Last Sunday marked the beginning of my academic year and with that the anxiety that comes along with it. The evening before, I gathered my uniform for school, a dress with a simple white collared long sleeve shirt. The dress is a long cotton frock, large enough not to cling to my body, yet somehow I still can’t seem to walk in it. I get around quite awkwardly, stumbling from one foot to the next with a very lop sided backpack. The school does not provide the uniforms, so one has to salvage up the fabric of the appropriate hue and enlist a local tailor for help.
Morning of, I watched out the car window, as my scenery changed from the strident grey mountains, to the more commercial area of Muscat. When I arrived at the school I was slightly hesitant. You can imagine the fear of walking into a new school, in a new country with out the slightest idea what to expect.
After being greeted by the director of international students and some returning kids, assembly began. It was really startling once the loud speakers started booming Arabic across the open courtyard. Students were being ushered into neat rows by gender and grade. A few administrators went up to the podium to express a couple words of advice. It sounded vaguely reassuring, though I wasn’t sure what they actually meant. In the distance I saw rows of white dishdashas and navy blue dresses. From the tops of our heads, a sea of white headscarves, and dark wavy hair like my own. Apart from the language issue, I could blend in quite well.
The bell rang, and suddenly I joined a swarm of kids off to the second floor classrooms. I found a desk in the corner next to a window, and took a deep breath…