Romancing the 3Rs – reading, running, rearing plants
For Xiaoyan Zhang (Janice), a Chinese expatriate who has been long enough in Oman to call it 'home', the recent lockdown in Muscat Governorate wasn't a lifechanger or a hurdle to be overcome. Rather, she looked upon this time as a boon wherein she fulfilled many of her yearnings and dreams.
Janice is a woman of many parts but she prefers not to be known as a socialite who flaunts her talents. A food connoisseur known for her explicit cooking skills, Janice has often been called to demonstrate her expertiese with various cuisines to ladies groups, from Japanese Sushi to traditional Indian (her husband is Indian). She also believes that cuisines bring people closer to different cultures and the lockdown gave her an opportunity to put these skills to best use in her own home.
“The lockdown didn't affect my life much. In fact, it did more good to my life – I am keeping myself busy reading (I have read three books during the lockdown), practising playing the piano everyday (which I had stopped for some years), cooking new cuisines and enjoing more home cooked food, Karaoke singing on a cellphone app, which I really enjoy, and many more things,” she disclosed.
Janice's new routine during the lockdown begins with an hour of yoga as she believes it starts the day on a beautiful note. She then gets down a string of tasks from household chores to gardening which she simply loves. Most importantly, she says, the lockdown provided her more time to communicate with her husband, something which had been limited everyday due to busy schedules.
Acknowledging that the current pandemic was an international disaster that has badly affected the lives of people, Janice, who stays in Al Mouj Muscat, however, says she really did not feel isolated, as such. “My day begins with one hour of yoga which gives me energy to take on the rest of the day. I also try to play the piano, something which I have been neglecting for long. I now really enjoy the melodies during my practice.
The next favourite activity which takes a good part of her time is gardening. She manages her own garden throughout of the year and takes delight in seeing flowers blossom as well as fruits like chikoos, papayas, lemons and pomegranates grow, as a reward for her hard work.
“I also try to run 10km per week to keep myself fit for the Muscat Marathon – I have been taking part in half marathons since the last four years. Also, since Al Mouj golf course reopened, I resumed my golfing activity four times a week. In spite of the hot and humid weather, I enjoy being on the course swing, sweating it out and challenging myself,” says Janice, adding that she also loves to keep in touch with her family and friends on social media.
“Overall, my life style hasn't changed much during the lockdown. The only thing I am missing, is travelling to see my family overseas,” she said, adding
“We have been fortunate that the Oman government has put such great efforts to control the spreading of the virus and treating the infected patients. Now, we all must learn to deal with the situation and cooperate with the rules from the government for everyone's welfare.”