Friday, March 29, 2013

LIFE AS A CO-WIFE: update

Just a few updates about life as a co-wife. When I wrote about my co-wife before she lived in her ancestral village and now she lives in the same city as me. This has improved life immeansely. We tend to be on better terms and fight way less because fights always always always happen because of miscommuncation or Shaytaan whispering over the distance of what one doesn't know but imagines. Being closer to one another, visiting eachother's houses, lessens the space to imagine injustice ect.. Now, though I wouldn't have figured it, the two of us like to take lunch together as a family on some days [and I love that she cooks and I don't have to even when it is my day with husband because I HATE cooking sometimes hehehe], and we take the kids to the park. Anything family orientated we like to do together, and we're friends. We like to talk about stuff, and it's nice you know? I think it is only awkward for our husband because he doesn't know how to act since he has two cultures in two different homes, and when we mix all together he doesn't know which culture to speak to us with. Omanis don't say 'please' or 'thank you' to loved ones for example, whereas, for Canadians, this is an absolute must or I ignore him for being rude.
Being closer also means emergancies are easier to deal with. Plumbing explodes? Husband can come and co-wife is okay. Her car gets a flat (and God forbid an Arab woman knows how to put air into her own tires lol) and I am ok.  Kids also are happier, because their "Baba" sees them more. He doesn't spend his time driving back and forth. For this reason we are actually looking to move. To move into the same house or two houses facing the same lot (but with split and seperate levels). Which is what I always wanted (but co-wife's family previously objected to) and is the Sunnah anyways. That way husband can come every night to either wife for 15 minutes or so to make sure she's ok, has everything she needs, and kids can come anytime they need something from their father, you know. My husband spending enough time with my co-wife's kids is important. They need a father-figure, especially since there are two boys!
Also, something major for us, is my husband is looking to adopt. In Oman alot of children get abandoned. Usually these babies are left in Masjids, or at centers, by parents who probably concieved the children without being married. Many parents believe, due to the stigma attached to a person who committs this sin in Omani culture, that their children are better growing up without "a whore" as a mother. Most of the children are never adopted and grow up only with volunteer "mothers" at centers, and have no father beyond the state of the Sultanate. My husband (and I) strongly believe that the purposes of polygamy is to take care of orphans, widows, and divorcees. Also, he dislikes that Omani married couples who cannot concieve are pressured into polygamy by inlaws, instead of fostering an orphan, since polygany in the sunnah was never for the purpose of the husband getting more children from his own means. We have a few couples like this in our "tribe" [lol that still sounds funny to me] and sadly, they feel alienated by the desire for children, but that the only acceptable means to this culturally is polygamy when the wife is barren. These young couples would be much better suited to fostering, which is why my husband would like to set an example in the tribe for this since no one else really will. The stigma of "zinna" babies, alothough Islam preaches no inheritence of the sins of one's forefathers, is rampant. So we are currently looking into that. Though I am not a highly maternal woman in the slightest, and that, along with the conditions set by the state regarding adoption, are things we are looking into. Sometimes one baby is enough for me. OK, so most of the time.So who knows what the future will bring. That's all the updates about us all for now.

For posts I have authored (or co-authored) on polygyny:
http://ilovehishmatheblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/polygyny-guide-for-muslims-from-pixies.html
http://ilovehishmatheblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/polygyny-guide-for-muslims-from-pixies.html
http://howtolivelikeanomaniprincess.blogspot.com/2012/02/confessions-of-co-wife.html

JUMA THOUGHTS: without Allah

 

