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Last week was amazing! I managed to speak at the Extraordinary Women Conference that was held on 18th of March in Oman. This was the 3rd edition of the yearly event and being invited to speak and labeled as extraordinary was quite something that I didn't expect.

The talk was basically about my Antarctic trip and all its ups and downs. Given that my sponsorship contracts with all parties involved have ended, I can speak about the expedition without being tied down to what events or publications I should speak or write to. My Antarctic series can finally see the light of day! Yay!

Interestingly while my talk ended and the room for Q&A was opened, I was asked if going to the Antarctic and being this public figure meant social suicide. The question stopped me in my tracks and got me to contemplate long and hard on the answer. Once I did, my answer was ‘Yes, but at least I am doing it in style’.

Realizing my dreams has always had a double edge sword aspect to them, where if I do them society would hate me for it and if I don’t I would hate myself. My main principle I live by in life has and always will be making myself happy before anyone else and I owe the sole reason behind this logic of mine to my mother. She is a strong fabulous amazing woman, who has done nothing but struggle and fight the fight many are afraid to take; she fought for her right to pursue her dreams only for them to be shattered one by one by a society who were so threatened and cared more about their image than anything else.  I am so blessed to call her mom because she truly understands my thirst for adventure and the unconventional; she never undermines my dreams no matter how over the top they may seem. She simply understands it so well because she once had skyscraper high dreams that had she taken them up, she would have laughed a little louder, smiled a little wider and lived the life she always wanted  instead  of being forced to fall in line with the acceptable way of leading a female’s life within societal and tribal boundaries. She locked up all her dreams and swallowed her tongue to fall silent and short of making any of them come true, but promised herself and said ‘One day if my children were ever to have aspirations, which may seem absurd to all, I will make them see the light of day’.

I have had my fair share of criticism on the way I lead my life and even though I don’t care what people have to say about it, it is still considered social suicide to them. I am a 28 year old who is still not married and apparently I am too old and nobody would want me anymore *insert sitcom laugh track*. I have heard them owing the reason to my ovaries; supposedly they have dried up, my mental instability; anyone who dreams big is not normal in the head, or even worse that I am too ‘free’ and not as coy as how girls should act.  They claim I have an attitude problem and walk with my head in the clouds because I am unrealistic in my choices and what I want from life. They claim I look beneath people as if I own the universe and that I am too intimidating to men to even have them consider me as a life partner. So what? Who cares?

I have been nurtured and encouraged by an extraordinary woman who taught me to be assertive, accomplished and independent. I refuse to take all of that back and pretend to be something less than what I am. I refuse to be the picture perfect candidate who speaks in a soft voice while fluttering her lashes all innocent and shy for a suitor who is not my choice. I refuse to lower my expectations for someone who just wants me to be a domestic worker by day and baby-maker by night. I refuse to be married just for the sake of making my relatives happy. I refuse to settle for anything less because of the looming fear of a future with no children. I refuse to quit my media job because nobody wants a public figure who has a bigger personality and impact than their counterpart. I refuse to conform to anyone’s standards but mine!  Why should I? My life is not a catastrophe waiting for prince charming to save me. My life is nothing but exquisite. I enjoy every single moment of it, the crushing heartbreaking sad parts as well.  And while I may want a future that has possible three giggly curly haired children and a loving embrace from a supportive husband in the background that does not define who I am. Why do we have to associate a female's life always with the need to be married as soon as possible? Why? It is what I have gone through that defines me and not who's wife I may become. And for who I am right now; I am swollen with pride and delight in crossing off more from my bucket list than any have had on theirs combined. 

So this ladies and gentlemen is my social suicide apparently. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show while I do it in style *takes a bow*.


And on the occasion of Mother’s Day, I would like to profess my undying love to my superwoman. Happy Mother’s Day Mamati I love you!

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Literacy and literature are two separate entities altogether. Being literate means that you can read and understand but to be into literature means that you not only understand but taste and feel the words shared. I find that our society mix these two things together. We are not the best people when it comes to appreciating art or literature for that matter. We tend to turn a shut eye to things that seem to be complex to read or comprehend. And this example is always evident during the book fair season when Omanis suddenly become literature seekers when the majority of them aren't. Most of them just end up flipping through novels to find something outrageous to make a big deal of. Last year it was a book called ‘Melh’, which translates to ‘Salt’, that had some of its story scraps talk about something too obscene according to our culture but really relates to something that is reality and the case in many relationship stories you hear; non-marital intimacy. This year it’s a novel called Al Rola which despite the message and the story, the focus is on a few sentences of the book that describes a rape scene of an innocent boy and what he has to go through in his mind to come to terms with what happened to him. The uproar every year reaches to a point that at the beginning of March of every year Majlis Al Shura calls on the interrogation of the Minister of Information to hold him accountable on the books he allows the censorship board to pass to the Omani market. And every single year it is the same response of apologizing and making sure that the board will get punished for what they allowed to be spread like dirty laundry.


