Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life in Al Athaiba

 I had pretty much been homeless, a guest in many houses, until I was introduced to a non-Muslim American girl [CH] who happened to have arrived on the same flight I had flown out on all those years before. We both shared a deep love for Oman and she arranged for me to takeover her studio in Al Athaiba knowing I had the worst salary at the time, and couldn't afford much. Her place was one of those very lucky finds in the Muscat real estate rental market. It was a huge detached room with a bathroom on a Zanzibari-Omani families' villa. They were the kindest landlords and rent was amazing. Also, the rooftop was all mine to sit outside and enjoy the sun and Muscat evenings.
When I'd come to Oman I'd only made purchases of some pillows, a mirror, dishes, and some pots, laundry baskets, and candles. What I'd brought with me were my favourite Islamic books, a Ralph Lauren bedspread, some clothes, an Iranian carpet, and other knickknacks that contained personal memories. Pictured above are a couple of those knickknacks on the bedside table. CH basically gave me everything she owned: bed, bookcase, airconditioner, bedside table, wardrobe, cookware, oven, fridge, mattresses, chairs, table... Her kindness made me ashamed at Muslims who judged her when they themselves were worse than she. May Allah reward her, and I know she understands Islam. If it weren't for all the bad Muslims she knew, I am sure she would be a better Muslim than all of us.
I used these laundry baskets for storage when I'd been hauling around all my stuff looking for a place to live. They looked lovely at the foot of CH's bed, against the three-toned walls she'd painted turquoise, grey, and spring green to make the studio seem like different spaces.
I tried to hide the airconditioner with some straw decorative objects.
Most studios in Oman and alot of rentals don't come with kitchens in Oman---one is expected to use a hot plate if they want to rent a space in Muscat under 200 Omani rials. CH had custom-fitted the kitchen cabinets and shelves into the space and handed her oven and fridge on to me. I fell in love with floating shelves (they kept me neat and tidy) and learnt how to cook here.
I made a reading nook on the other side of the bookcase and took CH's kitchen table outside so I could dine al fresco on the rooftop. Honestly, I loved it here, and resisted moving when my husband came and wanted to leave because of my admittedly problematic bathroom. The neighborhood was very safe to walk around, my friends Majda, Sadiqah and Zainith and I all had rocking iftars together during Ramadan, and I mean, I couldn't GET a better price and landlord in Muscat. I spent my Eid's with Dr. Y's adopted sister's daughter R +cousins, and neice Sara & I enjoyed eating out in Khuwair & Bareeq al Shatti. Dear flat, I honestly do miss you.
I adopted a loving orange cat here since I felt so at home :) . My Kitty "CB" just sitting in the Majlis in the hall (was so safe I'd leave lots of things in the hallways and in the stairwell).
Right down the road from my flat was Ghubra Lake park, and the Chedi hotel:
Which, I'd recommend walking down the park to the beach in Athaiba to get the best Zanzibari mishakeek in Oman {lamb kebob that is like a fresh, healthy version of beef jerky}:
I don't love the soup as much but my husband and I decided we'd try it as well.
That was life in Al Athaiba. Thanks be to Allah, CH, W&wife, and Majda and Sadiqa I miss you girls!!!!

1 comment:

New Wife said...

mashaAllah its such a cute little place :-)

sometimes I wish i lived in a studio apt. it would force me to get rid of a bunch of junk and it seems that cleaning would be much easier... :-P