Oman - Thoughts? Experiences?(21 Posts)
I need some advice, experiences & maybe some WWYDs please. (I'll try not to drip feed but also not to ramble).
DH & I got married last October but have been together going on 5 years. Several times in the last couple years he has mentioned possibly getting a job in the Middle East with his current employer. Previously I had always thought I'd jump at the chance (btw I'm American and all my fam live in the US.)
Well we had DS one in Dec last year & now DH is talking about the possibility of a job in Oman. We are 28 & I am desperate to be a SAHM but seriously doubt we could afford it in the UK. We also only rent our home & I cannot see any way we could save up for a deposit. DH is well respected at his company & the youngest person to gain such a senior role & is always excelling there.
Anyway, re: Oman - is it a nice place to live? Are there many other British people there? A community that I can become part of - preferably with other women in a similar situation to me that I can socialise with?
DH insists it would only be for 5 years to save up some money which is really swaying me as I would love to buy a nice home but I don't see how else we could.
(Sorry one last bit...) just found out BIL & his Canafian girlfriend are expecting but are moving to Canada. So should we consider that DH's parents would be "losing" both grandchildren? Our DS is their first.
This is all a big what if & may not even come about but I found I couldn't sleep as it was playing on my mind.
Thanks for reading.
I'm in Asia so I have no personal experience of Oman, but I do know there is a big expat community there.
I'd say if your employer was offering a good package (ie good housing allowance, medical, etc) I would jump at the chance to be a sahm if that's what you really want.
If the salary is good, it will be your chance to save for a deposit and get on the housing ladder when you decide to come back.
Re the grandparents, my parents don't have any of their grandchildren living nearby, they have learned how to skype and FB- a big deal at heir age. We visit the UK every summer and have a holiday with them. They are still very involved with our lives, but it does depend on their attitude, my parents have been great, MIL is a handwringer, won't contemplate even trying Skype or email (she only 75) and complains endlessly about the lack of photos etc. We just brought her out here for a holiday and she ignored the dc most of the time anyway.
We live in Oman and are very happy.
There is a large ex-pat community of many different nationalities.
Muscat is very different to the UAE that I have seen. It's much less gaudy than Dubai, there are no skyscrapers here as no building is allowed to be greater than 8 stories.
Would your husband be working for PDO?
Feel free to PM me if you have any other specific questions.
Given your frame of mind I'd say go without a doubt.
Expatriation in the main ME and Asia outposts is very easy. You'll find a large expat community (both English and US) and lots of like minded families with stay at home mums given its hard to get a work visa. The American woman's association is a great meeting point since you won't have school age children. They usually organise lots social/sporty events (although not sure how active they are in Oman specifically.)
There is no better time for this. You are just starting a family, have access to live in help and no worries about school placements for another 4-5 years.
Career wise, these postings are often a great way to quickly further seniority, kickstart or revive a career. There are often further opportunities down the line too if you wanted to stay, move on to another posting and hey, you're building up that deposit to buy a home should you wish to come back!
The situation with grand parents is a tough one be we all learn to manage. Be prepare to have them stay with you for extended periods of time!
All the best!
Thanks for your comments so far.
fatowl It would definitely depend on his benefits - we'd hope to get an increase in the annual salary (tax free - I think?!) plus have very little bills to pay when we get out there because of things like you said such as housing allowance. His parents are definitely capable of skype and the like and his dad could easily afford to fly out to visit several times a year - plus we'd hope to get some family flights back to the UK included in the benefits package (on par with what others in his company have received).
complex I'll send you a PM if this becomes much more real. I'd hope we would get a week or so out there before having to decide so that we could see what it is like and then make a final decision. I figured there was a lot of expats as I believe Oman used to be British ruled? I don't know what PDO is so maybe that means no he wouldn't be?!
master Thanks. I definitely think you are right - it is the perfect time as we wouldn't be messing with kids schools/friendships/etc. I'd like to have another baby in 18 months/2 years time so would be likely to do that while there as well.
Thanks for your words all, I'll probably be posting again if this becomes a reality. DH said he'd likely know more in March as his boss is moving out there then & is going to asses the situation but has mentioned several times that he thinks there are roles that DH would be really beneficial to have.
I think if you have the opportunity you should go for it. I think there are so many positives you have listed, and if you don't do it you might look back and wish you had!
Keep us posted...
We visited Oman a year ago with an eye towards moving there. I found it to be way too sleepy for my liking. We also visited the British school (I think! maybe American?) and it was nice, but it didn't have facilities like you would find in bigger ME outposts.
That said, it's incredibly beautiful & I think you'd have a much better chance of your children immersing themselves in the culture & learning Arabic than you would in Dubai, etc.
Go, it's lovely!
Make sure your package includes housing, flights home, medical, car and schooling. Some packages look great, but things can be expensive and you could find yourself struggling. We've not lived in Oman, but know plenty of people who have and not one has wanted the leave, contracts etc mean they had to.
We've lived in Dubai - love love loved it! Even though we lived next door to the airport, it was amazing.
