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
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.