PURELY PIXIE: Plain black abaya for a date night at the amusement park

 Okay so when I was pregnant my husband took his sister KH, her kids, and a very giant me, to Marah Land, which is kind of this family amusement park here in Oman. Not the safest place in the world to be sure, since KH and her daughter Y almost fell out of the rollercoaster, which is probably why as a kid in Oman, my parents never ever let me go here. Despite, we had a blast, although I was not allowed as a pregnant woman, to go on the aforementioned death-trap-of-a-roller-coaster, for which I was devastastingly jealous. So thus, my husband I have have implemented a date-night strategy, where come every salary, one of us chooses a restaurant, and the other chooses an activity/place. This particular date night the restaurant was my husband's turn. And the activity was all on me. I chose bumper-cars, ferris wheel, cotton-candy and the possibility of plumetting to my death on a badly maintained roller-coaster. Which might be slightly irresponsible parenting.
The thing I enjoy most about date night is dressing up. Otherwise I only get occasion to dress up for work or events which makes my husband intolerably jealous and thus I usually go pretty-boring to those unless otherwise required. This particular night I wore a plain black closed-front abaya that has lace netting and a cascade front with an inner belt. It gives off a sort-of Moroccan-vibe that I love without actually having anything Moroccan about it. I made it myself so yeah, that's pretty cool right?
 Because I knew that we were going to be clinbing up into rides I also wore these cute Burgundy velvet leggings, which are so Omani I could scream, very Kookie&Z. I also wore Moroccan-style ballet flats even though usually I hate shoes. At first I thought of pairing it with my favourite handbag, but despite the outfit-modelling photographs, my husband bought a giant bag of pairs (the fruit) and I wound up carrying a larger tote that I usually use for work.
 Above is my best attempt to photograph the cut of the abaya. Didn't work though. Below is me trying to flash my bling, a gift from my husband. Which I made him put on while he was annoyingly in the middle of a conversation with my co-wife who was apparently recieving the worst customer service ever at Carrefour. Moments like these are when a sister's got to grind her teeth and say to herself, "I've probably done that," and get over it. And I am glad that I did because we had a great time in the end.
Above pictured: the pretty Islamic-style tile work outside the restaurant. Being that it was my husband's turn to choose the restaurant he chose something typically Omani: Yemeni mandhi, which admittedly, I also love. I don't think it is chic, but I do think it tastes good. We sat down to try "Mandi World" which we had never gone to before. It actually DID have the nicest interior and bathrooms of any mandhi restaurant I have ever been to. Mandhi restaurants are like this, little rooms half-enclosed with walls for family seating, carpeted, with Arabic majlis cushions called "wusada" against the wall, where food is served on a big metal tray on top of a plastic sheet. Always, it is eaten seated and with hands.
 Although I loved the atmosphere and the portions were huge when it came to the meat, I just didn't love it like I usually do. The chilly sauce wasn't spicy and the meat was big but flavourless. I guess I prefer the less fancy interior but great food mandhi houses in Muscat;).
 Above, decor, and below, painting on one wall inside:
 Afterwards we drove to Al-Qurum area of Muscat where Marah Land is located. As per tradition I got a small narcissicus flower from my habibi (smells better than any perfume and impossible to bottle).
 My husband is a health-nut so his favourite snack foods are peanuts, sour mango, and fresh corn. Me, of course, I went for cotton-candy, ice cream cone, and pop corn. Admittedly, husband DID try to pinch some of my m&ms. Everybody loves chocolate.
Qurum park is really pretty when it isn't busy, and on the night we went it was practically empty, so it was nice. Busy places and Arab-husbands don't mix when it comes to romance. Marah Land amusement park was also pretty dead beyond babies, and families with kids. So it lended itself nicely to bashing my husband in bumper cars (omigosh I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE bumper cars) and we were the only people who rode the death-trap roller-coaster the whole time we were there. What do you married folks usually do on date-nights? Usually we just hang out at home and watch a movie or go for a walk on a coconut-lined beach but this was so much fun for the kid in me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

STYLISH SISTERS: HiddenInStyle with *Soso*

I myself am not a casual girl. All of my own fashion-faux-pas come from trying to dress down. So I aboslutely admire anyone who can manage to dress casual but chic... Which this one sister via U/K manages to do consumately. Soso from www.hiddeninstyle.blogspot.com has mastered the art of layering the abaya, and also of making high-street looks into jilbab. I definately recommend reading if you are casually-challenged like me;).
Of course, the girl can manage some glamour as well:
Chic, oui?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What I hate about being a Muslim living in the GCC part 1

Oman is supposedly a Muslim-country. Which means, it is easy to buy clothes that meet Islamic standards, Ramadan is recognized with shortened working hours, Eids are National holidays, they have halal skittles, you can find a Mosque to pray in practically anywhere... and that's about it. Moving here I was not so idealistic to think that "Muslim country" means that. It just means alot of people who were born Muslims.

