Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I came back from Dahab early after tiring of beach-bumming. I didn't make it to Luxor during this break but I'll go later on in the year. After throwing on a wrinkled pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood, do some window shopping, and get a few groceries. I am always hyper-alert of my surroundings and acutely aware of the people around me in case I need to make a quick exit. Usually I'm a friendly person but in Cairo I've perfected a menacing look that can cause a man's testicle to shrivel before what ever perversion he was prepared to mutter to me leaves his lips. I counted 6 different men at 6 different times unabashedly following me for blocks, waiting outside stores until I was done looking around, walking up behind me panting heavily or slowing their pace to walk beside me, crossing the street when I crossed, etc.
To be fair, Egyptian men aren't the only men who stalk women. I've had Italian men follow me around Rome declaring their undying affection in the way that only Italian men can do upon catching a glimpse of a woman. The difference is that a lot of the Egyptian men do not pick up on social cues and body language nor are the particularly skillful or stealthy at the art of stalking. Because very few Egyptian women go out alone, it's difficult for the young men to grasp that an unaccompanied young woman does not want to be pursued and accompanied. For some, a threatening glare alone or simply ignoring them doesn't do it. Some get to close and breathe down your neck! With 2 of the guys, after several blocks, I had to stop in my tracks, turn and yell, "Stop following me!" before they got the hint, apologized and turned to go in the other direction.
My advice for other women when walking around Cairo alone:
1) Be aware of your surroundings at all times. There is always so much going on at once that it seems easier to just tune it all out or focus all your attention on a few things but try to look around you. If you catch someone looking at you, keep your eye on him as you move.
2) Fake them out. As I've said, Egyptian men aren't particularly stealthy at stalking their prey. Most will follow you unabashedly and even smile at you when you notice that they are there. There are many ways you can lose a stalker: Stop suddenly in your tracks and let him walk by, walk into a store, cross the street, etc
3) Trust your instincts and never talk to the stalker. You will know whether the person following you is harmless or not. After following you for some time, some guys will try to ask your name or where you're from, anything to strike up a conversation. It may be difficult for you to do but ignore him until he finally leavers you alone. Most will grow bored of you after a while and leave. If you feel uneasy, don't lead him in the direction of your house. Remain on busy streets at all times
4) Public shaming. Egyptian men are very sensitive to public shaming, When all else fails, yell loudly at the stalker in English or Arabic so that others around you take notice of him. "Igri", meaning go away, works but you can always yell in English.
5) As a last resort, find a street cop or the tourist police. One of the few benefits to a police state is that there are always police everywhere, especially at tourist attractions and busy streets. The Egyptian police may not understand you but they can create the necessary distraction to scare off the stalker. If you feel particularly endangered, they can handle the situation.
Egyptian Lover’s “Freak-A-Holic” lol. This video reminds me of the men on the street...
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
One will soon find that people in Cairo expect a tip, backsheesh, for everything from bagging your groceries to posing for a photo. Even the tourism police will ask for a tip for letting you in snap a photo where no photos are allowed or letting you in to a secluded location. At first, I was completely confused by the tipping system. Some people outright demand backsheesh and won't leave you alone until you firmly refuse or gice in. Now, I tip when I felt that I requested a service and was waited on properly (I wont tip you for following me around the grocery stores and pointed at products that I may be interested in). Here is a comment on a post about tipping that I think summarizes it pretty well.
10% is fine for EXCELLENT restaurant service, but sadly, one rarely receives excellent restaurant service in Egypt. I say it's more common to leave small change (<10 LE) unless it's a fancy sit-down restaurant and the service is amazing.
And for "services"... there are many services in Egypt that warrant tipping. Anytime someone offers to show you anything or do anything for you, they usually expect a tip, or "baksheeh." In most cases, 1 to 2 LE is sufficient for these types of services. 10 is too much for just about anything, unless they are really going out of their way.
Many people will approach you at antiquities sites, offering to show you something or latching on to you and trying to become your guide. Only tip these people if they are truly helpful, and don't give them more than about 5 LE. Many of these people are rude and get spoiled by big-tippers. Don't add to the problem by being one of these people who gives 50 LE tips.
Also, there are often people who hang around bathrooms to get tips. They will turn on the water for you, or hand you a tissue to dry your hands. Only accept it if you want to tip the person, and don't give them more than 1 LE.
Many of these bathroom people are overly pushy and I've seen some of them at the pyramids with wads of cash so big that they won't fit in their pocket. Generally, if you've paid admission to any site, then use of the restroom is included and you aren't obligated to tip. At some places, there is a designated bathroom attendant, placed by the management, with a dish for tips. In this case tipping is usually mandatory. But at other places, such as most museums or antiquities sites, bathroom tips are not required and the people who are trying to get them are not authorized employees. In this case, it's not good to support them.
