Tariq Stories

My host brother Tariq is three years old and he’s been mentioned on here a few times before but I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight some of his more amusing and unusual antics. For some background, as the youngest of five kids and as the only boy he is literally the king of the house and gets what he wants, when he wants it. He is also one of the cutest kids I’ve ever met, even though he is somehow perpetually sticky and dusty.


            He often likes to talk about going to school with me or one of my sisters but because I’m the last one to leave in the morning he has occasionally realized that I am his last chance and so tried extra hard to get on the bus with me. I’m usually able to distract him long enough for us to pull away but one morning he did manage to jump on the bus, in his pajamas, with no shoes, and demanded to be taken to school. It took Muhammad and me a few minutes to convince him to get down and go back inside to watch Tom & Jerry on TV.


One morning during my first week in Oman, when I spoke about five words of Arabic, Tariq and I were hanging out in the kitchen. Everyone had already left so it was just us and in an effort to help me out Tariq started taking all of the drinks out of the fridge and lining them up on the table. He then tried to teach me the names for every one, from juice to milk to Mountain Dew (that one is just Dew in an Arabic accent). I guess one of the unique parts of a host family is having the chance to learn Arabic from a three year old.


Tariq’s absolute favorite place in the whole world is the dukan or corner store that contains any and all chocolate and is understandably a three year olds paradise. Our corner store however isn’t actually right on the corner and is about a five minute walk away. One day when I was out with my sisters and dad we got a call from the storeowner. Guess who had just sauntered in, pajamas, dusty feet and all? Yup, Tariq. And of course he was given a free candy bar and sent home with one of the neighbors.


This kid is ridiculously messy and looking at his clothes is like looking at a menu of what he’s eaten that day (hint, its usually candy) but one of my favorite ways for him to make a mess is by drinking soda. But he doesn’t just drink the soda out of a cup. No, he prefers to take a spoon (the one time we use them!) and carefully ladle it into his mouth. Most of it ends up on his shirt but watching him try is adorable. I think I only find it funny because I don’t have to clean it up but regardless its hilarious, and very sticky.


As two people who are still learning Arabic, Tariq and I have some hilarious conversations. I was once trying to do my homework when he came up to me insisting that he had to tell me something. After I finally relented and paid attention to him he informed me that he knew what my sister Zakiya and I were up to. He pointed to the window and said that he knew we went out with harami (criminals or bad people, coming from the Arabic word haram or forbidden, particularly in Islam) at night and that we should really behave better. For some reason the fact that he then told me that all harami live in the moon didn’t make me take him any more seriously.


I could go on forever with stories about Tariq but I’ll restrain myself for now. Instead here are some other completely adorable photos of him doing what he does best – being the cutest, messiest three year old I know. I can only hope that he will remember me when I come back to visit in the future!!


Volunteering, Arabic, Oman, etc.

Hello everyone!

So sorry for not posting in so long, I’ve somehow become very busy although I’m not exactly sure with what. I am working on a capstone project for my program that includes writing a research paper in Arabic, which is surprisingly not as fun as it sounds.

In the mean time I’ve been doing a whole bunch of other interesting things, like taking another trip across the border to the UAE because, guess what, our visas expired again! Somehow it still felt like a surprise even though we knew it would happen ever since we got our six-month visas in November. Maybe it was just surprising that six months have already gone by. I still can’t believe that I have less than two months here and I try not to think about it too often.

When I’m not not thinking about going home (my English is going downhill I guess) I’ve been trying to see more of Oman before I leave. I went with my host family to the Marina on the edge of Muscat where the company my host mother works for was having an event for its employees. They had rented a dhow, or traditional wooden ship, where we sat and enjoyed the weather and being on the water. The dhows are beautiful and the feel like they’ve been pulled right out of Arabian Nights. They are actually a key part of Oman’s history because Oman was a great seafaring power, trading with East Africa, India and other places around the world.

I also participated in a volunteer event dedicated to protecting the environment and keeping Oman free of pollution. I, along with the rest of NSLI-Y and YES helped clean up trash on sand dunes that overlook Muscat and that are very popular for dirt-biking. The vantage point from the dunes was amazing and you could see all the way to the ocean! Not that the ocean is every very far away seeing as Muscat is long and skinny with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. Still it was a lot of fun and even more exciting was the free ice-cream they had! I also ran into an alumni of my university which was exciting. What a small world!

Anyways those are some updates about whats going on here. We’re about to start our spring break and I’m ecxited to say that my AMERICAN FAMILY is visiting!! They are actually on the airplane as I type this and will be arriving later today. I’m so so happy to see them and am also possibly even more excited for them to see Oman and meet my host family. I can’t wait to see my two families meet – slightly confusing but definitely worth it!