‘Most writers and poets are agnostic’ they say and that is the justification given on why they can write about these things without thinking about the consequences and repercussions it may have on our society. The argument is that with this type of literature, we are encouraging more and more of our youth to read such 'pornography' even if it is a few sentences in hopes of sending out a larger message. Errrm hello have you heard of 50 Shades of Grey? Have you seen the fascination of waiting for the clear version to be available on torrent for download? If that’s what you fear, then ban the internet because the influences of the World Wide Web are way bigger than a few sentences in a book. Why can’t we talk about these issues and preach to have the messages expressed in the books addressed? The number of child sexual abuse cases in Oman is simply hidden. Families conceal these facts because society would judge them had they known that their daughter is no longer a virgin because she was abused as a child, or their son is no longer 'a man' because he was raped by someone the age of his father.  Why? It's high-time we stop hitting around the bush and either read a book in its entirety to get the gist of why that passage was even mentioned, or just stop making a scene altogether and giving something bigger publicity than it deserves if you want people to shut up about it. 


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I had quite an unusual week to say the least. Things just seem to pop up and happen in the most random of ways. The most random of all must be the ending of last night though; a bunch of friends and I attended the premiere of the new Sponegebob movie, Sponge Out Of Water and for those who know me know that I haven't ever sat and watched a full episode of Spongebob! Heck, I didn't even know that he lived in a town called Bikini Bottom till yesterday. I really never did.

Anyhow, fast forward to the movie itself and I found myself laughing till I teared up. It was just the movie you need when you need to let loose and not think at all. But that's not where it stopped, part of the movie requires Spongebob and Plankton to actually travel back in time and while watching that part the most trippiest song played and got  stuck in my head. Literally speaking, it's a song you would only enjoy while you are high merely based on the fact on how random it is. Movie was done and the song was still stuck in my head so I downloaded it and it's been on repeat ever since.

Maybe it's the effect that movie had of lightening up my recent darker mood? Or maybe my music taste is weird? All I know is I'm addicted to the most dumbest random song ever!



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Being the Piscean that I am, I usually tend to escape into my own fantasy world where that question takes center stage. What if your life was different to what it is today? What if a scenario that was supposed to happen actually did and changed you drastically? You might not meet this new personality of yours or might not even come to know some of the people around you if those set of events were to happen. But then again, what if?

It’s quite refreshing to explore the unknown. I do this all the time and sometimes it’s depressing to think that what your set of goals and dreams were in the past have changed. With time we all grow and with that our aspirations are either realized or mature to become something quite nominal and insignificant. It’s the principal of change that seems quite appealing to me. I like change and I like how life sometimes gives you ready-made lemonade rather than having to make your own with dried awful sour lemons. It might be forced on you or it might come naturally but playing that what if scenario in your head and realizing the change that has come out of it is always a breath of fresh air.

Don’t you think?


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It’s been quite a while since I have written for myself. Lately, it has always been directed towards somebody and I realized that’s the sole reason behind my diminishing passion to write.  I need to start writing for me again, so I am taking up this challenge to see if I am up for it. Here’s to the beginning of something different :) 

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June 2007, a month we, Omanis, will always remember. Whether you were out of the Sultanate during that time or were a witness to what was the worst natural disaster, we all recall very clearly what we were doing the moment the news broke. I was abroad at the time working as a researcher, clueless to the fact that something so radical was going to change our perception. I remember relaxing on my sofa after a long day at work only to watch the weather forecast on BBC and my country being called out. I literally froze in my place as the announcement was made that a Super Cyclonic Storm was heading to my birthplace and my home. Reaching out for my phone to call my family, it was instantly disconnected and the worry began to creep in stronger every second. Gonu hit Oman that dreadful summer seven and a half years ago and it changed our outlook on what to take for granted and what not to.

Interestingly though, this cyclone was a blessing in disguise and secretly many were happy that it somehow happened. We got to show our kids and young family members what solidarity really meant. Unity was there live in action, every skin color, race and tribe all working hand in hand to assist and reach out to those stranded and in need. The aspect of it wasn't only secluded to those in Oman at the time but spread to those who were away as all Omanis came together to console and calm those around them while we experienced what we called the most colossal natural disaster of our lives.  It didn't matter who you were so long as you held the red passport embossed with the two swords and the mighty Khanjar in its center.  We showed the world and our neighboring countries that we were a force to be reckoned with.

The communal action of June 2007 reminded me of an Arabic proverb that says ‘Unity is Power’.  I still recall how that proverb in third grade Arabic class was taught to us; using the metaphor of the jungle. How the animals, big and small, came into coalition to help the huge elephant who fell into a trench trap. But then, you grow up and the proverb gets translated into a way different concept than that we have learnt. We learn that grownups differentiate between each other and claim superiority on one another defeating the purpose of those value lessons absorbed and learnt. We discover that it is normal to label each other names, which some do not exist anymore, and even go as close as not mixing with certain people in the name of supremacy. Why? Why should tribalism define who we are?

