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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hamilton

The first wobble....

It’s hard to believe we have been living in our new home for nearly ten weeks now, as it feels like we have lived here a lot longer. Since my last post we’ve managed to cram a lot in and everything is starting to come together nicely, albeit I did experience my first ‘wobble’ but more on that later….

So, a few weeks ago Danny and I managed to have our first ‘date night’ over here. Thanks to one of Danny’s work colleagues we found a babysitter (Nerie), who was brilliant with Emma. As soon as she arrived, she scooped Emma up, took her in the playroom and played with her so I could finish getting ready. Of course, there were some tears from Emma as we left (plus a few from me), but she went to sleep with no problems (hoorah). Danny and I thought it best to stay local for the first date night, just in case there were any issues, so we went to ‘Wine Wednesdays’ at the Dolphin and it was heaving. Wine Wednesday is where you can pay 12 OMR (roughly £24 per person), for bottomless wine between 7pm – 11pm or it is 10 OMR per bottle (roughly £20).

We went for the latter as nowadays I am a cheap date and I didn’t fancy the 6am wakeup call from Emma the next morning, with a bottomless wine hangover from hell!

It was a great evening though and it was lovely (and important) to have some ‘us’ time.

Talking of the Dolphin, this was our go to venue to watch the Rugby world cup semi-final and final (absolutely gutted on the end result), as they advertised that they were doing Roast & Rugby. The roast dinner was probably one of the best I had ever had, and the beef was tender and cooked to perfection. You wouldn’t think you would want a roast dinner in 30-degree heat, but when you’re sitting in aircon it somehow doesn’t seem to matter.

You may have noticed that I write about going to the Dolphin a lot (and will probably continue to). The Dolphin is a residential resort complex and the reason we go so often is that it’s a five minute drive from where we live, they have a lovely pool area which is partly covered so perfect for Emma (they only charge 3 OMR to use during the week), the variety and quality of food is brilliant (they serve pork and do a smashing sausage and mash), the staff are lovely (they are also Emma’s very own fan club) and to top it off they serve alcohol!

Those who have been following us on Instagram will know that we have been on the hunt for two cars. The main source to look for used cars is a website called OLX (similar to Gumtree). There doesn’t appear to be used car dealerships around (that I'm aware of) and the closest thing to it was a

large dusty car park in Seeb (about a 30 minute drive out of Muscat), where people leave their cars with their phone number in the window and you message them for further details.

We found the main car for Danny fairly promptly through OLX (a Hyundai Tucson), but we do need a second run around for me, as you need to drive everywhere, so it’s not practical to share a car. The search for the second car is proving to be a little more challenging, but fingers crossed we will find something eventually.

We visited the Intercontinental Hotel for a pool day the other weekend (yes, we are slowly making are way around all the hotels out here). It was a decent sized family friendly pool with a lazy river and Emma loved it.

I still sometimes have moments where I think our lifestyle is so surreal, but this is one of the wonderful benefits of living out here.

We ended the day in Tomato, which is one of the hotel’s restaurants and they serve pork, so it was nice to indulge in a pepperoni pizza (rather than beef pepperoni, which is what majority of places substitute pork pepperoni for).

We have finally obtained a licence so that we can purchase alcohol to drink at home (whoop whoop). You buy the license from the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and how much you pay them for it is how much you can spend on alcohol every month from the booze shop i.e. if you pay 50 OMR you can buy up to 50 OMR of booze each month. I have yet to visit the booze shop, but Danny has said the majority of alcohol on offer is American and the costs vary, but you can get a decent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for approx. 5/6 OMR (so £10/£12) and a crate of 24 x beers (we bought Tiger) will cost 17 OMR (£34). You can get Casillero del Diablo brand (Chilean) but they are 8 OMR per bottle (£16, so double of what it costs in the UK). One thing we have noticed since having our wine stock is that it does make us think before we open a bottle of wine if we really want it as we essentially have to ration ourselves, as once you spend your alcohol allowance for the month, you have to wait until the following month to buy more…or you can just go to a hotel and pay a premium for a bottle i.e. 20 OMR (which is about £40 and even then it might not even be a good bottle).

I was contacted via Instagram by Sarah Emery (@sarah_with_a_smile), a fellow expat in Singapore, who was writing a blog post about the unwritten rules in countries around the world and she was asking for the input from other expats and I promptly sent three unwritten rules which I had, so far, discovered in Oman. The end result was posted this week and Sarah received 62 unwritten rules from 14 countries and it really is an interesting and fun post, so if you have 10 minutes go and have a read by clicking here.

Last week I experienced my first wobble since moving here. I was feeling a bit ‘meh’ and didn’t leave the house for a couple of days, choosing to stay in with Emma and do painting, playing etc….this was probably the worst thing I could have done, as when I was on maternity leave I learnt that if I didn’t leave the house I had too much time with my thoughts which can cause me to be a bit of an ‘over thinker’ and anxiety starts to rear its ugly head (the kind of anxiety where you can't quite catch your breath). Low and behold this is what happened last week, a few thoughts that started to swirl around my head are

‘what am I going to achieve by being a stay at home’, ‘what if I don’t make any friends out here’, ‘Am I being a good mum, by letting my daughter watch an hour of Peppa pig, so I can do some housework’.

It was inevitable that I was going to have a wobble, I’m human and will no doubt have some more. Luckily though I have a very good husband, who lifted me out of it and subsequently I have realised that I GET to spend all this quality time with Emma that I will never get again, where as at some point I will be able to pick up my career again, I WILL eventually make a group of friends out here (but I am lucky that I have amazing friends in the UK, just because I don’t see them I am still in contact via whatsapp on a regular basis) and regarding Peppa Pig….sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you gotta do!

And finally, at the end of this month, we have my mum, sister, brother in law, niece and my nephews coming over for a couple of weeks and I could not be more excited as a. I get to see their faces b. It’s my sisters 40th birthday, so we are going to party like it’s her birthday and c. my sister can show me around from when she lived out here (although it was 12 years ago, so I imagine a lot has changed in that time!).

Next post w/c 16 December!

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