Who are you?
My name is Heather Duncan and I am a Scottish Expat living in Muscat, Oman
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
We arrived in sunny Muscat in September 2012 after my husband accepted a job offer to work in the country full time.What challenges did you face during the move?
At the time of accepting the job offer we were engaged but were not yet married, due to moving to a Muslim country if we wanted to live together we must be married.
The clock was ticking if we wanted the job so we had to move quickly, my then fiancée was working away at the time (this was standard for his job) so it was upto me to arrange a whole wedding in just 3 weeks. He flew in for the wedding and flew back out just 3 days later. I joined him in Oman 2 weeks later.
How did you find somewhere to live?
We checked out some areas online and had some recommendations of neighbourhoods from other Expats. Luckily we found a perfect house quickly as the landlord had been let down by previous tenants. We lucked out on that one as real estate here can be lengthy. The houses can be very large and grand Arab style, it took us a long time to make the house look furnished and homely.
Are there many other expats in your area?
We live in an area where there are a good mix of Expats and Locals, this works well for us because we get to mingle with everyone and don’t see ourselves as any different from one to the other. Oman is a peaceful, safe country and there are no need for compounds and barriers to divide people.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
The majority of locals in Oman are warm, friendly people who will welcome you to their country and show you some of their famous Omani hospitality.
What do you like about life where you are?
I love the variety my life overseas can bring, It can be spontaneous and exciting and never boring. The winter months bring perfect weather for outdoors sports, camping and BBQ’s.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
I am on my husbands family visa meaning that he supports the family I cannot get a job myself. I really miss being able to buy things with my own hard earned money.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
For me, the biggest difference was finding suitable clothing. I come from the UK where women dress how they please, living in a Muslim country (where the weather is so hot you just want to take off your clothes) there are many more cultural and religious things to consider.
How does shopping (for food/clothes/household items etc.) differ compared to back home?
Generally I can get a lot of my clothes here but they work out a lot more expensive so when I travel back to the UK I definitely stock up on essentials.
What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
What shocked me about the Middle East is just how easy it is to get any kind of fast food delivered direct to your door. Buying decent/organic/healthy foods from the grocery store can be pricey so sometimes eating out is the cheaper and easier option, not for my waist line though.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
I would advise people to enjoy the adventure, life can throw some funny things at you but it’s all about how you handle them. Oman is an amazing place to be, especially for families, so embrace it.
What are your plans for the future?
Now that is a tough question for an Expat, we lead such transient lives its hard to know if we will still be in the same place next year. What I hope for is that my family continues to be healthy, strong and wherever we are in the world that we will be together and happy.