Monday, January 12, 2009

Village Girls

Everyday about an hour or two before the sunset prayer call, kids come near our house. They yell, "Cole, come on Cole". He then runs off to go see his friends. They don't speak much English and Cole knows only a few Arabic words, but together they laugh and have lots of fun. Lately Cole and his friends run around chasing each other as it doesn't require any language and kids of all ages can play. Although Cole's friends from the village, are mostly older girls (like in these photos), there are a few young boys that come and play too. The girl in the photo to the right is our favorite.

One day in October Cole, Tai and I were playing outside with some of the kids. Using their hands, they kept telling us to go with them. Before I knew it, we were standing near their house and they were inviting us to come in. I was intially hesitant b/c I wanted to be sure this was alright with their parents, and I was in a T-shirt (although I did have a shawl covering my arms). Once the mothers and grandfather came out to greet us, we then followed them to their house. They all live together- 1 grandfather, 2 grandmothers, 4 daughters and their children. They invited us to sit on mats outside and insisted that we get the shaded area. A few older boys and the grandfather sat away from us. But on the mat was me, Cole, Tai, about 6 or 7 women, and about 10 children. They offered us juice and coffee. I immediatly thought how I wished I had my camera. But at the same time, I know I would've felt hesitant b/c I wouldn't want to be rude. But as soon as we got there, the mothers and older children had their cell phones out taking lots of photos of Cole. They were so curious of us- staring at us. With the exception of one young woman who knew just a bit of English (like mother, brother, and sister) no one spoke English and I don't know any Arabic, so it was a great experience. We all sat there for quite a while. They loved holding Tai and watching Cole. Going to their house was a HUGE hightlight of my time in Oman!

The colorful clothes these girls are wearing is typical of what Omani girls and women wear in their village. When they leave their villages, they put on an abaya, which are black cover up dresses. Abayas have long sleeves, a long shawl like material to cover their heads and usually drag on the ground to cover their feet. At first the abayas might appear to be all the same, but actually there are many varieties. They often have some type of decoration (embroidery or sequins) on the sleeves or near the hems. Abayas come in different materials so some appear casual, while others are more dressy. Some may fit loose and baggy, while others are bit fitting (which seem out of place here). The abayas are very beautiful. When some young women go to a party, I think they may at times wear some skimpy or tight fitted clothing under their abayas b/c I see these women shopping at stores that have short skirts, tank tops, etc. It is quite a contrast to see women covered in abayas shopping at these stores with super short dresses. In the next couple of months, I hope to take more photos of people. I love the people here- so kind, helpful and they LOVE children.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Camping during New Years

Check out the color of this water in the photo below

Can you see Cole? We camped on this beach for 2 nights over New Years. There was white beach as far as our eyes could see with no one on it but us. It was wonderful! Since the moon was only a tiny sliver, the night sky was like a blanket of stars. Throughout our camping trip, I kept thinking how fortunate I am. With the best ever life partner and 2 happy healthy boys, my life has never felt more complete as it does these days.

Cole sits alone watching the waves. Although he can't yet swim, Cole has really gotten into surfing. Thanks to all the surf videos he watched with Eric & the movie Surf's Up, he talks about surfing a lot. He even has his own board (a piece of wood he found during our last camping trip).

eating dinner and watching the sunset

another beautiful sunset

The drive home took us about 8 hours! We took lots of shi-shi breaks for Cole and Tai eats about every 4-5 hours. Both of the boys are such great travelers. Like most babies, Tai loves car rides. And Cole happily played in his car seat, ate yummy snacks, looked at his books and loves our music. Along the way we saw lots of camels, which Cole loved.

Camping with our housemates @ Ras Al Markaz

We drove about 800 km south to go camping for 4 nights with our housemates, Ale (with the hat) and Luca. It was a beautiful trip. We had this whole huge beach to ourselves! We played, swam, walked, explored, ate well (thanks to our Italian housemates), slept, relaxed and had a great time. Cole loves camping! Ale & Luca are always so wonderful with Cole. We really like living with them. They have added a lot to our lives here. Tai was amazing! He seemed happier camping than if we had stayed home. We plan on taking lots more camping trips while we're here in Oman. If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see our tents & cars near the ocean.

The 4 of us

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tai @ 2 months

I'm a bit embarrassed about this next section of photos b/c I have so many photos of Tai. But I just love how much he smiles and love that he smiles for so long. "Tai" means Peaceful Mind in Japanese. In these next photos, Tai seems to be at peace with his world.

Riyam Park

This is Riyam Park, which is fairly close to our house. But unless it is winter, it is too hot to really enjoy it. Now it is getting much cooler so we're outside lots.

Tai sleeping in the shade while we're having fun @ the park.

random ladies at the park- just wanted to show you how women dress here