People always told me, and it certainly was always implied, but living with an Omani family has given me a whole new perspective on the extreme importance that family has in the Middle East.
Almost every day there is family coming over to our house. I live in the main house where their mom lives. There are five brothers, three of which with families outside of the house. They visit all of the time with their kids. On the weekends, at least one of the cousins stay for a night or two. My sister Haifa lives here with her son Laith, and this house seems to be the house to visit.
The brothers are the most common visitors, or more specifically, their wives and kids. Visiting with family seems to be the main pass-time here. Yesterday we spent the morning with Samia, Basm’s wife in the morning. Visited Arfah, one of Haifa’s cousins, downtown for lunch. We sat around and talked for a while, watching movies. I saw part of a crazy love triangle Indian movie. Then we went around Muttrah for a while, looking at all of the parks. I had the opportunity to play on rides there! A mini-carnival J
But after, we went home, and Ahmed, Arfah’s brother, and his family came over for a little while. I had one of my favorite Arabic conversations as of yet. I made a joke about women being amazing because they’re women. But mostly, good Arabic conversations come from those with the quiet patience and understanding and interest in learning more about me. And it’s an amazing feeling.
But still the visiting wasn’t over until after they left and Samia returned with her daughters.
My experience is limited because I am a woman. Mohammed and Marsal are gone frequently, I assume with friends and outside of the house adventures. But this is how it is, and I think it’s quite nice. Always a warm and friendly environment.