See below for the English “translation.” By “translation” I mean that I wrote as much as I could in Arabic, but there are certain nuances and feelings that I cannot yet express in Arabic and thus, has to simplify for the purpose of translation. All the same, I’ve included my full thoughts below in English because at a certain point, if I am unable to express myself through writing/talking, etc., I will most likely go insane. #LanguagePledgeProbs
*If you are an Arabic-speaker, I apologize in advance for my atrocious Arabic below. I wrote this quickly and did not proofread (what kind of daughter-of-English-teachers am I?). If you do not speak Arabic, I do not suggest Google Translate. Just scroll below to the English. Also, the English is a little word vomit-y. I have a lot of feelings, what can I say.
الأسبوع الأول من الصفوف كان صعب جداََ منذ لا أفهم كثير. مرة الأخر، عندي صفين في العربي و صفين في مواضيع الأخر. كنتُ تفكير عن الصعوبات الصفوف مع مواضيع المقعد في حين ليس عندي المهارات اللغوية القوية. قرأتُ مقالة عن رجل جديد لأمريكا و في حين عنده المهارات اللغوية أن تلكن عن عنصرية أو التحسين في أمريكا، لم يعرف ما “زيبلوك” كان. في طريقات أشعر النفس و أفهم ما هو القول. عرفتُ كيف صعب هذا برنامج و في نفس الوقت، هو ما يزال صعب. و لكن أنا لا يفل.
كبعض الأنتم تعرفون، أنا في أسرة الجديدة الآن. بعد عدد المشكلات، أنتقلت. أسترة الأولة لم يكن في منزلهم و كان هناك رجال الغريب حين كنتُ في المنزل الوحدة. في غضون ساعيان الكلام مع المدير عن هذا، كنتُ نتقلت.
في ملاحظة السعيدة، سافرتُ الدار البيضاء أمس مع أصدقاء من جامعتي. المدينة تشعر فرنسية جداََ. أمضينا وقت الكثير في المركز التسوق الذي كبير جداََ. بعض المدينة مثل روديو أو هوليوود. أسعار كان نفس أيضاََ.
عيد الأضحى يبدأ هذا المساء. هناك خروف الكثير تحت شباكي في الشارع و لكن، بعد غداََ… ليس بعد الآن.
(The amount of Arabic you write looks like a lot more when you use size 18 font… Oops, I guess.)
The first week of classes were very difficult since I do not understand much. Again, I have two Arabic language courses and two content courses, all of which are taught completely in Arabic. I cannot even ask how to say a word in Arabic by saying the English word. You get around this with sign language and lots of crazy-looking pantomiming. I was thinking about the difficulties of having elementary-level language skills and taking courses in complicated subjects such as the Arab Spring (it’s hard.) I read an article in the New York Times written by a man new to America, who had the language skills to talk about racism and gentrification in America, but didn’t know what “Ziploc” was. I feel the same in many ways and understand the sentiment. I seem to know vocabulary to identify more complicated subjects, but not the vocabulary to talk about these subjects in a conversational manner. I knew this program would be very difficult but at the same time, that knowledge does not change the fact that it is difficult. However, I am not discouraged. I chose this program for its challenge and this is the tough transitional period from “intermediate” to “advanced.”
As some people already know, I have moved to a new family. There were some issues with the previous family, including them not being at the apartment most of the time and the fact that they told men I did not know to come into the apartment while I was there alone without notifying me. That evening (Tuesday) was a bit of saga, from coming home and discovering they weren’t there after I spent a good 5 minutes trying to get the key to work, to there being no food in the apartment, to the man who knocked on the door (which I wouldn’t have answered expect for the fact that the door locks from within and my host family would need me to open the door,) and told me my host mother was on the phone who literally just told me to keep the door open.
Within a couple of hours of speaking to the residential coordinator about the men-in-the-apartment incident, arrangements were made for me to move. I honestly did not think much about this beyond my annoyance and slight anger at my family for the way they were treating me, and hadn’t intended my conversation with the res coordinator to go beyond asking him to speak to my family about leaving me a note or something when they were gone. But apparently this was a huge issue and I was promptly moved. Even though dealing with moving just after I settled in was a bit tough, I feel so much better at this family, and it’s good to know that some of my feelings of isolation largely had to do with the fact that I was not with the right family.
But my new family is great and they still feed me after I tried to help do the dishes, broke a plate and sliced my finger, so that’s a good sign. (The still feed me thing is a joke, the broken plate… not so much.) At some point in the near future, I will need to communicate to them that when I go to my room and close the door, it is not because I do not like them, but rather that in order to preserve my sanity, there are times where I need to retreat from social situations and be alone to scroll through Buzzfeed. I was warned beforehand that Moroccans might not understand “alone time,” as Moroccans are culturally very social. I’ve definitely noticed that in both families, everyone does always tend to hangout in the same room together most of the time, even if everyone is kind of doing their own thing. I guess I’m just a little too American to completely fit into a Moroccan family.
On a happy note, I went to Casablanca yesterday. The city felt very distinctly French and very different from Rabat. There were several parts of Casablanca that reminded me of Rodeo Drive or Hollywood Blvd (minus the street performers.) Lorenzo, Abdel, Adiza, and I spent most of the day at Morocco Mall, which is huuuuuuge. If it wasn’t for everything being in Arabic and French, I’d think I was at the Topanga Mall; between the fact that there were many of the same stores as any high-end mall in the US (for example, we shopped at Zara and H&M) and the fact that prices were the same as any high-end mall in the US, I could have made a quick trip back to the Valley.
On another note, Eid Al-Adha starts this evening. There have been several sheep on the street below my window going “baaaa” very loudly for the last couple of days. But after tomorrow… that won’t be a problem.
Side note, as I mentioned before when I was sick, Moroccans (or at least my last family) seem to think that the only reason for sickness is the weather, but I’ve assured them many times that where I’m from, the weather is almost the same or even hotter. Curious about whether I was right or not (thinking about relative distance to the sun or whatever,) I looked up Rabat’s coordinates and Los Angeles’ coordinates. As it turns out, Los Angeles is less than 0.1° north of Rabat.
Also, I know I’ve said several times that I would post photos, but WordPress just doesn’t seem to want to upload them, so I’ll be posting some photos to my Flickr and/or most everyone who reads this is probably friends with me on Facebook and has already seen them all.