So what does that mean, now that I am here?

NOW #1: Wearing niqab is not easier in Oman than in Canada. The maority of the population in Oman do not wear niqab. No one in my husband's family does except on sister-in-law who teaches at mixed Qu'ran school. She doesn't wear it outside of work.

The majority of the population do not think niqab is a part of Islam so it means explaining one's beliefs to people who are Muslim and born-Arabic speakers yet, have read less than I have on the subject and usually assume convert means knows-nothing-about-Islam and "we need to give her a bunch of books on how to make wudu" .

Serriously, I have a bigger collection of "Islam Basics" "Fasting for dummies and people who like to eat too much" "Wudu for you" "Five Pillars for eejits" and "hey white girl, now that you are Muslim you can't have anal sex you know?"than anybody you know back in Canada.

Some people in Oman wear niqab for tribal/culture/jahiliyia reasons. Such as, it is shameful for a woman to be known to exist by an unrelated male. This is Dhofari by way of Salalah in Oman just-for-your-information. Thus some Omani women hate niqab as it is forced on them and has no religious purpose and is merely a means of male-control by society.

This sucks.

Some women in Oman wear niqab to go on dates with boys. You will smell these girls first usually, with perfume wafting from a mile away, usually pretending to go to a sisters-only-party to family then sneaking off with some dude she met via blue-tooth or a chat group. If you wear niqab with fake blue contact lenses and walk alone without a respectable-looking guy beside you, then Omani guys looking to commit zinna will a. honk at you with thier car horns, b. try to talk to you, c. scare the crap out fo you when they pull over to try to talk to you but accidently nearly run you over instead. Because I do not have brown eyes, and most niqabi women in Oman don't walk without their husbands outside of women's shopping areas or parks, then it is a hassle to wear the niqab. I honestly get bothered less without it on in Oman due to the cultural reasons Omanis assume girls who wear it have something to hide, same as in Canada.

Only benefit is, no one thinks I am a terorrist here (or am married to one) JUST BECAUSE I WEAR NIQAB.

The Omani government has banned the wearing of niqab by those who work in government, and this includes some universities banning the wearing of niqab on campus (like my work---which means I don't wear it 90% of the time now). SO in fact, that makes Oman worse than Canada if you think about it. Like, in league with the French or something.

NOW #2: My GCC husband isn't rich. The "Khaleeji-life" for most isn't "living the dream" with maids and what not and mansions and designer stuff. I work full-time and really hard. My husband, bless his heart, could work two jobs and still not make enough for the liefstyle I can afford myself, here or in Canada. That's just life. Not all Khaleeji guys are rich and alot of Omanis are near impoverished. I just happen to be friends with alot of Omani girls who are exceptions to that rule because I grew up an oil brat right? The rich kids went to my expat schools and my expat clubs. We also share some of the same interests, like fashion and a love of London and our friends IN London. So that's how it is.

I still see myself off as a lot better off financially than sisters who are starving in Palestine or losing loved ones in Syria or something. Oman is very safe. Life can be basic but there is a luxury in the pace and possibility of life here. And alhamdulilah the skills and education Allah blessed me with come in handy towards working towards the kind of life I want for my family, and give me the means to help my fellow sisters out from time to time (I wish more). Alhamdulilah right?