Friends of ours who lived in Oman used to 'visit' Dubai every 6 weeks or so just because they could. His wife and her mates - other expat wives - would take off for long weekends too.
We wished we had left the UK when our kids were small, the lifestyle is great for kids.
My il misses the kids, but Skype and FaceTime mean we talk every week, just make sure you 'Go Home' to see them or even better, have them come out for a holiday. We live in Saudi, so any visitors that want to come have to get a visa from the Saudi Embassy before coming. They sometimes refuse to issue them, once they do that, it's hard to get them to change.
The downsides, well, kids can be really confident, have no idea how kids 'Back Home' live. My ds was horrified that his old school friends in the UK weren't planning on going to Uni. It's kind of a given here, you leave school at 18/19, then go to College. My c are used to be driven everywhere, catching a bus in the UK is a weird experience 'You mean you have to put your hand out to make it stop??'
If you don't give it a try, you'll always wonder.
Oman is sleepy and Muscat is small, so if you're a committed city girl, you might find it a bit limiting. However, due to its size, the expat community is easier to break into than that of it's glitzier next door neighbour. It's very friendly. You can drive into Dubai in a few hours anyway, so totally do-able for weekend trips.
I am curious about how the expat communities work - do you turn up on day 1 and join a club or is it primarily through your neighbors or... ?
Do people tend to stick with their own "nationality" groups?
Is it really like a trip back to high school, as I've heard with some frequency? Does everyone know each other?
They will fall upon you like a pack of starving dogs, so desperate will they be for news from beyond the wall . The good thing about expats is that they're typically always in the market for new friends and will just chat to randoms. Here in Hk the non- English speakers tend to hang around together, especially the French, but the native English speakers mix it up quite a lot. I have a lot of Aussie friends here.
Oman is the jewel in the crown of the Middle East, An absolutely fabulous place to live with lovely locals.
There's a very large expat community, you could make friends from all over the world - not just British ones. Did Britain rule Oman? No. Not in a British Raj type scenario. There is however a historical connection and its safe to say Oman and Britain do enjoy an extremely close friendship.
You want to be a SAHM and that's good because there really is very little scope for an expat wife to be a working wife. Yes there are jobs but they very rarely get to the stage of being advertised, its usually all done on a nod and wink to a pal kind of scenario.
Someone further up mentioned the American Womens Guild, yes it still exists but like the Womens Guild (the British Version) they are shadows of their former selves and apart from the odd coffee morning they don't really seem to exist for any other reason. I think facebook and the creation of groups like Muscat Mums have been the death knell of the more established groups that came about in the early 70's when being and expat (or the wife of a local) really was all about going abroad to a very different experience. To be frank, I really don't see what the fuss is about nowadays.
So, in brief, there are loads of people for you to make friends with, hospitals, schools, the chance to be a SAHM, nice places to live, nice things to do at the weekends and in the evenings, lovely places to go to on holidays from here. Its a really nice place to move to and doesn't need much overthinking. Just come
Oh and I'll be the first to mention the driving - yikes!
Oman is beautiful and you will have a lovely life there as a SAHM with lots of friends and activities for you and the children to enjoy.
I lived there as a late teen and I loved it. I have visited many times since and it's still as lovely, but with more things to do.
I really don't mind the driving, people are generally considerate and obey traffic lights. I suppose 6 years driving in Istanbul has changed my perceptions.
I am glad that some posters have commented on Muscat being sleepy, it is. But then that is one of its charms as far as I am concerned, I always find it a relief to get back from Dubai on those few occasions I find myself there.
What appeals to us about Muscat may well turn other people off.
See, after living here for close on 38 years, and learning to drive here, I now find the driving scary at times.
I lived there as a teen as well and loved it, really really want to go back but DH not up for it at all. It's changed a lot since I came back (1997) but still go back for hols an would love to live there again. I'd be off in a flash if we had the option
I live in the Gulf and I have a few friends who live, or have lived in Oman. Compared to the rest of the ME/Gulf it is renowned for being super-friendly (the Omanis themselves, much less up themselves than other GCC citizens) small, cosy, and with a beautiful landscape. It's more diverse and pretty - not just skyscrapers then rubble.
It's the place expats go all misty-eyed and wistful over whenever it is mentioned. But life out here is pretty cushy for most British/American expats in good jobs, and a lovely lifestyle with small children, so I'd say it would be a great opportunity for you to really enjoy life and save money for a home at the same time.
DH just been offered a job in Oman!!
I haven't been but know several people who have moved to Oman. All have been very happy - it is a great place for young children and there seems to be lots to do.
I would absolutey go for it!
Only visited on hols - stayed at the al bustan about 8 yrs ago. Would move there like a shot. Lovely country and great people.
I'm interviewing for two teaching positions one at Muscat International School the other for United Private School. Can you give me any feedback on either or both schools. What are they like, are they 'good' schools or should I think twice? I've heard great things about Muscat so don't really have any concerns about moving there....but I would like to be happy in my work environment and if it's only stress then I can stay where I am!
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