While I was thinking about what to write about this year’s Christmas, I tried to recall what happened last year, and up until I decided to go back to my entry I could not remember anything about what happened on December 25, 2010. And you know what was funny? When I did go back to that post, I saw that I entitled that one The Christmas JG and I will Never Forget. I thought it was pretty ironic since five minutes ago, I could not remember a single memory of that day. But if you did not try to read that link, it was really a pun on my part because nothing much happened that day.
This year here in our new side of the world, it’s basically the same. Oman also being a Muslim country, does not recognize such a holiday. We did have a good Christmas party with the embassy staff a few days ago, it was simple and fun, but December 25, was solemnly spent at home, outside it was business as usual for everybody else.
Nevertheless Christmas here is also very different from that of Libya, because at least here, you kind of at least feel it, subtly, but you know it is around. Unlike in Libya, non-Muslims are free to celebrate it as they please without any hindrances from the government or the locals. In Libya, you are not allowed to decorate the exterior of your house with Christmas trimmings, (which was why I found it funny when someone gave us a huge Christmas lantern; JG and I were grateful but had no idea what to do with it afterwards).
Have I mentioned there are several English radio channels here in Oman? Their DJ’s (mostly westerners) acknowledge the coming of Christmas even play Christmas songs once in a while. Many establishments have also launched gimmicks, like raffles, and other stuff. Today I ran into a guy dressed as Santa who was giving out candies at the mall.
Groceries and department stores sold Christmas decors, one even displayed a real Christmas Pine tree, it was hella expensive but hey, I bet someone wasn’t able to resist. We on the other hand opted for the plastic kind, to which we thought was practical; after all we weren’t that crazy about celebrating. We never really did the decorating, event back home in the Philippines, where people are so crazy about the holidays, it starts as early as October. I suppose we got it this year in appreciation to the people of this country who despite not really celebrate this kind of holiday (which is also a bit ironic since this the best place to get Frankincense and Myrr) respect those of us who do, and let us experience it the best way we know how. I personally appreciate this gesture being that it is the most that we have being far away from our homelands.
Nevertheless as I said, today was a pretty quiet one for us. I woke up extra early to chat with my mom via the internet and spent the day mostly catching up on some sleep, and reading. JG and I drove his mom to church later in the afternoon (we both are not very religious people, so we stayed outside and waited until the mass ended), and capped the night playing bowling of all things. And that was pretty much it, it wasn’t so bad, it was just quiet.
A wise lady in an email I received today said that this was a “reflective Christmas” here in Oman, and added that it is “quite nice” – and I couldn’t agree more.
Merry Christmas everyone!