me in the ME

the semester of fun, sun, and Arabic

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

HA, plans.

At the end of orientation back in mid-February, the administration had us each write down a goal for our semester. Since we only have a month left in the program, today we got back what we had written. The thinking was that if we hadn’t already achieved our goal, then we could focus the rest of our time on trying to before we left. To be honest, I’m always really bad at thinking of anything to write down, and even worse at remembering what I actually wrote. The second part isn’t so bad though since you’re not supposed to consciously think of what you wrote. But for once, I had something that I did want to say and definitely achieve.

I wrote: اريد ان اتكلم مع اسرتي اكثر وخاصة بالعامية.

Direct translation- I want to talk with my (Jordanian) family more, especially in dialect.

This is more than a little funny for several reasons.

The first is that this was written in such an incredibly fushaa way. It’s the first real, concrete testament I’ve seen of how much my Arabic has changed. Just reading this to myself made me giggle a little. No matter how much I’ve resisted it, aamiya has snuck into my life and I’ve begun to accept some of it.

The second, more serious reason is that I’m no longer with my Jordanian host family. Read more…

Sobering Facts- Domestic Workers in Jordan

I remember when we studied slavery in my U.S. history classes, everyone would always say that of course, they would have been abolitionists, don’t be silly! At the very least, they would never have owned slaves and would have looked down upon the practice. That’s a wonderful, idealistic view of humanity. It wasn’t until AP U.S. History that I remember anyone ever saying that, you know, if you were raised with slavery and it was a part of your everyday life, you might not have been against slavery. That your family might have owned slaves and since it was what you had always known, you would have been ok with the practice or even supported it. And heaven forbid someone should try to take away your right to own a slave!

That’s what I felt like here a lot of the time. My former host family has a servant. “Servant” is a polite word used to describe a practice that is more like slavery. Read more…

But where are all the scones?!

So I jetted off to England for a very untraditional Spring Break- it was awesome. I spent the first four days in London, crashing on Duncan’s floor (thanks dude!). We ended up moseying about mostly but managed to catch the highlights of a bunch of things. Even having been to London and specifically some of the same museums before, I definitely saw new things. Reason #1? We got old. This was the first time I’d been unsupervised by anyone (parents, teachers, family friends- I’ve done them all). Plus, I turned 21 the first day of break! Seriously, where did the past year go? We’re not really that old but we’re definitely getting there and it’s craaaazy.

Reason #2? This was the first time I barely planned. Totally not like me at all and OK, that wasn’t the plan. The truth is I just ran out of time since I finally decided I was going to England maybe 3 days before I left. And then there were midterms and surprise moving as well! But it ended up being great. Other friends were visiting at the beginning of my trip and then others were popping back to England before leaving again so there was an ever-changing stream of people to keep us occupied.

Some highlights: Read more…

Moving Day was Yesterday…

As you can gather from the title, I’ve moved! Goodbye, homestay- sadly, I shall not miss you.

Why move, especially now, when the semester is half over? Today is the first day of spring break (and my birthday wooo!) but after that we only have a month and a half before the end of the program. Why not just stick it out?

Trust me, my roommate and I tried.

There had been a lot of issues, that just kept adding up over time. First, there was confusion about water, and then the ever-changing situation with the Internet: “We have wireless, use it whenever you want!”-> Don’t Skype earlier in the evening-> Don’t use the Internet until later at night when the family has gone to bed->Don’t use the Internet at all, go buy your own broadband USB sticks-> the program administration telling them we have to be allowed to use the Internet since that was what was originally established. Then there were a whole host of uncomfortable things with regards to the servant in the house (a whole post worth-stay tuned!), our family didn’t ever seem to want to talk to us, everyone in the house was always unhappy (because of us? who knows), we didn’t have keys, we were sleeping on very poor-quality cots, etc… We were essentially paying more than anyone else for a worse experience, the only benefit of which was not having to worry about food.

Read more…

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