From Morocco To Oman With Love!



My niece arrived few days ago from Morocco, she is visiting us for few weeks. This is her first trip abroad, and to see the excitement on her face each and every time she sees or experiences something new amazes me. This actually reminds me of the first time I traveled from Morocco to Dubai to visit my sister, 16 years ago, and how similar I was then to my niece now, and how I have changed in so many ways and “Demoroccanised” (if that’s even a word) from when I was 14 till now!

 

You see, 7 years ago I married an Omani, and because I fell in love not only with him, but with his beautiful family too, I have embraced their culture, lifestyle, and all the tiny little details that make a person Omani! So now with this fresh dose of Moroccan breeze and goodness, from my niece, it’s simply hilarious (to me) to see that even though both countries are Arab, the differences are HUGE! So I have decided to write a post and include all the funny little things that my old self (aka Moroccan) and my new self (aka the wife of an Omani) do differently, just because my husband and his family are  Omanis.

 

1-      In Morocco Pjs are considered decent and official clothes, you can run to the grocery store, while wearing your Pajamas. I’ve done it many many times, yet now whenever I go back home and see people wandering around in the streets in their Pjs, I still chuckle and find it very funny! Pjs are also the official wear when at home, you would expect everyone to be wearing their pjs in their houses, so if you’re visiting someone, it’s just super normal to be received in Pjs! Now try to picture that happening here (or in Oman lol)

2-       In Morocco, if you travel to visit a family member and you are planning to stay in their home, you still need to take with you your towels, your shampoo, your shower gel, and every single thing you need. It’s just NORMAL. However, Since I got married, I learnt that wherever you go in Oman, friends and family think that it is their responsibility to stock up on these things for you, so no need to take any of that! Now whenever I go to visit, I barely even take any clothes with me lol

3-      FOOD: In Morocco we have 3 official meals, yet it seems like all we do during the day is eat! There is Breakfast, Tea and sweets at around 10am, Lunch, Tea and sweets at 2pm, Coffee at 5pm and Dinner at 9pm, and of course tons of snacking in between lol

4-       We have a place called “Hamam” (Bathroom in English, or as everyone might know it: Moroccan bath!!! It’s like a huge Sauna room, where you are supposed to take a shower and get scrubbed by a “Kiyasa”- A lady who will lay you down on a table, and scrub the hell out of you lol- So no matter how many showers you take a day, you still need to go there once every week to scrub all the dead skin and become “clean” again lol. I guess before I head to Morocco this year for a vacation, a trip to the Hamam is a must lol

5-       Contrarily to what every person in the Gulf region thinks, In Morocco Couscous is NOT similar to rice, we don’t eat couscous everyday! Couscous is just one of the many many dishes we have in the Moroccan cuisine. It is usually prepared every Friday in almost every Moroccan household though.

6-      If you are Moroccan and planning to visit Oman soon, please be aware of the language traps! Even though both are supposedly derived from the classical Arabic, you might want to think again before you say publically the following words: “barefoot” or “spoiled” in the Moroccan dialect, because they mean completely different things, and you don’t even wanna know lol, also when someone in Oman tells you: “Allah Ye3tik Al Afia” ” الله يعطيك العافية”، they are not really asking God to burn you in hell hahahahaha they are just asking Him to bless you with good health 😉 

7-      I don’t know about NOW, but growing up ice cream was ONLY available in summer time, there was no way you’ll see it when it’s cold and snowy outside. while here Adam and I (and pretty much anyone living in this area) can indulge in this luxury any and everyday! In the Gulf, ice cream is treated just like any other life necessity, you’ll always find it in supermarkets all year long .

 

I had a serious fit of laughter while writing this post, I hope it makes you giggle a bit too 😉

 

From a Moroccan married to an Omani, with LOVE!

 

Ouiam

What’s On Her Mind: The Fear …..!

  
After a long time,”What’s On Her Mind” is finally back! And this time with a wonderful, straight from the heart, and absolutely moving story, from one of the few friends that I appreaciate greatly! One of the people I believe were meant to enter my life to teach me something! A strong woman who will today give us a life lesson and share a piece of her soul with us! 

The Fear….

“I dont wont to get married. It will only stop me from doing what I want, and from achieving my dreams”. This was a sentence I used frequently, whenever anyone asked me when was I going to get married. 

I studied medicine for 7 years (6 years of actual school and I missed one year due to the war back in Iraq). I then graduated carrying my degree on my chest like a hero and an imaginary bag full of dreams. My bag was bigger than the world, almost unrealistic, but what to say, I was 24 years old and I owned the world.

I had to leave my country as soon as I graduated coz of the unstable political circumstances and with that I left behind my childhood and my student life, but I definitely didn’t forget to carry my dreams with me.

In less than a year I started working and OMG!!! It was nothing I have imagined before! I started watching my dreams popping up just like soap bubbles and disappearing right in front of my eyes. 

