Sunday, August 5, 2007

Time for an update

No kidding. I'll make it brief.

Okay, so I got back end of June from France. I found out there wasn't going to be a class in Modern Standard Arabic that month (that is, there was no one else at my level that month, so I would either have had to retake 2.5 or jump into a class that was too hard for me). So, I went for Egyptian Colloquial Arabic instead. And I'm really glad I did. Basically, I'd chosen to go with MSA based on the recommendation of an Egyptian friend, since it was the "proper" language and I could always learn Ameyya (spoken language) later. As it turned out, though, this meant that I couldn't understand anything that was being said around me, nor could I easily communicate with others. Although most Egyptians read MSA, none speak it and almost no one will understand you if you speak it. So here I was, in Egypt, learning Arabic but not able to speak or interact with anybody. It kind of ruined the whole point of being in Egypt. Since studying Ameyya it's been amazing to see how quickly my comprehension and ability to communicate has improved. Sure I'm not learning "proper" Arabic (Arabs from the gulf would say that Egyptian Arabic is in fact "bad" Arabic) but I'm learning a spoken language which is more important. I continued on with Ameyya this month and will probably either switch over to MSA in September, or study both.

Last month I went to Dahab, which was really nice. I'm ashamed to admit that I spent most of the time in the shade reading a book rather than swimming in the ocean but I still enjoyed my time there. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from doing anything at all.

I am currently taking care of 2 incredibly feisty cats for a friend of mine. They are 10 months old, are always running around, love jumping on me and anything that moves, and will chew on anything that isn't cat food.

I've met a lot of really nice people so far and finally have gotten invited to some weddings, which I'm really looking forward to -- I've heard that Egyptian weddings are really something (not as jaw dropping as Indian weddings though, I imagine -- apparently the wedding industry in India brings in $38 billion a year).

Today I went to Mugamma to renew my tourist visa (you have to do this every three months unless you manage to get a long-term visa instead). My phone fell out of my pocket on the way there, but my landlord Habishi, who is a really great guy, agreed to call my number for and it looks like someone found it. If all goes well they'll bring it by tomorrow morning.

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