Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Countdown, Salsa, & passion.

I came home from my salsa class on Sunday and for the first time on facebook put my status as the time until I leave Oman. I wrote "9 more salsa classes 'til I leave :((", which shows how much I am enjoying my lessons, but it's mainly due to the people I am dancing with. Then last night I went to one of the salsa groups social nights, and telling a new salsera friend I will miss all this, and she asked can I stay. Well, apart from being homeless at the end of the year (I've given notice on the flat), I have sold some of my furniture, and I've resigned, I could stay, But... I do need to go back to Europe, at least for a while, and if I end up missing Muscat, well I can always come back in a year or so. It's funny about the salsa though, I have known the basic steps for years, but the more classes I go to, the worse my dancing is getting. I think it is because I now know what I should be doing, and rather than just dancing I'm thinking. Even G&T didn't help last night, as I couldn't even do a basic mambo in time. But hey, my Bachata, which I love, and Merengue were good. The week before, at the group's Eid party, which is where the pic is from, I danced better, so maybe I can blame the G&T for not working as well as red wine?

As my countdown was tied to the salsa, is that the passion in my life? NO. It's my rediscovery of art, specifically drawing. Whilst out last night, watching the others dance, I kept thinking about how to capture the movement of the dance, the lines the women were making were tantalising. Maybe next week I will hide in a corner and try to capture it? When I was in Istanbul last year, I did several sketches of the Whirling Dervish (left), but took far more photos. Keep an eye on my art blog for dancing pics in the coming weeks.

Finally, I will finish today on a sad note, my uncle, Jack Farthing, died last week. Although I haven't seen him often in the last few years, I will really miss him. His Sunday lunch arguments with dad, or as they said debates, will always bring fond memories, along with many other memories of him I have. May he rest in peace.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Gratitude Friday: 5

Today I am grateful for all the choices I can make. They may be good or bad choices, but I have the freedom to make them. I have almost infinite possibilities and each choice I make can take me in a new direction or continue along the same path. It's up to me. There are too many people in this world, through poverty, political corruption &/or sanctions, war, or other reasons, who do not have any choice in their lives. I wrote a few days ago that I am having doubts about the choice I have made to leave Oman, but I should be thankful that I am in a position to have such choice.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


The decision has been made, so why am I suddenly doubting myself? I've missed Europe for a long time now, the chance to walk, the cultural opportunities etc. I hate working here, the work ethics in the colleges both of management and students is appalling, and it takes up a large part of my life.

Earlier this evening I was reading  Miss Expatria 's latest post Get ready, get inspired, and go!  all about just going for your dreams, I wrote a comment to her:
I have doubts about the next step. I’ve been an expat for almost 9 years. ... the next country is undecided. The next country is not the scary part, that I am leaving is. I thought it was the right time, but I’ve realised how much I have here and how many friends- BIG positives, but hate the work situation here. I work to live, so just because I don’t like the work is it reason to give up so much?… First steps for the next stage of my life, should they be leaving?
This was the first time I really expressed these doubts, maybe it's partly because Ramadan has been sociable and I have seen how many friends I have here. Also, I joined Oman Salsa Group before I went to Lebanon, and they are a great bunch of people. The dance classes are fun, everyone talks to each other, everyone is invited to everything, and everyone is welcome. Is the need to fit in so great that it's the reason I now have these doubts? I am not a beach/camping on the weekend person, which sometimes has made weekends long, but the dancing group- I can't wait for the next class or event. On top of that I have rediscovered art, and found that with the miracle of internet (see my last post) I don't need to be in Europe to get inspiration and share my work.

I still can't walk about (Muscat is NOT pedestrian friendly, even when it's cooler), pop in an art gallery, go to the theatre, my parents are still a day's travel away, and the other things I miss in Europe. Back there I have not yet secured a job, but there are always teaching vacancies in January. Plus two recruiters want to see me when I am next in UK, so working really is not a problem. I have narrowed down my choices of country so that is also not a problem... eeney, meeney, mineey, Go! Or should I stay?

Friday, 18 September 2009

Gratitude Friday: 4

I was struggling this morning to choose what to be thankful for. I had a look at Diana's post over at Creative Structures and realised that life is getting better for me at the moment, so instead of struggling to see the good things in life, I have the enviable problem of which good thing to choose.