The stress of being a stranger in a strange country, ironically called my second home, as it was where my mother was from. So I was suppose to be familiar with it. But sadly I wasn’t. 

The stress of being treated like I was worth nothing and I knew nothing, why would/should I? I was just an intern who should follow the steps of the seniors and consultants like a puppy.

The stress of managing my life away from home with no backup sister to wash my lab coat, or a brother to run get some orange juice, or even a mother to make me a sandwich when I stay up late studying for my exam. Instead of that, I found myself living with strange people called family, people who wanted me to act like them, think like them and pay my share with them coz I was not a welcomed guest. I had to baby sit, do laundry and iron clothes as part time to my doctor job, to earn my living. I had to work as a secretory in an office filled with men who treated me like a house maid.

Finally after passing that awful year of internship, I finally became a real doctor and I earned a good living! COOL! Now I can start working on achieving my dreams….. No! Another drama came my way! To summarise it: my family started going through a tough time , financially, and I ended up being the only provider, which was fine except that I still didn’t have a chance to achieve those dreams.

Years and years passed and I was still running in a circle. A very narrow circle that suffocated me and I ended up doing nothing I ever wanted! 

I did not become a gynaecologist, I was forced to go to different speciality, one that I never liked. 
I did not learn that third and forth language i always dreamed of. 

I did not travel around the world for a whole year, meeting new people and discovering places. 

I did not get my degree on time, simply because I didn’t like my speciality so how can I sit and read the same things over and over again when my brain decided to block any entry because of depression. Even though I was doing great in the practical aspect of my job but never the theory. I was a smart worker but never a smart exam taker. 

I did not get my black belt in that martial art I wanted, as my schedule was continuously changing that I never made it to a whole week of training without interruption. 

I did not volunteer to work with doctors without borders….!! 

My list is painfully big and long ….but back to the point, I was still convinced that marriage will stop me from achieving my dreams. When everything else around me was doing exactly that-stopping me from achieving my dreams- for some reason or another, including my own depressed mind and my lack of motivations.

At that point, all I was thinking was that I wasn’t achieving anything anyway, I was getting old and I was rejecting all theses marriage proposals, for one main reason: FEAR; while using lame excuses. At that point in my life I took the decision to start thinking about marriage more seriously, at least I still had a chance to have a family before it was too late….Aah stupid me! The universe was listening to me I guess, opening the door of love and friendship. And I got the chance to meet him. He was very kind, supportive and understanding. I explained to him all my fears. When and where I come from, and he gracefully accepted me! He even accepted my one condition: No babies!!! 

So yes I got married and that was the same year I passed my first board exam, and the year I made 4 trips to 4 different countries in two different continent. The year I started my martial art training, and got the time to do it with no work schedule interrupting my training and vise versa. 

Then something changed! The ice cold idea of no babies started to warm up in my heart (for sure with a lot of kind and unkind pressure from the husband who broke his promise and the family around us). I got pregnant and I had the baby! With that baby, and all the stress and responsibility of becoming a mom I managed not only to pass my exam but to finish the whole board certification. I managed to make more trips than I was planing to do, with and without the family. I managed to get 4 belts in the martial art and continue my training.

That’s not all, I am still doing a lot of things that I never expected to do or achieve, and now after 4 years of marriage, I realised that all I needed was the stability and support from a good man and a strong, warm family I was afraid to have before.

My husband and my baby were the real motivation for my success and achievements, they grounded me and gave the chance to my roots to grow deep and strong again. They are the hope I lost one day…They are the real antidepressant treatment that brought me to life again.

Now and at the age of 36, a wife and a mother of a 3 years old baby, I am going for my first martial art competition in a week, I am also going back to medical school to restudy everything in medicine but this time it will be just the way i want it…! 
One Brave Mama!! 

What’s On Her Mind: In-Laws…..

  
 Hello my dear friends! And welcome to yet another exciting and beautiful story from another amazing Mama. A very brave one! Who taccled a very sensitive topic today! I leave you with Miss.H’s words of wisdom!! 

In-laws 

When you get married -in our arabic society- it also means that you married the In-laws! A blessing? Yeah sure …. Sometimes! A curse? Probably… When you are under the same roof.

Living with your family in law is absolutely no piece of cake, they can be the kindest and sweetest people, yet at the same time always scrutinising and criticising every move you make. Somehow you need to become the Queen of wonderland! Otherwise you just won’t make it! 

In the first few months, sure you will be shy and blush at every comment; however after five years -24/7- under the same roof, things are not cute anymore, and get a bit ugly for the silliest reasons! It is difficult, but you have to let go, for the sake of a peaceful life. I am not saying that you shouldn’t love them! Once you are married to their son, you need to embrace them, and take them as your own! But you need to have your own routine! You need to be the one in charge of raising your children! You need your privacy with your husband away from intruders!   

