Saturday, October 11, 2008

not . . . remembering . . . much . . .

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.


danay said...

I think you said a lot in that one contribution.

Jourdan said...

Emergency alarm... hilarious.

Well, at least now you'll be pro at finding your own way next time.

Have a good week.