If the above tittle looks like gibberish to you, it kind of is, as it is a transliteration of “I am sorry, I do not speak English” in Arabic. And that is basically my current mentality, as today, we signed the infamous language pact. The language pact is a main parts of the CLS program in which we basically pledge to give up English (and our sanity) for the remaining time. In other words, unless I am talking to friends/family from home or I have an emergency, I have to at all times speak Arabic in school (even during our breaks), on all CLS trips and excursions, with my host family, and when I am out and about in Jordan. To raise the stakes, if a CLS or school employee hears one speaking in English enough times, one can be sent home and made to repay the scholarship! So I kissed my last remaining comfort of English away today and switched into full Arabic mode.
Though by the end of the day I thought my head was going to explode, the language pact is amazing. I have already learned so much Arabic in my short time here and I can only imagine how much more I will learn simply by constantly practicing with my peers. Inshallah the days will only get easier because this first day of only Arabic was extremely exhausting– but of course will prove to be immensely rewarding.
After school, a few of my friends and I (Nancy, Susi, Sam, and Eric) went to a cafe and hung out there for a little bit. We tried to bargain for a lower price for some ice cream (in Arabic of course!) before realizing that it probably is not typical to bargain for items already listed with a price on the menu… whoops. Either way, we got a special deal, though I suspect the only reason they put up with us was due their amusement at our struggle to convey our bargaining options to them in broken Arabic.
When I got home I got to take a much-needed shower (it is HOT here. By hot, I mean HOT, especially since our school and home do not have air-conditioning). Then some guests came over because we were celebrating three of my host siblings’ birthdays (I was a bit confused because they were not all born the whole day, but this seems similar to Oman, in which many peoples’ birthdays are celebrated the same day, especially since birthdays are not a really huge deal after one’s first birthday). We had a delicious coconut cake filled with fruit and then all just hung out a bit.
Then my roommate (Aletta), the other host student who lives above us, and I sat on our balcony outside and started our homework (we already have so much work, CLS is keeping us SO busy!!!) until it got a bit too cold outside so we had to move inside (I am so confused; how can it be so hot during the day yet get quite cold at night?!).
I’m finishing up some homework now but taking a break to get some English out of me by writing this blog. Excited to learn some more Arabic bookara (tomorrow)!