 From my personal experience, the more space you keep between you and your in laws, the better it is for everyone! They will respect and love you more. Sometimes I really feel blessed to have them around, especially when I am sick and my husband is traveling. Or when they throw a huge birthday party for my kids, and invite over 300 member of the family just to celebrate it. Yet some other times, I just want to be alone, be lazy in my pyjamas the whole day without even brushing my hair, and I sure deserve to have similar days! 
 

Well i think it is both, a blessing and a curse at the same time. You will just have to balance the feelings, have a positive attitude, and mostly be yourself ….. The loving wife, the caring mother and the sweet daughter in law. My in laws define me as a sweet and sour girl, and they couldn’t say it any better! 

Miss.H

Do You Remember….?

  
Do you remember… ?! 

The heart skipping a beat, the butterflies in the stomach, the state of euphoria….

When you first met him, when your eyes first met his gaze, and you felt cold, then hot, then cold again! You passed your hand through your hair just to show everyone how nonchalant, indifferent, calm and casual you were… 

Those nights when you kept wondering how he felt?! And secretly hoped that he felt the same… And blushed when you secretly realised what you hoped for…

When you finally had the courage to tell yourself the secret that has been lingering around for some time! And felt happy and content knowing that you finally came out of the closet! The indifference closet… 

When you knew that one day you will be his, yet you didn’t know how you knew… 

And the day came, with the rush of adrenaline, the tears, the hands and lips shaking, the not so gentle butterflies this time, the feeling that nothing else exists anymore…. You can’t remember anymore, because those seconds felt like years and years. Him coming down the aisle….. (Because in Arabic weddings he does, not the bride)! 
You wanted to cry but you didn’t want to spoil your makeup! You wanted to do a little victory dance but you couldn’t risk the guests thinking you were a little too crazy! You wanted to press the pause button but you didn’t really want to! 
Do you remember now….?! 

Actually dear reader, I would like to apologise for misleading you. I never meant to use the pronoun “you”, I was talking about me. Me and the love of my life… My husband! 

Sometimes I don’t remember any of that, because I am tired or I am busy or I am just not in the mood. Because I focus more on him being my big spoon, my foot warmer, the place I lay my head at night. The hand I reach for when I cross the street, the eyes I look at during the saddest and the funniest parts of movies, the side I nudge when we find secrete humour in an ordinary thing! The partner in crime, the food taster, the IT man….! 

Some other times, While I am stirring the food, or picking up the milk from the fridge, or just getting into my car, a wave of memories showers me. I stop for a second, with the widest smile… I feel my heart skipping a beat. I feel the butterflies in my stomach. I get into that same state of euphoria ….! So yes I still remember, I still go there when I need to, I still remember … Yes I do… 
Ouiam 

Who We Marry?

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Who we marry? Do we really know? How can we know? We make this decision based on what we knew, what we saw and what we felt, based on the past, however, we all change, grow, evolve and only the future can tell, can show us who we married!

Marriage is far more than few pictures on Instagram or Facebook, with smiles, hugs and kisses. It is far from the fairytales and novels. Yes!! Who wouldn’t want to only share their beautiful moments, after all we all love to shine and sparkle and sprinkle our happy bits and pieces. To me, marriage is way more than that! Marriage is a journey that begins with a decision you and your partner take, then transforms into this roller-coaster ride, with ups and downs, milestones and hiccups. And it is really your call to make it an enjoyable, meaningful and long lasting one. Life is full of challenges and hardships, and your partner is the person whom will accompany you through them all. It is crazy and very hard to comprehend that once you are married, you kind of become one person yet you can never be one! You are two different people, with different everything really. Most people get married because they are trapped in this beautiful labyrinth of love and passion, which is the most amazing thing. However, with the years, when you have seen it all, when the newness goes away and life gets harder, you are left with each other. Your partner is the person who will hold your hand and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it. It is the person who knows all your weirdness and not only accepts it but understands it. It is the person who has seen your good, bad and ugly and still loves you unconditionally. It is the person you want to grow older with, the person you want to share the parenthood journey with, the person you want your children to resemble to, the person who appreciates you and knows your limits, the person you want to lose people with and grieve with, the person you want to grow closer to rather than apart.

I was very blessed and lucky to find this person, the person who gets me, who accepts me the way I am, who makes me see the little things, who makes me slow down and enjoy the nows. Who makes me ME! And I am so grateful that a decision I took in my very early twenties, will be a gift for my thirties, forties and so on.

When you move on from being just a couple to being parents and you see your partner as a father to your children, to the pieces of your soul and heart, when you see how much he loves them and cares for them. You then have seen it all! You then have it all ! When I see my husband with my son, my heart bursts from happiness and love. It is a new kind of love. A love that only this person can give me. A love that defines me, that empowers me, that makes me the woman and the mother I am today.

