Greetings, party people! Last month was a doubly blessed month. Not only were we welcomed by our loving families but we also welcomed the blessed month of Ramadhan. A month of being showered with love, good food, and many blessings!
Both moms hosted wonderful, family-inclusive baby showers (no girls-only club event!).
We ate all the delicious foods we missed but, as with all things in this temporal world, they eventually came to an end.
Before we knew it, our four weeks of family time came to an end too and we were getting ready to mount that big bird once again. Parting with our families was especially hard this time around- maybe due to the pregnancy, as well as all of the other family changes taking place right now. As always, we remind them that we have our reasons and purposes for being abroad right now and our only regret is that we can’t take them all with us. It’s a strange day when you find more spiritual and material comfort in a land other than your birth place but it’s the reality for many right now, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
For all the friends we didn’t get a chance to see or call, we apologize but family comes first. You do understand, right?
The first phase of our journey was an 11-hour flight to Jordan.
After our sad farewells at the airport, it was comforting to see one of the brothers that coordinated our Hajj trip back in 2008. He and his family boarded the same flight as us; however, they were heading to Mecca to perform umrah (the minor pilgrimage) during the last days of Ramadhan, masha’Allah (as God willed it).
We had a 7-hour layover in Amman scheduled but who wants to stay in an airport for that long, putzin’ around? Thankfully, some of our good friends who we hadn’t seen in about two years are currently living in Amman and invited us to spend the evening with them and their family. The brief visit was well-worth the $15 entry visas! We reunited with them and their almost four-year-old son (who by the way is the best and cutest tour guide I’ve ever had! He pointed out all of Jordan on the ride home). We met their almost 11-month old baby girl for the first time. And, to top it off, they fed us! Yup- they really fed us! I would post pictures of the delicious vegan meal they served us but you would find yourself involuntarily drooling all over your keyboard and urbndervish and I just can’t afford that kind of liability right now! Delicious Jordanian dates, tamarind juice, creamy vegan mushroom soup, toasted garlic bread with freshly chopped tomatoes, saffron rice, and a delicious lentil stew with apples, pumpkin, cauliflower, and spinach that we decided to call “Fall Delight”. If one of my (many) dreams comes to fruition and we open a vegan B&B, I would certainly like to enlist this special sister as my culinary supervisor. Her meals are always awesome without fail. Thanks again!
Of course, time spent with good company is never time enough but we had to head back to the airport to complete the last three-hour leg of our journey. Where are we, you ask. Well, let’s see if you can figure it out from the pictures below.
Have you guessed by now? Well, if you guessed Yemen, you’re close but if you guessed Oman, you’re absolutely right! Urbndervish landed a teaching position here in the Sultanate and we plan to be here for the next two years, insha’Allah (God willing). Yup- we’re back in the desert. Our first impression of Muscat, Oman’s capital, is that it’s very clean! Not just the place but the people too! The Omani men commonly wear a long, white, ankle-length garment called a dishdasha. We have yet to see a wrinkled dishdasha! On our way to Nizwa, the town where urbndervish and I will be residing, the scenery felt familiarly like Hadhramaut, Yemen. However, a brief walk in the city center quickly reminded us of Medinah. Impeccably clean shops with great smelling bukhoor (incense) and oils emanating from them. Frankincense is harvested here in Oman, so many shops smell of it. Another familiar comfort is that the people here speak Arabic- comprehensible and clear Arabic-which hasn’t been too difficult to understand. There are also many English-speakers here as well, so when our own Arabic fails us, we can resort to English. Insha’Allah, we’ll share more about our experiences in due time. Until then, enjoy the blessed days of Shawwal (the Islamic month that follows Ramadhan) and keep us in your prayers.