Stella: Naija Expat Wife
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Oman, etc.
I am Stella, a Nigerian and an International Commercial Lawyer, married to an Oil and Gas expatriate presently based in Muscat, Oman, and a Mum to an adorable girl (our princess).
We moved to Oman in 2011, and ever since, it has been a process of adapting to motherhood and a new environment at the same time.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging about my experience on the 2nd of May 2013, which was a day after the new weekend took effect in Oman. I had to inform my family and friends back home that weekend in Oman was no longer “Thursdays and Fridays” but “Fridays and Saturdays”. Their responses were hilarious and I said to myself that it is time to let them know more about our adventure here in Oman.
The best way I felt I could do this was through blogging, and now my readers have gone beyond family and friends.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Hmmm! This is hard to pick … at the moment, I would say this one; it was a night ‘Stella got her groove back’, as an African in Oman.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Oman differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Life here is different from life back home because it is more conservative here as opposed to what we have back home.
To an extent, it was not much of a trouble getting used to the new circumstances because the company my Husband works for tried to make sure we are comfortable here, but on my own part, I had difficulty combining adapting to motherhood and the new environment at the same time.
Also, it can really be boring here, and I didn’t know much about social media in Oman for expatriates. I had to get a part time job with a consulting firm to keep my brain busy and make me forget boredom. My blog has also helped me communicate how I feel and keep in touch with family and friends in diaspora …it’s been fun.
Although the culture and religion here are interwoven, I didn’t really experience culture shock, because I have been living abroad for a while now and actually moved from Aberdeen, Scotland (which apparently also has a different culture from where I am originally from) to this place. So I was open to adapting to the culture here … Life is a learning process.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Oman? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
To be honest, I never heard of the country Oman until my husband informed me we were going to move here … I remember asking him “is that a country?”
So, I was not fully prepared. If I could change some preparations, I would have made further research about this place. If I had researched, I would have found social media for expats (like this site), it would have helped with the process of adapting.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I can remember walking to my car in the parking lot of a mall, and some kids called me ‘Rasta’ …Hahaha!!! … I had to ask of the meaning and someone told me it was because I made my hair in tiny long braids.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Oman?
- Understand that things would definitely be different once you move to a new environment. Be Patient! And move with the flow.
- Research! Research!! Research!!! …Find out about the areas expatriates live, Nurseries and schools (for those coming with kids), the culture here etc. Also, try to contact those already living through forums like this to clarify any question.
- Keep an open mind, Omanis are friendly and welcoming.
How is the expat community in Oman? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The Expat Community in Muscat is good, but it took me some time to find like–minded people because I was not really outgoing based on the fact that I was pregnant when we moved in, so I had to take time to adjust.
How would you summarize your expat life in Oman in a single, catchy sentence?
Don’t judge a book by its cover …I thought it wouldn’t be fun here, but it has been.