This is my video montage of the past year. Thank you to Lisa and Claire for some of their footage I put in. Enjoy.

luketigerr asked: You're blog is beautiful! Glad to see you're enjoying a native country of thy ancestors and parents. Keep it going! Swoop!

thank you!

3bdallahposts asked: Ummmmm On ur pics of salalah what cam did you use?? And did you photoshop them or any thing? I just looooove what you did there

hmm i used my t3i and nope! 

Anonymous asked: do you have another tumblr?

no

Last day of school & surprise goodbye from my classmates :)

June 12, 2013

Anonymous asked: Hi, Ashley! I'm wondering what advice/tips you can give to next year's YES Abroad-ers! We are all so excited!

Right now, you’re probably being overloaded with emails from Jerry and Shino in D.C. and advice from parents and friends. I was in the same place exactly a year ago. I researched and researched information about Oman and talked to as many people as I could about the country that would be my home that following August. However, there are some pieces of advice that never crossed my path that I will share as well as other miscellaneous tidbits: 

-Like I just mentioned above, I researched and researched about Oman before I came. I watched videos of Muscat and different parts of the country, I read about it as much as I could, and preoccupied myself with getting visually acquainted with Muscat. I suggest that you do not do this. Within the first week last year, I repeated in my head oh I saw this in this or that video or read about that countless times. Allow for there to be some awe and an element of surprise. 

-All of you will have very different experiences because of the families you will be living with and the schools you will be going to. Oman has a diverse capital whose families have roots tied to varying places around the world. For example, some of you maybe will be living with a family with East African roots, Baluchi roots, Iranian roots, or pure Arab roots. This, along with several other components, will determine some aspects of your experience. 

-Don’t expect your year in Oman to fundamentally change you.

-And don’t expect to go back home fluent in Arabic. Especially if you attend TSS. 

-If you are religious and require to attend whatever service on the weekends, be prepared for this to not be possible because of rides. 

-Food is love. Food reflects both culture and hospitality in Oman. Eating is a way to participate when you can’t communicate otherwise. So, if you’re a picky eater, you’re in for a rough ride. Plus, bring clothes that aren’t tight. One, for modesty, and, two, because weight gain for all exchange students is inevitable. 

-On the topic of clothing, it’s okay to wear skinny jeans, dresses slightly below the knee, and short sleeves. Bring an assortment of clothes like shirts that can cover your backside and do bring some fancy clothes because everyone dresses up for everything here. 

-Take tons of photos. Document your year here as much as possible. For those of you making vlogs, way to go! 

-You’re going to be spending a lot of time in the car. Frequently download some good music. 

-Don’t stress out about school. 90% of your classes will be a lot easier than the ones you take back home; however, science and math classes may be more difficult. For example, I had never taken physics before this year and it was my most difficult class in terms of content because my classmates had already been taking physics since middle school. Also, if you’re going to Sultan’s School as a senior, push them to help you out with college applications by the deadline (Omani time is a thing of its own). 

-Again, if you’re going to TSS as a senior, you’ll fall in love with your classmates!!

-Don’t worry about buying adapters. Your host family will have some handy and they’re only around one rial at the neighborhood store. 

-For the first four months, you will be exhausted. It’s an entirely new lifestyle. New family, new cuisine, new friends, new weather, everything is an adjustment. There will be classes outside of school and activities always planned on the weekends. So…heads up. 

-Along with bringing your host family gifts for when you first meet them, I advise you bring gifts with you that you will leave for them next June. And don’t leave buying gifts for friends & family back home until the last minute. 

-Lastly, don’t pass up opportunities with friends and family. This will feel like one of the shortest years of your life, so make it your own and don’t forget why you came here in the first place. 

Anonymous asked: How many days left in Muscat?

9 days

lisacamillemackenzie:

Though I am extremely excited to see my family and friends again, I am dreading the thought of going home. I will miss the laid-back atmosphere, Omani people, foods, friends and family, culture, and way of life here. I worry that integrating back into my fast-paced life back at home will be wearying.

After a day of saying goodbye to teachers at school with many hugs and email exchanges, that fact that I only have a mere 14 days left is overwhelming. We have a busy schedule over the next two weeks with Arabic classes, end-of-year orientation activities, and farewell dinners. It will a busy two weeks with the addition of milkas and weddings to attend, spending time with friends, getting a suitcase (woops, I have way to much stuff now), saying goodbyes to extended family, getting items to being home, and the most dreaded process—packing. 

*The picture above was taken by my host cousin—Hiyam Al-Jabri—and is from a fun milka (wedding celebration) that I attended last week! 

19 days left

Instagram