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Archive for the ‘Ask Me’ Category

Many of you have been sending me e-mails asking about acquiring the Omani citizenship. So, here you go:

ROYAL DECREE NO. (3/83) LAW ON THE ORGANIZATION OF THE OMANI NATIONALITY

ARTICLE (1): is considered legally an Omani who

1- was born in Oman or outside with an Omani father.
2- was born in Oman or outside with an Omani mother, but an unknown father or a father who lost his Omani nationality.
3- was born in Oman with unknown parents.
4- was born in Oman and made it his home in the condition that the father was born in Oman with a lost nationality.

ARTICLE (2): a foreigner can request an Omani citizenship if the following conditions apply

1- An adult who is familiar with the Arabic language (reading and writing)
2- Before submitting a request, the person should have resided in Oman for a continuous 20 years or 10 years if married to an Omani woman. Note that his stay is not considered continuous if he leaves Oman for over two months in any given year.
3- Must be of good background, free of any disabilities, and has not been convicted of any crime.
4- Must have a legitimate means of earning a living that is sufficient to meet the needs of their dependents.

5- Apply for the citizenship according to the form prepared by the Ministry of Interior, which should state your willingness to renounce your nationality of origin and that your country’s law allows it. In the case that the Ministry accepts the request, the person must stand before the courts and state the following oath:

“I swear by Almighty God to be loyal to the Sultanate of Oman and to respect the laws, costumes, traditions, and be a good citizen as God is my witness”

ARTICLE (3): It is permissible under the exception and a special royal decree granting the Omani citizenship to foreigners without compliance to the requirements refereed in Article (2) of this law.

ARTICLE (4): It is permissible for the foreign wife of a foreign husband, who has acquired the Omani citizenship, to submit a request to obtain the Omani citizenship after 5 years of her stay in Oman. Minor children can obtain the Omani citizenship according to their father that they may in the course of the year following the age of adulthood request to renounce the Omani citizenship, while adult children may request the Omani citizenship in accordance with the terms of naturalization referred to in Article (2) of this law.

ARTICLE (5): it is permissible for a foreign wife of an Omani national to request the Omani citizenship provided that she had been married and living with him in Oman for at least five years.

ARTICLE (6): citizenship is granted individually through a Royal Decree. The citizenship application may be denied even if the applicant has fulfilled all requirements, without any given reason.

Articles (7) through (19) are kind of general stuff, so I will not list them here.

Hope this helps!

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Lets say you decided to take your children to Al Qurum park, Al Riyam park, or the beach playground and were faced with the following:

You spot three teenage boys, who are definitely too old to be in the playground, approaching your zone because they just “have” to play in the swings, slide down the slippery slide, or struggle to hang on the monkey bars with your kids. Never forget the stares and the giggling followed by the tossing of a few inappropriate words (with limited English capabilities).

At this stage, you (expat mom) feel very uncomfortable, but try to ignore them. But teenage boys with lots of hormones just need that extra excitement, which is when you will start hearing the “SNAP”…giggle…giggle.. “SNAP”… more giggle… giggle… and… “We ..You… Picture”… giggle .. giggle..

Well, sorry moms. I know you are wondering “WHY!?” in agony thinking that there is a logical reason for this behavior beyond the regular “sexual frustration”, but unfortunately, it is just that! .. ohh, seeing white flesh (no matter how minimal) adds to that excitement!.. Rare is always extra special!

But never give up! As, I, Reality, have a solution that will end your misery! It is simple, easy, and available to all expat moms!

Put on a serious face.. (just like this .. 0_0! .. wide eyes and pissed) and look directly at them. Take out your cell phone.. (slowly for dramatic effects) and

SNAP SNAP … (make sure your phone is not on silence) make a phone call.. and utter the word .. POLICE.. (be loud and confident.. just like Denzel Washington, and you can say pawlece too for extra special effects) ….

The result?! … the dishdasha held up to the knees and skinny legs flying everywhere… “RUN RUN”…

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Annoying Foreigners

Now, I would love to say that you guys are just perfect expats in Oman for the sake of looking good, but that would be a lie. Nevertheless, it took me a while to think of the most annoying thing Omanis, in general, find in foreigners.

So, when it came down to it, I had to think hard.

