Thursday, January 15, 2009

Alif Baa




And go…the language learning begins anew today. Did I ever tell you I spent two years of my life studying Arabic? No, well that’s because it was one of the most demoralizing undertakings I have ever…well…undertook. So, what am I doing instead of getting ready for work on this cold mid January morning in Atlanta? I am studying Arabic again. I gave it two years last time because it mattered. I would be lying if I fronted like it doesn’t matter, oh my goodness me, Arabic is such a pain, blah, blah, blah. Yeah right. The reality is that Arabic is the one challenge I could not conquer, the one ambition that left me blind and defeated, high and dry with a sore throat from practicing that little sucker you see at the top of the page. I wrote a poem to that letter once…about the way it tortured me.

I used to go straight for hot tea with honey after class so that I could go at again the next day. I was obsessed. I used to lock myself in these little glass rooms in the university library because they had white boards in them. I would write sentence after sentence after sentence of memorized script. I would stare at the board and repeat the sounds until none of it looked different anymore. I tried really hard, I swear. It is no surprise that during the hour before my last Arabic final, while studying in the library, my back seized up and before I knew what hit me I was on the floor unable to move. I had to be taken to the emergency clinic on campus and was given a heavy does of painkillers. I suffered from back pain for about a year after that. I am still afraid it will come back.

I showed up to that final though. My teacher told me I looked like hell and that there was no way he was letting me take the final. I begged. He let me in the class but said that if I failed the test he would not average it into my grade. I am not sure how I did on that thing, but I think I made a B overall in the class.

So yes, going back in for more now. The difference this time is that there will be no grade or grade point average following me around. Further more I will finally have access to the thing I then spent the next year obsessing over in socio-linguistics, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. If you want to more about that click here.

1 comment:

Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome said...

This time it'll be much easier because you'll be immersed in the language rather than working at it in a vacuum.