Long hair is not really mainstream in America. This is even less the case in Oman. No one here has hair like mine, so I really stick out like a sore thumb here. We went to a “hypermarket” called “Lu Lu” today, which is kind of a like a Wal Mart, and everyone stared at me. Of course this is fine; if a traditionally dressed Omani were walking around Haywood Mall he would probably get more than just a few looks.
It’s also scary being in a place where everyone speaks a language that you don’t understand well. While I’ve studied Arabic for two years, my vocabulary isn’t really that great, so I’m very far from understanding everything said to me. I have much more respect and empathy for immigrants in the US who don’t understand English very well.
Today was our first day in the college. We had interviews to assess our levels and what subjects we’d like to discuss in our classes, and we have homework now as well! We will have a grade in our class as well, which upsets me a little bit because although it won’t be an official record, I still feel the habitual pressure to make above a 90, which probably won’t happen. I’m forcing myself not to care about the grade so that I can just relax and enjoy my time here.
After class, we had free time in the afternoon. I took a bus to the store I mentioned above to buy some supplies. In the evening, some Omani students came to help us practice our Arabic. We talked for two hours, using only Arabic, which turned out to be very tiring in the end. My partner’s name is Ibrahim.
Tomorrow will be the first real day of class.