Thursday, September 20, 2007


Okay, so it's late, really late. But at least my system (no entertainment unless I get to sleep before 11pm) is working -- haven't watched any TV (although see caveat below) and haven't gone to Metafilter or my other guilty pleasures. Basically it's been either work, social interaction (which I know most people would consider slacking off but trust me it's been really lacking lately and is a huge improvement over farting around watching subtitled crappy American TV shows from 5 years ago or spending hours reading silly pages online) or Arabic homework, unfortunately in that order (I really need to increase time spent on Arabic).

As mentioned earlier, fusHa is quite difficult. Today we listened to a tape and were supposed to repeat back the words we heard on the tape -- words which were spoken at a normal rate. I found it basically impossible. I experienced it as the sounds traveling through my. I was trying to grasp at them and found it impossible to parrot them back. So one thing I may start doing is listening to the Arabic BBC Listen|استمع
while I'm working to become more familiar with hearing the sounds of fusHa. I think I really am too used to colloquial.

Today I went down to Helwan again [wikimapia]. This time I brought a friend, the same classmate who brought me to Ramadan prayers last week. He liked it, so at least I know I'm not crazy -- Helwan really is a cool place to visit. If I have time I'm definitely dragging the family down here.

After a short visit with my friend down in Helwan (and a quick stop of course to buy some fruit - mangoes and pomegranates are both in season right now) we rushed back to Mohandesseen for iftar, the break-fast each day at Ramadan that takes place around 6pm. His landlady had arranged a mini iftar feast, including musaqa and molokheyya. Very tasty indeed. We sat around and chatted half in English and half in Arabic (and yes, watched a bit of TV; it was on when I entered the apartment).

Then I rushed back home to work. No rest for the wicked.

And now, to bed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beauty Sleep

For whatever reason, for the longest time I've been staying up very late, usually only laying down my head after the first call to prayer floats in my window. This is something of a problem, since the call to prayer is around 4:30am and I have to wake up around 8 or 8:30. So, I've made the decision to start going to bed much, much earlier. Starting with tonight. I'm going to sleep at 12:30am. I know that might seem a bit late to some but believe me, for me it's very, very early.

We'll see how this goes. And, if my life gets more interesting, I promise to post more.

But, right now? FusHa hard as usual; my teacher is really putting our noses to the grindwheel which I guess is a good thing since I respond well to a kick in the butt as motivation technique. Of course, time will tell if I can make it.

Ramadan is lovely; I tend not to eat too much during the day and never in public, although I do sneak in the occasional gulp of water.

I've been watching far too much TV lately, so that's another thing I'm quitting -- no more TV for a while. Inshallah.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Still Busy

That remains my excuse for why I've been so lax on my posts. I've got tons of work and classes and between that and trying to see some of Egypt I'm busy pretty much all the time.

So, up to speed: my second month of Ameyya (colloquial) was great and now this month I have started back up on Fusha (Modern Standard Arabic).

Tonight was the first night of Ramadan. A friend and I went down to Al Azhar mosque where he prayed. It was actually less crowded than I had expected, but it was still full of people. Young people (and possibly a few old) were throwing firecrackers and we walked through the streets and drank a lot of different juices--I had liquorice, mango, and tamarind (or possibly einab, which is like hibiscus tea but actually quite different); he had sugercane and coconut juice. We wandered all through the suqs and just had a great time, although the taxi driver on the way home decided that, since it was Ramadan, the ride was going to have to be more expensive.

I've got to get going, I have loads of Arabic homework and then, sleep.