Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mango Mania - don't mind if I do!

I have officially died and gone to heaven...> 100 varieties of mangoes all under one roof = me roaming around Lulu squeezing & prodding & sniffing mangoes like there is no tomorrow!!! I love mangoes so much that Duma even gave me the nickname Mango once (pehaps stemming from my ability to devour them in seconds), but unfortunately it never caught on with the rest of my friends. But my mango fetish is now out in the open and I'm embracing it with both hands and an open mouth:)

So my mission for today, should I choose to accept it (which I will!), is to go to Lulu and buy more freezable containers so that I can join the mango train and start slicing & dicing those babies up for the mango shortage that will inevitably hit us hard! And when I say us, I mean me. Duma doesn't eat the things (thank the Lord, more for me).

Shoutout to my Mum - you would be so proud - I just need a bottle of Galliano to marinate them in and all will be good with the world :)
We will enjoy them with champagne on Christmas Day just as if we are home and eating yours!

Love you for all the evers Ma x

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two worlds collide

Duma sent me an interesting article this morning and I thought I would share, given it involves our old and new homes.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Did someone say "Birthday Bonanza" ???

So tomorrow I get another year older and supposedly that means wiser. As my wonderful other 1/2 has suggested, it is my year for a week-long "Birthday Bonanza" and since I have work tomorrow and class in the evening, it all starts tonight...

* Nice meal out for the birthday planned = check!
* Staying up until 12.01am to open my 1st (non-surprise) gift - check check!
* 47 degree day - crossing fingers it doesn't happen!!
* Surprise birthday festivities all week = TBA !!!
** UFC 114 Quinton Rampage Jackson vs Sugar Rashad Evans May 29th - marking Birthday Bonanza Week-eve; it is all a little too perfectly planned if you ask me!

Ok so it won't be an entire week of celebrating my fabulous and miraculous birth (I did technically die on the table and almost kill my mother, so I'm entirely too far off though - cue tiny violins), but supposedly this weekend is all about me. Duma has professed that turning 21 again is extra special this year since my last birthday (also celebrated in Muscat, though we were holidaying at the time) was a low low low-key event....or was it me that kept reminding him for months after that it was so? ;)

It is common back home to bring in a cake when it is your birthday, although I have never understood why this is the case - I have to bake/buy my own cake and share it with others? I have to stand around with (some) people I don't like (and mostly likely vice versa) and make idle chit chat while we awkwardly smile and eat cake??? Bah humbug.

In Oman am I expected to "do the needful" (gotta love that phrase) and bring a cake, chocolates, sweets, lunch etc to work in celebration of my birthday? When people have a baby here - they apparently bring sweets and offer everyone in the office. When Duma's colleague bought a new car - everyone enjoyed chocolates on his behalf that were offered around by the company's fine "Tea Specialist".

So people, what to do...oh what to do?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fancy a ham sandwich?

Duma was slightly hungover yesterday and as a result, we did absolutely nothing yesterday...nada...zilch! It was great to recharge the batteries, as I'm currently recovering from getting too much sun and we are both a little rundown.
I think the day consisted of couch surfing, facebooking, Grey Anatomy watching and ordering in Mumtaz for dinner :)

Lazy much???

I was, however, sent to the shops to get some food for lunch and the request was for a cheese, tomato and ham toasted sandwich. Now normally this would be an easy one to rustle up back home, a no brainer really and not a delicacy of any kind. But here? Ham isn't your wallet's friend - ham is like gold to a non-Muslim. Ham is like that expensive pair of Jimmy Choo heels or that new set of golf clubs or that ring you have been eyeing in the jewellery store see it, you want it, you envision that your life would be better with it...but you just can't justify it and totally lose out when you do a quick cost-benefit analysis in your own head.

But on this occasion, Duma was getting what he wanted and logic was thrown out the window. And that is ok, because he is the finance guy in the relationship.

After much too-ing and fro-ing about which ham to get and how much, I settled for 5 slices of fancy honey ham. The guy even sliced a piece and let me taste it (I thought it was a trick, can I eat this in here?) and it was lush...we have not eaten ham since we were back home 5 weeks ago! It is the little things in life isn't it?

Anyways, he hands me the package and wow...I almost choked on the remnants I was still chewing on. Guess how much it costs me? (I should have taken a photo of the sticker, but I don't have that BB Bold 9700 yet).

Drum roll...

5 slices (lets just say 6, since I got to eat one) = 5.9 RO = AUD$17.50!!!
I almost died, but in Duma's state I knew he needed it and there was no going back.