Four weeks ago, my first gratitude Friday was about art, since then I have rediscovered my love of art and my neglected talent. So my first thanks, is for Diiana for making me think about what I was grateful for. From that first post I have started a second blog Art of a Nomad, which is purely for art.

My second thanks today is for the internet, which may seem strange, so let me explain. With my art, because I draw what I see I have always had a problem with inspiration. Now, thanks to the internet enabling people to set up sites, I have ideas bursting out of my head. I have joined several art sites that give weekly themes to illustrate (incl. Monday ArtDay and Illustration Friday) and the fabulous Urban Sketchers, who encourage artists to go out and draw the cities/towns around them. Yesterday, as I was driving around Muscat, I was mentally thinking "I could draw that"... "Oh that would be interesting to sketch", and on it went all day. Actually, the thanks is for the wonderful people who set up these sites.

My final thanks is to the wonderful cyberpeps and friends who have taken the time to look at my work this month and leave comments, both complimentary and constructive. Above all else, this has been the biggest encouragement to continue drawing and to them I am very, very grateful.

Why the photo of goats? I was determined to post a sketch to Urban Sketchers, so went out drawing yesterday. The goats were so amusing that I drew them rather than the beautiful fishing village they inhabit. The results are here.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Ramadan Ramblings

Ramadan is drawing to a close, people are discussing how much time off we will get for the Eid break, and we are all looking forward to the bars & coffee shops reopening.

As with other years, I have found Ramadan to be a very sociable period, although it has been difficult not to pop to Darcy's or Costas for a quick cuppa and catch up during the day. I have been to at least one party each weekend, and this forthcoming one is no exception as I'm off to help Eternally Distracted celebrate her birthday. I had a house party last weekend, unfortunately, due to the high humidity we've been having, it had to be moved from my rooftop to the lounge, but I certainly enjoyed it. During the same weekend I went to two barbies, so it was back to work on Saturday for a rest. A big positive of Ramadan parties is that you catch up with people you haven't seen in ages as there are limited places for people to go - a friend's house or a friend's house. Of course, most of us go to at least one Iftar meal at a local restaurant, these are the meals which Muslims traditionally break their fast with, after the dates & yoghurt. I went to one the first week at a new Lebanese restaurant and my friends & I ate so much we rolled out afterwards.

Apart from eating and drinking, I have been dancing, as the Oman Salsa Group has continued to meet for its Sunday classes, although the weekly social evening has been cancelled due to the bar being shut. I have done classes randomly before, Peru, Spain, even Italy this summer, but never in a regular weekly class. The instructors are all very helpful and nice, as are everyone who goes. It is a nice mix of Omanis, Indians, & Europeans. I am looking forward to the Eid party next week as it will be an opportunity to just dance salsa without the concentration of getting everything right - last Sunday I just could not get my turns right. Maybe next class?

Finally, over the last few weeks I have made the decision to leave Oman, and will be permanently back in Europe by Christmas. It is the right thing for me now, afterall I've been here four years, and I miss European culture and I want to be able to walk - at the moment I use the car to go to the shop across the road, as Muscat is not pedestrian friendly, nor is the weather. Oman IS a lovely country, and I will leave with only good memeories of my time here, just don't ask me about teaching in the colleges.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Gratitude Friday: 3

Today it is easy to know what to be grateful for... all the lovely people who are in my life. Whether they are transitory friends (those whom when we move on we will not keep in touch with). new friends, cyberbuddies, or old friends. Everyone is important in their own right and for what they bring to my life.

It is amazing the diversity of people and how we can interact. Last night, I was with friends whose occupations ranged from harp-player, through to people in the oil industry. There was a lawyer, a dive instructor, teachers, and a friend who is something in civil aviation. Despite all this disparity of vocation, it was a lovely evening, full of interesting conversation and debate, and I am so thankful that these people are part of my life. Moreover, I am also thankful for my friends at home, or in other parts of the world who I see/contact all-to-rarely, but who are also an important to me.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Photohunt: Orange

Here is my first contribution to Photohunt hosted by tn chick. This week's theme is Orange and I took this picture of a stall awning in Dubai earlier this year.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Gratitude Friday 2

After a lot of thinking and realising how much there is to be thankful for, today I am grateful for the beauty and wonder of nature. Last November, I was fortunate to witness this turtle lay her eggs on the beach and then return to the sea as the sun rose. Magical!

Again, I must say thanks to Diana of Creative Structures for the great idea of the Gratitude Friday Club.