs. Tea party venue. Bring your favourite bear.

Oh and the actual cupcakes? Not bad at all! I was immensely hungry so I had the Snickers cake but Is This Serious snacked on a Velvet Cupcake and that was delicious too! I took a few snaps but they do not do the place any justice so be sure to go and check it out yourselves. It’s located right in front of Qurum Park in the new mall that they are working on now! (Al Qurum Gardens Centre)

“Elka” or New Year for the little ones

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In Russia New Year’s celebrations are huge. So huge that people receive an official week or even longer- as paid leave. The entire country goes into a carnival -like celebration starting from the 27th December and slowly recovers later. There are home cooked meals, fireworks, natural pine tress, happy children and Santa or as Russians call him  “Ded Moroz” (literally translated this means Grandpa Frost”). New Year for Russians is now what Christmas has become for the rest of the world (in the light commercial, over-indulgence sense of the festivity). ]

It would be a major understatement to say that New Year’s is celebrated in Oman “lightly”. The children especially miss out on hanging up paper snowflakes, dressing up, joining celebrations and meeting Ded Moroz. Over the last few years the Russian community in Muscat has taken to organizing a special celebration for the children, a kind of show, where all the characters Russian kids know and love come to live in a magical performance. This is organized entirely on volunteer basis, there aren’t even sponsors or professional actors. The last 5 or so shows were the brain child of my mother, she put time and efforts into getting little kids and their parents involved in this festival of fun. Costumes are put together from scratch, the plays are “googled” and edited, lines are learned and the performance comes together on the grounds of the Russian Consulate of Oman just a week before New Years. I’ve attended the last two shows (and participated) and the number of people who how up every year is truly staggering. The children sit patiently, mouths open wide in awe as Santa emerges followed loyally by his army of fictional characters. Usually the kiddies get to perform, sign a song or recipe a poem and in exchange they receive a present from Santa. It’s always so much fun.

It’s happening again this year! If you are Russian or Russian speaking you are welcome to pass by the Russian Embassy (located near The Hyatt) this Friday, 23rd December at 11am sharp. If you have kids who wish to see the performance please bring a present with you to put into Santa’s “bag of gifts” and label the present with the child’s name. There is absolutely no entrance fee or age restrictions!

Here are some photos from last year’s show! (Guess where I am?)

Maternity Leave

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With just a few weeks away from my due date I am finally going on maternity leave as of Christmas. Although I do still have some time and could theoretically work for a little while longer it as just proved too darn exhausting. Thinking the last 35 weeks over, I would say I had a generally easy pregnancy and I am in really good physical shape…I could easily go on working for another 2-3 weeks if it wasn’t for the simple fact that my ribs hurt. Yes ribs. ” What do ribs have to do with babies or going to work” you are probably wondering. Well, they have absolutely everything to do with not allowing you to be comfortable in a simple position like sitting on an office chair or the sofa. Because there is a little foot in your rib. It makes me feel as though this baby has bones of steel. The ribs on the right side of my body feel like they are on FIRE. The only way I can tolerate it is if I am standing up or lying down, basically anything that keeps my back straight.

So maternity leave. Here I come. As per the Omani Labour Law, women are entitled to 50 days pre and post maternity leave on full salary. That is incredibly little in comparison to other countries (up to 14 months in Germany, 16 weeks in France, 18 weeks in Russia, 22 weeks in Italy) but beggars can’t be chooser now can they? Combined with other pending leaves I have pending in total I am eligible to be away for about three months.

When I think it over in my head the first though that occurs is “Wow, three months! What am I going to do with all that time???” and then…I remember that every single moment of my day will be entirely wrapped around this bundle of joy that is about to arrive. I doubt I will be bored.

Also because life has the tendency to work out all by itself  these days, I was given a fantastic opportunity to come back to work part-time after I have the baby. Just 4 hours a day. You see, I work in the hospitality industry which sometimes calls for 10-14 hour working days, elaborate stress and continuous dedication. I am utterly immersed in this job and would be heart-broken if I had to leave the industry or even the position. I just found what I love to do. (The husband?…No he is not a big fan of my job)

When the offer to move departments and consequently move to a 4 hour working day came in, I accepted it immediately. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, I believe it would be better for my child if I was a well-rounded person in all aspects and if I had a life outside of changing diapers and wiping spit-up the whole day. (An opinion my husband also feels strongly about). So come March back to work I will be, into a brand new department with new challenges and responsibilities.

Up till then I will have to grow accustomed to my most challenging and exciting job yet…beeing a mommy.

Our maternity pictures

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A  few weeks ago we strolled into Qurum Park fiercely equipped with outfits, pink helium balloons, a pair of baby shoes and bags of curiosity. We were ready for our maternity photoshoot. Our photographer Aseya took the lead and quickly showed us the spot where we would start shooting. It was about 3pm, a cool breeze swept through the trees and the warm November sun was just right. There wasn’t a single moment of hesitation or awkwardness, we went straight into it. It’s amazing how simple movements like getting up off the grass can take on a whole new level of difficulty when you are almost 8 months pregnant. Nevertheless it was all good fun and Aseya found a lot of locations that exerted greenery, freshness and raw nature. She advised us on the poses to take and clearly had a vision of where it was all going. We wrapped the session in just under two hours and here are the results:

We are now very proud owners of 26 images that perfectly documented this special time in our lives and captured the moment that sees us transitioning from becoming a couple to become parents to a little girl. We are thrilled.

If you are planning to document your pregnancy with the help of a professional photographer here in Muscat then I would highly recommend Anastaseya Photography. 

When going in for your session make sure you:

  • Plan your outfits in advance. Matching? Sexy? In harmony with the landscape? Think about this in advance.
  • Bring props (baby items, flowers, balloons, ultrasound scans, soft toys…etc)
  • Don’t forget to accessorize (hats, glasses, necklaces, scarves…)
  • Bring a snack and beverages (my snickers bar literally saved my life)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want (but trust your photographer’s advice too…)
  • Don’t be fussy (it will show in pictures…)
  • Try not to have your session too late (I didn’t want mine during the 9th month to avoid looking bloated and tired)
  • Engage your partner and your kids in the pictures (it’s as much of a big deal for them as it is for you!)

Good luck and hope you enjoyed the photos!

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