Oman boasts itself for having a multicultural community; we come from various walks of life to form a country that is proud of its heritage and accomplishments throughout centuries. We are a country that once upon a time stood as a grand empire in the face of injustice and have become the peaceful nation we are. We have various cultures and sects that live in harmony which most Arab countries are jealous of. However, if we place a magnifying glass on our society, we would see that we clutch on prejudice and blame it on Arabian tribalism. Marriage for instance takes the cake; if you are from certain so called tribes, you can’t marry into certain tribes because they either are supposedly socially beneath you, or aren't pure enough or, better yet, migrated to the country and have no roots here. It is saddening that this mentality still exists while living in a civilized society.

Tribal connections once upon a time formed a powerful force against external enemies and created a collective identity. However, nowadays that isn't the case, tribalism in my opinion stands as the greatest obstacle to advancement of a country that needs further development. Why can’t we remove those red hazardous lines and cross them? After all, we have all established that we love our country and would like to see it move forward to an even better positioning in the global world. Why can’t we all unite and forget our race, color and tribes and practice unity and solidarity just the way we do when disaster strikes? 

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For the first time Oman is hosting a global amateur go-kart tournament. The Red Bull Kart Fight is about finding the fastest amateur go-kart driver in Oman. The national final winner will get the chance to compete in the World Final which will take place in Austria’s Red Bull Ring in February 2015 and become the Red Bull Kart Fight World Champion. 

If anyone is interested keep in mind that today is the last day for you to qualify for the event if you are above 16 years old (At Oman Automobile Association Grounds). And the top drivers who set the best time will compete in the National Final on Friday 12th December at 5:00pm. 

Also, I have 2 passes for Go Karting to giveaway but all you simply have to do is answer this question and email it to r.albusaidi[at]gmail.com along with your contact details. 

Where will the World Final of Red Bull's Kart Fight going to take place? 






Back to the blogosphere with a BANG!

Thanks to Red Bull, I have a chance for you and a friend to enjoy a CPD Co-Pilot Experience with Dado during the upcoming Red Bull Car Park Drift Qualifiers happening this Friday 17th of October. Basically you’ll be part of the action inside the car as Dado drifts around the arena in Oman Automobile Association.

Now for you to simply enter the draw and stand a chance to win, you’d have to answer this question correctly:

What year marked the first-ever regional competition series with 10 countries competing in the final event? 


Good luck! And girls you can take part in this too so don’t be shy :D


Hint: Pssst! The answer to the question can be found on redbull.com/cpd 


Hello from chilly Ushuaia where the temperature is a lovely 6 degrees Celsius. Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and is, literally, the End of the World! The trip to here was a very comfortable one actually; took a flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia from the domestic airport 'Jorge Newbery Aeropuerto' and for a domestic airport it is fabulous! Really loved it! Now getting down in Ushuaia, I was somewhat prepared that the airport would be a Salalah style airport where we literally had to walk to the arrival terminal but amazingly it is way advanced than I thought with walkways and everything in place. I must give Argentina credit for being way advanced in its infrastructure than most people give it credit for. I think partially I'd have to blame myself for the misconception of reading information online and researching about the country but interpreting it in a different manner.

Reaching Ushuaia and I am met with beautiful cloudy skies and mountains that are simply breathtaking; an amazing sight for sore eyes. But stepping out of the airport to the view was something surreal, a slap of cold breeze hits your face and the reality sinks in of this adventure and the reason why this is so important. These snowy mountains may not be snowy decades from now and to help keep this amazing view intact for the future is what is at stake.

I'm currently staying at the Hotel Campanillas for a night before I meet up with the rest of the 2041 team, I was told by Tiffany, one of the team leaders who greeted me at the airport that we are a total of 80 people on board and that tomorrow is when the real challenge and fun begins! So excited and can't wait. It has sunk in people! I am going to Antarctica!














I got asked by Unicos Oman to carry a few oftheir products with me during the expedition. Given that I am an avid lover of natural products, the provided me with products from their Olive oil care line which looked absolutely cute in its packaging. Unicos means Unique in Spanish and their products are healthy high-end, and all the way from Europe. I received the Extra Olive Oil shampoo, body milk, shower gel, hand cream and soap bar. I only took with me three out of the five which were; the body milk, shower gel and hand cream and started using it from the first day I arrived over here in Argentina.


 

The shower gel has a pretty light consistency not thick and heavy. It lathered on very well as well and the smell has a certain oriental kick to it, so for those who love Arabic perfume and oils you’ll surely love the smell (the entire olive oil line has the same smell). I really liked it; it makes sure you’re squeaky clean without being dry. I stayed for a while after using the shower gel without applying any moisturizer to check out the moisture on the shower gel and even though I have very dry skin, it didn’t dry my skin out.

 


The body milk was very light in consistency and amazingly got absorbed pretty fast into my skin. Now because I have dry skin, I’d wish that it was more thicker to keep me moisturized for longer but for short periods of time, it worked well. My legs and arms felt super soft after applying it.


 

The hand cream is my favorite I would say, maybe because I carry it everywhere with me. It‘s lovely and is perfect for moisturizing your hands on the go.

 

I am yet to know how it holds up in the cold Antarctic weather but I’ll be back with another post about it in a month’s time! If you are interested in checking out this olive oil line or the other products Unicos Oman provides. Make sure to search for Unicos Oman on facebook and instagram or email them info@unicosoman.com or contact them via Whatsapp 9398 2833