Whatever you decide to give, keep in mind that the average salary for most workers (i.e. policemen and shop/ hotel attendants) is 40 LE per day, so 10 LE is an excellent tip for most people.
Some people try to complain that you didn't give them enough. Never give in to this scam! Anyone should be happy and gracious to receive any tip, even 25 piastres. So if they pester you, saying "Hey, this is only 2 pounds, it's not enough!" Then they are rude and they probably didn't deserve the tip in the first place. Ignore them, or tell them they're lucky they got anything from you.
One useful phrase in Arabic that foreigners can use is "Mafeesh fulus," meaning no money.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I went out last night with a great group of expats- American Fulbrights, Italians, Libyans, Lebanese, Aussies, etc. We started the festivities at L'Aubergine (★★★ 1/2 based only on the bar experience and not the restaurant) in Zamelak. L'Aubergine is a chic vegetarian restaurant with a bar on the second level, reservations are necessary. It caters to the expat and AUC's wealthy Egyptian-type crowd. Thus, the dress code was fashionably casual. I had a good time hanging out with the other expats. Randomly, I met the African American basketball player that the Mobinil guy mentioned to me earlier this week! We have mutual friends. He was definitely a cool guy. He's played ball around the world and he's married to an Egyptian member of AKA.When I told him about how I'd heard of him, he was quite amused. I also took the opportunity to ask the Libyans about Khadafi. I'd like to report that they were just as bewildered as the rest of us lol.
After L'Aubergine, we went to the Africana Club in Giza. I must admit that I had some reservations about going here. Africana is known for having the best music in Cairo BUT many of the "working" women frequent this spot. Well, honestly Africana did have the best DJ I've heard in a long time! I'm partial to a good mixer and since moving to DC, where the DJ's at the clubs are lackluster at best, my ears have been yearning for some turntable magic. The DJ at Africana expertly blended a variety of R&B, Reggaeton, Reggae, Zouk, Hip Hop and various African tracks like they melted into one another. It was one hot track after another and I could barely sit down before the music commanded my body to move to the next beat!
Unfortunately, it was clear that many "working" women were in the club. Clad in gaudy wigs and dresses that left nothing to the imaginations, the ladies did what they had to do to get by while their Egyptian clients sat around basking in their attention. It was truly sad to see African women, the mothers of all humanity, parading around like that...Because of the the dynamics, it's a good idea to go to Africana with a group or with some male friends to ward of unwanted offers. All in all, Africana is a BLAST!
I didn't get home until almost 6 am this morning from Africana. When I awoke late in the afternoon, my roommates, house-guest, and I went to Lucille's restaurant (★★★★) for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Like Zamalek, Maadi is a really nice area where foreigners live. Compared to downtown, Maadi is quiet, the dress code is noticeably casual, chic cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks, and NO ONE HARASSES YOU IN THE STREET so it's common to see mothers pushing their babies in strollers:) French, German, Italian, English, and other foreign tongues sprinkled the air as pedestrians strolled by me.
According to Time's, in 2007 Lucille's had the best burgers in the world so I of course had one! The BBQ Bacon (yes, that's says bacon, do not adjust your screen. I finally found bacon in Cairo!) Cheeseburger was too big for me to finish in one sitting but it was very good! I can't confirm if it's the best in the world or not though lol. The restaurant has a nice wood and pain-glass decor and serves American diner food. Again, it's a spot filled with expats and rich Egyptians. The food is relatively expensive. Its about 45 LE ($9) for a meal excluding drinks whereas a burger at an Egyptian joint is about 12 LE and at McDonald's , a meal is 25 LE. You definitely get what you pay for at Lucille's, however. The wait-staff was punctual, well-trained and polite and the atmosphere was clean and quiet.
After eating, we stopped by Diwa Bookstore nearby. Diwa carries books in various language and Arabic translations of various popular American bestsellers. I bought a childrens book that was written in English and Arabic (I'm working my way up to 'Dreams of My Father' completely in Arabic :)
PS- I met someone that reads my blog today and really enjoys it!! I was quite excited! I love comments, questions, praise, and critiques.
*Wasted- Gucci Mane
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The men in my neighborhood have adjusted to seeing me around by now. At this point, they harass me usually as an afterthought instead of with the newfound enthusiasm they had the first few weeks I moved here. The store owners and employees can barely contain their amusement as my Arabic vocabulary expands and I practice on them. The ones who speak some English take any opportunity to throw in an English word or phrase in our conversations.
Today was what I've come to accept as a regular day. The technician (I use the term loosely) working on the elevator in our apartment building keeps knocking out the internet somehow. Finally, I go downstairs to ask him to fix it, not realizing until I was well into the conversation that I only know the Arabic word for employee and elevator but not "knocked out my wireless internet access". sigh...Needless to say, he completely took the conversation over while I struggled to keep up. Somehow, he went from the discussing the elevator with me to every Egyptians favorite question: "Where you from?" I've realized a long time ago that no one can ever quite figure out what my ethnicity or nationality is. Sometimes people try to guess but for the most part, they just bluntly demand to know. Depending on how I feel and how quickly I want the conversation to end, I'll either tell them I'm Haitian or American.
After exhausting my painfully short vocabulary of technical terms, I was hoping to keep this conversation short and sweet so I told him I was American. He stared at me quizzically for a moment, "But you're black." Sigh, oh here we go again. I nod. He looked at me a little closer this time, " Well, you are black... with a little yellow." (I don't know if the "yellow" was a reference to my complexion or to the slanted shape of my eyes but I decided to leave it at that). He decides to follow it up with an ever inviting, "you want to take a ride on my elevator." I'll pass.
Me (taking this as a sign that its time to unbraid my hair!): No!!
Employee 2: haha! She does not play any sports!
Employee 1: Are you from America?
Me: Yes. Do you guys have black Americans playing basketball in Egypt?
Employee 1: Yes!! In the Zamalek club. His name is_____. He's the best! Our team is the best
Employee 2: How do you like Egypt?
Me (fresh from being harrased in the street): 'Shweya Shweya'. Sometimes its good sometimes its not so good
Employee 1: Why not so good?
Me: Ugh, Egyptian men! They always bother me in the street
Employee 2 (chuckles): Yes. One time, I saw you walking and I saw many men follow you and say things to you
Employee 1: ...But this doesn't happen ALL the time!?
Me: Yes it does, almost all the time. It even happened before I walked in here . Some guys followed me yelling "samara"!
Employee 2 (now completely unable to control his laughter): "Samara" doesn't mean bad thing. It's not like... Negro. They just want to be your friend
Me: Well, I don't like it at all. It's not nice
Employee 2: We have Nubians here in Egypt. We call our Nubian friends Samara. It's not a bad thing! One of Egypt's best football players. His name is _____ Samara
Me (looking at him incredulously): Is he black?
Employee 2: Yes, of course!
Me: In the U.S., you can't say such a thing. That's like me following you and yelling, " Hey Arab!"
(After thinking about this for a moment, they are both laughing)
Employee 1: If someone object[ifiies] you again in the street. You just let me know! I'll cut him!!
(He runs his finger along his throat to demonstrate. Now, we are doubled over laughing)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I love Twitter!! You can find information on anything, discuss any topic, and talk to anyone on Twitter. I've literally read a passage in a book, found the author on Twitter, and discussed the meaning behind the passage for hours via tweets with her! I discovered another black blogger by the name of Fly Brother, also from Florida, on Twitter. Recently, he dedicated a podcast to black female bloggers and gave my blog a shout out! Have a listen below and make sure to check out his blog!
After listening to his podcast and discussing various topics with other black people in Egypt and on Twitter, there are several topics that I really want to blog about after my midterms are completed this week. Here's a heads up on some of them : Afrocentricity in relation to Egypt, the Nubians/ Nubia, looking "Egyptian" or "passing" for Egyptian, the global influence of rap music, long distance relationships, etc...keep an eye out for these post in the upcoming weeks !
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Egypt has several different types of judges and courts. The Council of States is an
Con: The Hanafi school of jurisprudence approves women judges in civil, personal status and financial courts but disapproves of them in criminal courts.Most schools of Islamic jurisprudence are totally against women judges
Pro: Egypt's Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa has said the appointment of women to judicial positions does not contradict Islamic precepts. "The job of a judge is merely to know the law well and to implement it fairly. The inclusion of women is a right owed to society as a whole."
As a non-Egyptians and non-Muslim, my opinion has not been sought nor completely welcomed on this topic. However, it is interesting to view this debate as an outsider while a very similar debate rages in in the U.S. about gays in the military. My female language professor calls herself a liberal but its completely opposed to the idea of female judges. As an educated, professional women, she sites the very same arguments as the men do to argue that women would not make good judges in Egypt. As the debate rages on, stay tuned for the final deciding vote next week!
Should women in Egypt be judges/ weigh in...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
This past weekend, I took a much needed break from the busy city of Cairo to travel on a group trip to the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula. The tourist town of Nuweiba is about 9 hours from Cairo via the bus. I made sure to bring my passport because there are several checkpoints on the way to Sinai. Many Sudanese refugees have been trying to enter Israel through the Sinai to seek asylum. Under pressure from the U.S. and Israel, Egypt has tried to tighten up security on the border by implementing a 'Shoot to Kill' policy regarding African refugees trying to cross the border. (Human Rights Watch and other articles discussing this: here, here, and here). Thus, I nervously held my breath at each checkpoint and kept my American passport on hand. The African-American man and I sat towards the back of the bus. Armed guards boarded the bus twice to demand I.D. only from the Nigerian man sitting in the front. I guess he didn't get the memo...
After a long bus ride, the beach was calling my name! We stayed at the Regina Hotel (★ 1/2) which had a private beach. Palin enthusiasts would love to know that across the clear blue sea, I had a perfect view of Saudi Arabia! No matter how deep I went, the water never rose above my waist. Schools of little fish swam around, undisturbed by my presence. The beach and hotel were filled with Russian tourists with the reddest tans I've ever seen lol. The sand on the beach was a nice caffe con leche brown.
That night, we drove to Mt. Sinai to climb the mountain and see the sunrise.One of the local guides helped lead our group to the top. I tried my best to keep my feelings about hiking to myself and be a team player but if I'd known beforehand that it would be a 4 hour climb up a steep rock in the dark, I would've taken myself and my Coach sneakers back to the bus! After reading the Old Testament, I used to wonder why the ancient Hebrews whined as they were led out of Egypt to the Promise Land. God was supplying them with an endless supply of manna and had promised them the best of everything, what could they possibly have to whine about to the point that they even got on God's nerves?! After climbing Sinai for 4 hours, now I understand where they were coming from! Even for people who do hike, Mt. Sinai is a rigorous climb! Because I have the sickle-cell anemia trait, I found myself painfully gasping for air as we approached the higher altitude peak around 4 am. I had to continuously stop to take deep breaths. I've never climbed before (and I will never do so again!) and I've never been that high up unless I was in an airplane. I was completely unprepared for how my body reacted to the climb. It's now a day later, and my lungs, calve muscles, and thighs still hurt!
Regardless of my breathing problems, I was determined to finish the hike and see the sunrise for myself. When we finally arrived at the top of Mt. Sinai, the view was breathtaking! The stars were so close that they seemed to be in arms reach. As the sun rose, the sky turned beautiful shades of dark blue, pink, and finally orange! Without any provocation, cries of Hallelujah and Amen broke out amongst the dozens of people gathered atop the mountain as the sun finally took its rightful place int he sky.
Afterwards, tired and hungry, we dashed down the mountain in 2 and 1/2 hours. St. Catherine's Monastery waited quietly at the bottom. The monastery and it's garden were both underwhelming. Although the small church holds countless ancient Christian artwork and treasures, the staff quickly herds visitors through the corridors and back out, giving me little time to admire the treasures inside. Once outside again, I followed the crowd to view what is believed to be Moses' burning bush (Exodus 3). I don't know what I expected it to look like but the burning bush is like no bush or tree I've ever seen. it looked more like hanging foliage with leaves and branches floating clear above our heads. Many visitors touched a branch or left a note in the adjacent wall. I, too, stopped and touched a branch so that I can tell my mom I did so and ease any fears that she may have of me becoming a heathen :)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see...- Mark Twain
Today was a good day (cue Ice Cube). I decided to go to City Stars Mall to buy a hat for my trip to Mt. Sinai this weekend. I took the campus bus to Heliopolis, intending to get off at the Emirates Embassy and walk the rest of the way to the mall. When I got on the bus, a nice older lady moved aside to allow me to sit in the last empty seat beside her. Having adjusted to long, isolated bus rides to and from campus with no one to talk to, I pulled out my homework to get as much of it done as possible before getting off the bus. To my surprise, the lady beside me was very friendly but not intrusive. Initially, this caught me off guard. I've grown used to people not speaking to me or being outright rude in Cairo. We chatted and she asked me why I was studying Arabic and if it would help me get a job in the U.S., etc.
As our stop approached, she pulled out her keys and offered me a ride to the mall so that I wouldn't have to get walk in the hot sun. For a brief moment I recalled my boyfriend adamantly insisting that I avoid being "sex-trafficked" after he'd watched Taken. I pushed those thoughts out of my head and gratefully accepted her offer. We got off the bus and walked to her car. As we drove to the mall, I recalled that I didn't catch her name so I asked. She introduced herself as Fatma from Accounting. Fatma told me about her son who worked for Microsoft in Seattle after graduating from AUC. I could tell she really missed him. