This past week was exam week at school. Now, because that's not particularly interesting or fun, I'm going to share instead about something that happened recently within my host family, that made a huge impact on me.
Because my roommate (and host sister) is several years younger than me, lights normally go out at around 8 or 9, and I settle in for a few rounds of solitaire on my AMIDEAST issue Nokia followed by a game or two of Subway Surfer on my iPhone before I go to bed myself.
Sometimes, however, one or both of her parents will call us and something will happen. Sometimes it's the arrival of a late dinner, or new clothes for the family, and sometimes it's a little more sentimental. And last week, it was about my host uncle's suitcase.
I was midway through telling a story when we were called across the hall into my other host sister's room, where the family all sat around a smallish, old-style suitcase. My host uncle sat cross-legged before it, and with the reverence of old memories he removed each item carefully for inspection as it made its way down the line before returning to him.
It took me a few minutes to understand what was going on, but once I did I was extremely excited - this was an opportunity to understand someone else's exchange experience. We passed around pictures and papers, listening to my host uncle tell us the background behind each - this one was a picture of his host family, that one a letter from the embassy.
For me though, easily the most interesting part was the essays. There were two of them, and my host uncle told me he had written them in his first year or two of studying English in the US. One was about Islam, and the other one about his experience with America up to that point. Reading these, the latter in particular, gave me new perspectives on my exchange. Understanding the views and impact of an Omani in America, when I am currently experiencing the reverse, allows me to consider my experience in a different light - and to truly understand how far down the road this will stay with me.
And if months, or even years from now, I can pass around pictures of my time in Oman, and share the stories of things that have happened, then this year will have been a success.
🎶Beggin For Thread - Banks🎶
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.