Part 1: Welcome to Oman 2006!
I remember the first time I flew into Oman, September 2006! As we were coming into land I looked out the window – sand and desert everywhere. My first thought was, OMG, what am I doing?” I had already signed a one-year teaching contract. Too late to turn back!
I walked through the gates into the Arrival area. There in front of me crowded around the entrance was a sea of white dishdashas and an assortment of caps and turbans. Welcome to Oman!
I spotted a placard with my name on it. I walked out of the airport with the driver. The heat struck me at once. I asked the driver what the temperature was. Officially, 49° Celcius; unofficially, about 52°. Yikes!! I come from New Zealand where 26 is a hot summers day! You guessed it - now the words in my head were becoming louder and more urgent - WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
That was 11 years ago and I’ve never looked back. The country, with it’s dramatic beauty, personal safety and the most generous welcoming people I have ever met, soon had me hooked. I’ve left and come back again and again. My first stint was 4 years working in Sohar, now respelled as Suhar (about half way between Muscat and Dubai) at a local Government College (University). At the end of 4 years I left and went to Australia for 4 months.
My heart called me back and I returned to work for the same contractor at the same college but in a different city – Sur. This is a small city about 2 hours south of Muscat. I was here for 2 ½ years. Again, I left – but this time to take up a great job in Malaysia. The contract there finished after 2 years and I tripped around a bit in Australia and then went back to NZ to settle.
I wasn’t there very long when an offer came from a friend – we desperately need Native Speakers at our University. Yip, I was on the plane back to my beloved Oman and I’m still here. This contract will finish at the end of August and I will again say Goodbye! Will this be the final time?