14 Ways To Tell You’re Becoming Omani

In honor of the new year of 2014 here are 14 telltale signs of whether or not you’re connecting with your inner Omani. If you can relate to more than half of these and don’t live in Oman you may want to consider moving.

1. Making plans more than a few hours in advance seems unnecessary and even a little bit presumptuous. In the end it’s all up to God anyways.

2. Speaking of God, you are skilled at decoding the term insha’allah (literally, god-willing) and know that it could mean any combination of the following: yes, maybe, if we have time, no but I’m not going to tell you that, or go ask somebody else if you want a real answer.

3. Alhamdulillah (praise to God) is another staple of your vocabulary and you use it as an answer for questions ranging from “how are you” to “what grade did you get on the test” to any other question you either don’t want to answer or don’t understand.

4. Eating everything, especially rice, with your hands comes naturally. Except for pizza, which obviously should be eaten with a fork and plenty of ketchup and hot sauce.

5. You no longer see the need for utensils so why would a table be necessary either? Eating on the floor is this year’s food trucks and you are so ahead of the game.

6. The second the weather dips below 20 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) you started complaining about the cold and wearing more than one sweater.

7. Entering a building, reading a book or driving under an overpass doesn’t feel complete unless you see an image of Sultan Qaboos smiling at you. Either from behind the reception desk, the inside cover of a book or the side of the highway you can always count on him for a comforting and reassuring gaze.

You can always count on him, whether he's leading the country or raising the roof!

You can always count on him, whether he’s leading the country or raising the roof!

8. You require your outfits to include – at minimum – a matching headscarf, shoes, handbag and watch. Wearing a headscarf might be originally for religious reasons but it is one of the best fashion accessories out there.

9. On the topic of fashion, elementary school boys in dishdashas are without question the cutest things you have ever seen and you have to restrain yourself from enthusiastically smiling and waving at busloads of them.

They're just the cutest.

They’re just the cutest

10. You have an ingrained natural instinct that forces you to automatically respond afwan (you’re welcome) whenever anyone, anywhere says shukran (thank you) even if you didn’t really do anything.

11. The gene responsible for that reaction also causes irrepressible hand shaking and you can’t even begin a conversation without shaking the hand of everyone in the room. From the 85 year old grandmother to the 10 month old infant who has already learned how to say Salam Aleikum (literally “peace be upon you” but commonly used as a greeting)

12. Going to someone’s house and not immediately being served coffee and dates with a little bowl of water to rinse your hands in just feels wrong. How are you possibly supposed to shake everyone’s hands if your fingers are sticky from eating dates? And how are you to be expected to interact with people if you haven’t had a date or two first?

It is never not the perfect time to have a date. Not even Arabic class can stand in the way.

It is never not the perfect time to have a date. Not even Arabic class can stand in the way.

13. Verbally expressing your disapproval is unnecessary when you can simply click your tongue and shake your head sadly. It’s the move that puts even the most passive-aggressive person to shame.

14. Seeing a person in a tank top and/or shorts out in public elicits such a strong feeling of shock that you’d think you’d never seen knees other than your own before. Well it has been about four months…



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. yaron
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 11:24:15

    I’m almost there


  2. Debra Rosenman
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 13:28:43

    Miriam…14 Ways…is one of your BEST entries!! Turn it into a book!!


  3. Brian Israel
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 13:53:22

    I’m on my way…


  4. Allen Israel
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 15:57:48

    I think I will qualify. I will work on many of these tell tale signs quickly and catch up. The only problem is no one wants to see my knees anyway.


  5. simdavisphoto
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 16:02:04

    I think I can tick off a fair number of these. In answer to 12. and the sticky situation like many other places around the world it seems you can offer your wrist, people understand that you are not ignoring them, still want to greet them but most importantly are thinking of them. A bit odd the first couple of times, and you will see some funny examples of westerners shaking someones wrist like it’s their hand.


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