I mean, yes, to many of us it is annoying to see foreigners half naked in the beaches, or foreigners showing a lot of affection to their significant others in public. Even those with tattoos (crosses, satanic tattoos, or just tattoos) showing on their arms and backs are many times annoying. Some Omani women become annoyed when they see their Omani guys hanging out with gorgeous female foreigners. Yes, annoyed though some are jealous too.

But many don’t care about any of the above.. We are all glad that you guys are here and spending money!

So, when do you see all Omanis agree and grunt at all foreigners? It is when foreigners are earning more money than their equal Omani co-workers solely based on them being foreigners. I remember someone was telling me about his experience. This Omani guy had 20 years of experience in some field; he had a PhD from one of the best Universities in the world. He knew more people and visited so many places in his field that you would lose counting. He was hired by the government, a good job nevertheless and with huge responsibilities. However, this government agency hired a couple of foreigners with inferior experiences and qualifications, but offered them three times more income!

So, foreigners are annoying in Oman when the country and companies make them seem better than the hard working Omani.

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In general, an arranged marriage in Oman (mostly towns around Muscat) is not as bad as it sounds. When the guy proposes to a girl (whether it’s because he saw her and liked her, or his female relatives suggested her to him), he gets to see her before the engagement. They see each other and talk. Many end up texting or calling each other.

During this time (which can take a week or months), both of them have the opportunity to decide whether they want to be together or not. However, there are two types of arranged marriages. One is a fake-arranged marriage, and the other is, well, an arranged marriage. The fake one is where the two have a secret relationship, but keep their parents out of it. This way the father will “always” be proud that he married his daughter off in a pure arranged marriage!

Think of it like this: in the West, some of you have moms and dads that like to introduce suitable partners (like match-making). Some of you hate it, and others don’t mind it! It’s the same idea, but we have protocol to follow or else….gossip!

I think these two types of arranged marriages are acceptable, and they usually are successful. However, I do not think it is “suitable” anymore to have a pure arranged marriage where the two never see or talk to each other until their wedding night. I know many girls that struggle, and I think that it has a lesser success rate. This type of arranged marriages is mostly common in Northern and Southern parts of Oman

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Dating scenes in Oman

Many wonder about the dating scenes in Oman between our younger generation. Well, about 60% of the dating happens in Universities and Colleges! Many of the students that attend these colleges come from conservative families. However, in any case, there is a pattern that you will notice happening on the dating scene.

Guys:

Some guys come to the college and have never seen uncovered girls (not wearing face cover, or the head scarf). Being sexually suppressed, they start to spot a potential victim. The whole thing begins with them trying to be nice and funny (sometimes the scene is just sad! But some girls still manage to giggle!). After they get the signs of OKAY, which are usually indicated through smiles and giggles, they start by asking help in assignments. Then, the guy starts telling the girl that she is different the rest and that he feels sooooooo comfortable around her…. Etc (you get the point).

Girls:

Well, I must say that girl’s transformation is the most predictable of all. A girl comes to college and finds many boys that she is not used to seeing. Coming from a conservative family, she “rejects” the idea of even talking to a guy. She gives her “stares” of disapproval and gossips with her “similar mentality” friends about those “sluts” that talk with guys. Now, of course these girls would brag about how they are better than those “sluts” and that they are the “good apples” that are left. After the first month, these girls will find that they cannot help but smile whenever guys try to be funny.

Then, the transformation begins… you start seeing signs of make up on their faces. The head scarf becomes smaller (not bellow the chest). The abaya’s become tighter. After another month, the head scarf becomes loose and the silky (straightened) hair starts to show. All of this includes the smiles and giggles they have been sending towards the guys. Then, girls starts having that special someone in their lives that they talk to every night. Ohh, and yes, these are the girls that start with wearing clothes under their abayas and end up with undergarments under it only!

So here is the dating scene:

In a college, the girl and the boy look for a place that they “think” is invisible to everyone else. So, they might chose the library and go behind the book shelves. If the library is quite, you will be able to hear the giggles. Otherwise, that “invisible” place in not so… invisible. The guy might start touching the girl on her hand, then as the relationship advances, the more touching occurs. Then, all signs of compassion and love between the two appear in public. She leans on him, puts her arms around him.. etc. The difference is, it is not always love and compassion. Guys in this country like to brag about “how many” girls they have. They usually have more than one!