NOW #3: The Muslims are not better here. In fact, it can be harder to find the good Muslims because at least in Canada the Muslims who looked like Muslims usually prayed and fasted at least right? Here cultural Muslims abound (ok, there they did too) but at least there you know what people do for the non-Muslims and the sake of being better off. Here one is better off to BE a Muslim. Or at least to have some Muslims think you are one of them.

That means there's a alot of people here who converted to Islam to get some benefit out of it. Which really annoys me and well, because it can make people assume things about me.

Omanis are really sweet. They don't treat you bad if you became a Muslim to marry your husband (I didn't and wish not everyone thought so) like alot of people do, in like, say Emirates (and treat you bad if you just plain old married a local as a non-local anyways). Omanis just say mashaAllah on the ajr for the man.

But some of the people converted just to get married didn't really convert. So they say bad stuff about hijab, and don't pray except if someone might see them NOT praying, and mix Islam with the culture and take what they want and leave the rest.

Really annoying!

Or to get a better job. To get promoted at work, or to get shorter hours during Ramadan.

Serriously?

Bogus.

The fake annyoing convert girls really annoy me. "My mother and father will kill me if I go home!" so that some poor sucker Omani family will pay their rent and buy them nice clothes and sponsor them with a visa.

OK, I know genuine helpess convert girls exist.

But I know some fake ones too. They like the flash of Khaleeji culture and usually take advantage of other converts by borrowing money, or some beyond-words-nice-Omani family by asking for the moon and well, faking that they're Muslim to get free stuff.

PLus they bad-mouth Westerners and make Omanis think all non-Muslim Westerners are bad which no real convert will try to do.

Why do they do that?

To try to make people feel even more sorry for them.

Western culture is unknown and scary to some sweet old Muscat Omani lady whose never travelled. Such a lie is easily believed.

How do I know that they are fake and not just some bad Muslim?

Because I know. I know what they tell their non-Muslim friends. It's like that ayah from surah al-baqrah, 2:14: "And when they meet those who believe, they say, "We believe"; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, "Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers."

And usually they try stupid-*&& stuff like pretending that they wear hijab when they don't. This can even include using photoshop.

DOn't get me started about the fake convert-dudes which are always some scammer COpt-Christian from Egypt (at least in Oman----Christians aren't allowed to scam people either bro).
That's just bizaare to me.  Alhamdulilah I only currently know 3 women like this, and 2 guys. I'm stuck knowing them because 1 owes my friends money, the other stole something from a friend's house, and the guys like, scammed a whole bunch of people, including the poor Omani girls that were dumb enough to marry them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PURELY PIXIE: very baby-girl in pink bows and pearls

When I was about due to have my daughter Um Alawi came to stay with me along with her girl, Sabr. Sabr brought along with her, her Eid a abaya which was this GORGEOUS front open abaya trimmed with yellow silk with a cascade fall in the front. I coveted it. It was an Emirati souq-style abaya but I managed to find from Splash here in Oman a Tamaara brand abaya in the exact same cut. Not really my size, and trimmed on baby pink poly-chiffon (I hate poly-satins and chiffons) but it was on sale for 9 Omani rials (which is a steal) so I got it.
It is front open, but just barely (you can see my tiger-striped harem pants sticking out just the slightest ways) but being it is not my size it is the devil to walk in. Cascade cuts always are unless you wear high heels and stand around alot. I do wear it out alot though, since it was so cheap, I wear it when I want something dressy but that I could afford to ruin. Like dates in Mutrah with my husband!:
I apologize for not having any better far-away veiws of the abaya. Husband is against this part of the blog and I make do where I must;):

STYLISH SISTERS: Arwa, our very own, from Oman!

 Arwa is an Omani girl (and perhaps just for that reason alone I love her) who is obsessed with cosmetics and just being a regular girl hanging out in Oman (all the places we love to go, like Shatti). Check out her blog: http://arwasblogpage.blogspot.com/ which I recently just rediscovered.
 And modest and cute under her abaya too!:
She gives alot of makeup advice and styling tips, plus I love her party eyeliner style. I have to try that the next edgier wedding I get invited to lol: