The off-white buildings, the narrow stretch of land between the vast blue sea and the dry rocky mountains, and roads immaculately lined with palm trees – this is what comes to mind when I think of Muscat or Oman.
It’s been a little over three years since I last lived and worked in Muscat before I took off to pursue my higher studies in the United States. Even though my parents continued to reside here, work and school kept me busy and I could no longer make the annual trips back home during summer vacations. However, due to a change of circumstance, I decided to move back to the place that has been my second home since 2009.
Besides the plethora of malls that have propped up, at first glance, time felt like it had stood still in the three years I wasn’t here. But at second glance, It’s easy to spot the changes.
The upward curve in the population, both local and expatriate, has led to a significant socio-economic growth, which in turn has led to a noticeable uptick in Oman’s presence on the global platform.
In hindsight, in 2014 when I was still a graduate student and part of the international student organisation, there was an increased inflow of Omani students coming to educate themselves in universities abroad. The Omanis celebrated their unique cultural identity and established the Sultanate on the map, quite literally. And I would proudly (and nostalgically) attend Oman National Day events and happily stake my claim in the festivities.
It’s always been my home away from home, so I feel happy to be back to contribute my part as Oman makes its way to center stage.