This week was our first week of Arabic classes. Boy what a wakeup call that was. My Arabic is very limited to basic conversations and I’m better with the local dialect in Jordan than I am with the academic Modern Standard Arabic. We spend about 5 hours in class a day and thankfully my class is small so it’s much easier for me to get my questions answered. I’m making more of an effort to talk to y taxi and Uber drivers in Arabic. They are always willing to help, and it’s been a great way to pick up on slang and informal vocabulary that the typical Arabic textbooks usually omit.
The Palestinian family I’m living with is also extremely helpful and patient with me. I’ve found it helpful to listen to their conversations in Arabic and pick out the words I recognize and try to get the general idea of what they’re discussing. Once they finish a sentence of thought, they’ll turn to me and tell me in English what they said. When communicating with them, I use the Arabic words I know, and I use English for the words I don’t know. I already feel like I’m making a meaningful improvement here.
On Thursday, the 28th we went to Ajloun which is a really interesting place in Northern Jordan. We met with an organization that puts on events and outdoor activities for Jordanian children. It was great opportunity to practice our Arabic and play some games with them. The children were very patient with me as I put together basic sentences. After that, we went to Ajloun castle which was very interesting. I had been there last semester with my other program, but the structure is a great experience.
Walking through something with such a long history is fascinating. To think about how many people over the course of hundreds of years have walked in the same path you have is humbling. Getting to do it with your friends only sweetens the deal. This week I’ll be going to the Jordan Museum here in Amman. It has long been on my list of things to do here and I’m finally checking it off so look forward to pictures from that. On an unacademic note, I highly recommend the restaurant Shawerma Zarb near Abdali mall if anyone reading this is ever in Amman. Best shawarma in town.