Once in Oman, forever in the heart: Expats recollect fond memories

MUSCAT, JAN 19 – The days since January 10, 2020 have been difficult for everyone in Oman and for many others who were here but are now back in their home countries. Once in Oman, forever in the heart is how expatriates tend to describe the Sultanate that began its renaissance in 1970 under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The charm of Oman is cherished by the expatriates who have gone back to their countries while others continue to enjoy the fruits of development in the Sultanate initiated by the late Sultan. However, the last few days have been challenging with the loss of the beloved leader.
Sushil Varghese have been in Oman for the last 40 years and as he completes his duty in the evening the street lights remind him of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. “It is because I have seen the streets without the lights before,” he says.
“The great loss of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos is unimaginable and the impact was unbearable. His Majesty’s wise vision and farsightedness transformed Oman to one of a leading and safest nations to live within,” he says.
As an expatriate, says Sushil, “I have seen the amazing changes for the last four decades. In his absence I still feel his presence in the form of many landmarks, services and the absolute cleanliness. Of course the people of Oman are so friendly, the culture passed on to them by the great leader and I am sure the same ambience will continue under the new Sultan for many, many years to come. Good luck to all Omanis and Allah bless them to bear the loss of a most revered leader of this great nation.”
After ten years of teaching in Oman, Leona Wellungton is settled in Australia. So far away, yet her mind is set on Oman.
She lived in Nizwa and Birkat Al Mouz for 10 years, “I loved both places and the Omani friends I made were always so kind and hospitable. The students were also great and I learned a lot about the culture.”
She reflects, “I am not politically oriented nor do I understand what goes behind the scenes. But I always loved His Majesty because he gave so much benefit to Oman and to Omani women. He has had a long successful reign in Oman and I feel sad for his passing.”
As she pointed out that Oman continues to be in capable hands of the new Sultan. She also hoped that Oman would harness the sun and start producing solar energy.
Antony Isaac came to Oman as a bachelor in 1983. His experience is the typical story of Oman throwing in the spell and charm of peace, stability and acceptance on its visitors where they have the urge to continue to stay in the land known for its hospitality.
“I came to a relatively less known country in the Gulf at that time with the intention of staying for one contract period of 2 years. I stayed on for 36 years thereafter. I have experienced absolute peace and bonhomie in society during this time, never seen anywhere else, even in my home country. Oman is my second home and I attribute it to the one and only leader of a kind, the late Sultan Qaboos. I am fortunate to have lived during his benevolent reign, a golden era,” said Antony who continues to enjoy his career in the Sultanate.
While they hold onto beautiful memories, they wish the New Sultan and the people of Oman the best as a new era begins.