Then, as any relationship, things start to advance. Girls start attending college even when they don’t have classes (parents think they are studying very hard.. well.. they are working hard on something!). However, they are picked up from college by their guys. God knows where they go, but I’m guessing they just stay in the car and the guy gets some action. Once they are done, they guy drops the girl back at school.

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Many people look at the extent of shopping that happens in Ramadhan and wonder.. What do these people eat!?

First, I will have to explain the regular food we eat in a regular month:

Here, in a typical Omani family house, the day starts out with a cup of milk and Omani bread. (Omani bread is very thin and you dip it in the milk before you eat it). The day goes on and people might drink coffee at work and housewives might eat some fruits. In the afternoon, the typical lunch is rice with meat and some salads.. (Don’t forget the watermelon)! Then, people don’t eat until its dinner, which consists of either some soup or a western/eastern dish. Whichever it is, it’s just either one or two smaller dishes.

On Ramadhan, we fast, but in reality we eat more! Here is my average day in Ramadhan:

The day starts out with sohoor (breakfast before sunrise). Now, to get the maximum food in your stomach that would digest slowly you would have to eat rice and yogurt. Some people eat rice and meat! But which ever… it is a heavy meal –Of course its a bad idea to sleep right after that, but we need to reserve energy! – Then, we wake up late and go to work. Since we only work for about five to six hours a day –its actually less, remember we are tired and can’t concentrate much– we get home early. At 2pm, I would go into the kitchen to help out with the cooking –actually, I’m usually hungry and want to make sure that what I’m in the mood for will be served! – Today I made some sweets (including crème caramell of course!!).

At the Iftaar table (sunset breakfast), the whole family would gather around the food and stare at the watch. We all want the guy in Oman tv to stop reciting the Quran and call for prayer! The food consists of samboosa, 3 kinds of pastries, about 3 or 4 kinds of sweets, dates, fruits, juice, water, more juice..etc. Once the Imam calls for prayer I start grabbing everything I see in front of me: drinking a bit of juice, then a samboosa, then a pastry, then some sweets.. all at once and before the call for prayer is over! Then, barely able to stand up, I go to pray with a full stomach. After prayer, we gather at the table again. This time, more food starts to come out. We would have the soup of the day along with more samboosa and pastries. We eat more and more, till our bellies hurt. Then, we take some rest. The men go to prayer (its about 8:15pm by now), and us women clean and try not to eat more. Once everyone is back, we are back to serving dinner. It would be about 10:30 to 11pm. The regular lunch that would be served in a regular month would be served as dinner. So we eat more.. take some zantac or tums, and eat more. Stuffing more food in your stomach than what you can handle, but all you think about is how hungry you will be the next day if you don’t!

Is the picture clear now!

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The Qur’an states that a man can marry up to four wives. There are many restrictions and conditions for polygamy in Islam. However, here I will talk about polygamy that has been taken out of its religious context into –my favorite of all – the cultural context. Yes, there is a difference.

Polygamy in Oman is, well, acceptable by most men and rejected by most women. You might find the practice common to some families and rejected by others. Personally, I would love it if it were illegal. But –and that’s a big but – you cannot ask to change God’s laws. So, how do we women manage to work around that? Well, women really don’t, or better.. they can’t other than ask for divorce. So, let me tell you what happens in this culture.

Many men, here, believe that it is their religious right to marry more than one despite their wives feelings. What some do –many of them- is marry a second wife in secret. The whole thing goes on for months or even years. Some men dare to take money from their first wives to pay the expenses to marry the second one. Build a new house under their names, dowry, wedding expenses.. etc. Once the scandal is out, then the woman either tries to divorce the husband or lives with him for her kids’ sake.

Why do men marry more than one? Well… because they want to. Some of the excuses that you might hear is… “There are too many unmarried women in the country and we just want to do a good deed”, or “I felt sorry for the girl, she was unmarried”, or “just because –the only honest one”. So, how do first wives feel…. Hurt, stabbed in the back, regret, and all other emotions that go in your head once you find out that someone cheated on you!

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