Marriage is a union that makes you whole; not always pink and flowery yet always strong and powerful. Marriage is a bunch of every days, of little details, of things that are so tiny but so big at the same time.

Ouiam

About a picture

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Today I was looking at my pictures (because it is something I love doing and I do often) I stumbled into this one!  It is from our wedding in Morocco, four years ago. We were extremely fortunate to have two wedding parties! Yes we did! Why?  Well we come from two different countries in two different continents and we both have big families who love to celebrate! Therefore, we agreed to have one wedding in Morocco (where I am from) and one in Oman (where my husband is from).

I was about 5 years old when I started telling my family( my aunts mainly) that I was married and that my husband was a pilot, I was saying that while carrying my mom’s handbag, wearing  my sister’s high heels, and a scarf on my head imagining that it was my long beautiful hair! Was it an epiphany or was it a mere pure coincidence that 18 years later I actually did marry a pilot!  I guess I will never know. I met my husband in a birthday party. One would think that I met him on a flight (since I was a flight attendant). A flight going to Paris, when he came out from the cockpit to ask for a cup of coffee and he was dazzled by how beautiful I looked, nope! Sorry to disappoint you all but that did not happen lol We met through friends and we became friends lol.

This picture was taken during a celebration that took about 11 hours. Usually Moroccan weddings take this long. In these 11 hours the bride has to change outfits about 7 times, it sounds like a difficult task for the bride however and without a doubt, it is the most beautiful night in any Moroccan girl’s life. There is something magical about it! Moroccan weddings treat the bride like a princess from a fairytale; she gets to wear all these beautiful clothes while all her family and friends are there with her celebrating this beautiful night! She gets to sit on a palanquin of gold that her brothers/cousins/close friends, will carry, up above their heads, while dancing! Showing the world how proud they are of her. She will get to wear the most expensive, beautiful and traditional jewelries she probably has ever seen! She will be a Cinderella that night, a Cinderella with no curfew! (And with both shoes on) I was very lucky to have that night in my life! I just hope, one day I will see my own daughter having her own Moroccan fairytale wedding.

Ouiam

10 things i do that piss my husband off ;)

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Before I start right into this, I feel I need to address my husband first:

Honey, I know you love me very much and  I also know that sometimes i display bizarre and downright crazy tendencies that drive you crazy, everyone has their own little weird traits that grind away their partners, family and friends. However admitting it should give me some credit 😉

So here is my list:

  1. A steamy bathroom; whenever I take a shower, I first have to turn the hot water on for about 10 minutes then I get into the shower, as a result, you obviously can’t see a thing for about few hours, the toilet paper is all crumpled and useless, ooh and of course no hot water lol (sorry)
  2. I am completely and perfectly aware of how I can never seem to close any of the drawers or cupboards I open ( you can’t possibly blame me for that, I simply forget)
  3. I know how annoying I must be whenever we are at home, in our living room, at any given time, the minute you’ll stand up, I would ask you straight away “where are you going?” Daaaah I am at home where will I be going? I feel this is what you always want to tell me, but you are sweet enough to just ignore my question and instead reply : “ I will be right back” lol
  4. I am not the only woman on earth who does this, whenever we are watching a movie for the first time, I keep on asking questions about the movie as if you have watched it before!! Whaaaat!!! Ooh well you actually should be flattered, because somehow, I just assume you are smarter than I am and that you got some kind of secrete hint that I missed! Easy right?!
  5. Whenever we go to sleep, I spend an extra hour reading on my kindle, with a minimum light on, but I know how sensitive you are to any kind of lights when you want to sleep, so for that, I love you forever!
  6. This one is my favorite so far! How out of nowhere I will just turn to you and ask you: “So?” I totally get you when you give me the silliest answers ever, but it did serve the purpose right? We had a small tiny conversation woohaaa!
  7. This is no mystery, you knew it way before we got married, I just cannot stop talking, I am a woman so it is THE most natural thing ever.
  8. This is actually funny, myself, I can’t understand how I always ask you: how is your food, before you even take your first bite!! Alright I promise you, I will work on this!
  9. I always put perfume on, inside the car with the windows closed ( my bad I always remember too late)
  10. Every single night after I put the little peanut down for the night, I come back downstairs and switch off all the lights in the house along with the air conditioning. No, I am not a cave woman but I do enjoy darkness, silence and warm weather, I am a mom!

I am sure there is more to this, but let us just agree that we are done here 😉

So here, Thank you my very sweet husband for your tolerance and patience, I wanted you to know that I am aware of this list, yet I am not sure anything will ever change, Thank you again, you are the best!!

If any of you ladies out there, share one or two things from this list with me, please let me know, it will make me the happiest to know that I am not alone! Thank you!

Ouiam