We managed to make 4 small toasted sandwiches with 3 slices of ham, so there are 2 slices sitting in the fridge and I will be damned if they end up developing fur like the cucumber and lettuce does in our house. I'm fairly sure that Duma was going to sneakily head home for lunch and devour the rest, and for nearly 18 freakin' dollars I hope he does!

Oh and don't get me started on baby spinach leaves, are they watered in God's tears for that price??? I for one am waiting for the copious boxes of Indian mangoes that I have heard so much about!!! Bring on Mum's galliano-soaked mangoes and champagne ;)

The ways of the world, a cup of tea & a crazy kid!

This weekend was pretty choc-a-bloc and gone in the blink of an eye - why is that always the case for weekends yet the working week drags on? And as our weekend ends, most of yours are just beginning. I'm still getting used to waking up for work on a Saturday...I don't think I will ever get used to that.

1/2 of Thursday was spent at a work function, which was really nice...apart from the crazy kid who stalked Duma and I all day and was fortunate enough to not get punched in the face or used as a training dummy for us to practice our UFC moves. This kid looked like the epitomy of in-breeding gone wrong - big ears, big teeth and the thickest monobrow I have ever seen...he followed us all day and kept staring at us saying "craaaaaaaazy" while he made this scary clown face and tossed his head from side to side. Seriously, he doesn't realise how close he came to the biggest ass-kicking of his young life, but we felt like family day probably wasn't the right time to put him in his place!

Anyway, the day was totally different to what I'm used to back home for work functions - which would normally consist of after work drinks or a BBQ, more drinks, mingling and maybe the odd prize here or there. If you are lucky there would be 1 major prize drawn at the end of the day and your chances of winning were minimal.

Here, that isn't how they do things. All the strings are pulled and people expect that they are getting something purely for showing up (which includes bringing their immediate family, additional wives, cousins, parents etc). Everyone has their own entourage it seems. There were LCD's up for grabs, laptops, perfume, vouchers, name it, it was a prize. It was amazing, it was surprising, it was intoxicating...clapping and shouting 'mabrook' everytime someone's name or employee number was called and seeing their excitement. My cheeks were so sore from smiling and seeing everyone so caught up in the moment.

Now, for me this happy day also presented a sad moment of realisation. At work we have a few men who are referred to as "Tea Boys" who are contractors. I don't like the term Tea Boy, since these are grown ass men with families and making tea is far from the only thing they do. I was hoping to see these men there but I avoided asking them last week if they woud be going, on the off chance that they were not invited.

I was so happy when I saw them there on the day, I feel as though they are underappreciated and treated like the ugly step-child and it really erks me. Sitting in the men's tent with Duma, we watched one of them make a cup of tea and I said "I'm pleased that just for once, he gets to make and enjoy a cup of tea for himself. I really hope he wins a prize today". (He is the main guy on my floor, so he is the darling who brings me piping hot coffee at the same time each day).

Anyway, off he trots with his cup of tea, smiling to us as he walks away. And then reality sets in - he didn't make that cup of tea for him, on his day off he is still making tea for people and carrying boxes and running errands. Duma also pointed out that this guy wasn't likely to get a prize since clearly he doesn't have an employee number and wasn't given a corresponding ticket :( My heart sank.

It made me sad because he is the most lovely guy and deserves to be treated like a human being and entitled to his own time. Time is one of our most precious things because we don't ever get it back once its gone its gone. I'm almost certain that he wasn't paid for the extra day of work either, but that I cannot confirm.

But in my fleeting moment of sadness and guilt for being afforded more opportunities simply because of who I am and where I'm from, I saw him smile. I saw him giggle and grin, a grin so big and wide that it warmed my heart. He was watching the kids playing a game, running and falling over and out of control. I don't know if he was smiling because he was thinking about his own kids back home, if he was just happy to be amongst a crowd of people, or if he was so overwhelmed by the innocence of kids playing and having fun. Either way, that moment was the single best moment of the weekend for me. He has such a kind smile and Duma and I made a pact that so long as our prize wasn't a 32-inch LCD, we would give it to him.

After a few more hours, we decided to leave the event early as it was just too hot and we had other plans later in the day. So imagine my surprise when this morning I walk into the office and am told to go and draw my lucky dip for my prize,which we were entitled to since we were there for at least 1/2 the day. I won a 50 RO (AUD$150) petrol voucher, which will surely last me all of about 9 months! I asked my collegue whether the Tea Man would have been given a prize and she said that everyone had considering there were so many. On the walk back to my office, I ran into him and asked if he got a prize. He beamed and told me that we had won the same prize and I was so totally made my day.

And for those of you not in Oman...just to put this into context - 50 RO is probably about 1/3 of his monthly salary - whereas that would be what most of us expats spend on 1 ball ticket, getting our hair done or on a new outfit.