Last Tuesday I started Arabic again. Noor and I are meeting with a tutor and another girl named Leena once a week for an hour and a half.
The first session was not so great.
First, I got to CSULB, paid $4 to park for two hours, and got lost.
Second, some nice guy named Alejandro found me and walked me to the library (this was a good thing, a very good thing -- otherwise I may still be there looking at a map wondering how one campus has four campuses and two libraries; and, no, I don't expect any sympathy from my CSULB readers).
Third, I got blisters. This is called Why Not to Wear Uncomfortable Dress Shoes to Work on Tuesday Mornings.
Fourth, I got to the professor's office late.
Fifth, I had no water with me, and spent my first two minutes in her office (while everyone was trying to write a diagnostic paragraph) coughing and coughing.
Sixth, I left the office and tried to find a drinking fountain.
Seventh, I got lost again.
Eighth, I opened an emergency exit door and set off an alarm.
Ninth, I went back to the professor's office and tried to look like I didn't know why the alarm was going off.
Tenth, I learned that Leena is Syrian and that everyone else in "class" will be speaking informal Arabic with perfect ease. When Noor talks, I have a better idea of what she's saying (1) because I lived with her for six weeks and know a little bit about her and (2) she tries hard to speak formal Arabic in class. But the topic was being a girl in a conservative Arab culture, and Leena had a lot to say. My comprehension for the remaining hour was something like this:
". . . clothes . . . parents . . . American . . . forefathers . . . girls . . . boyfriend . . . what I mean is . . . boyfriend . . . hijaabi . . . preferred . . . groups . . . people . . . girls . . . night . . . cars . . . boys . . . boyfriend . . ."
Then, to me,
"Do you have a boyfriend? Why not?"
A conversation then ensued about how I could be American, consider myself American, and not have a boyfriend.
I was not part of that conversation (except for my one magnificently eloquent contribution, roughly translated "I want marriage, not boyfriend").
Anyway, now I have a ton of homework to do.
And I need it.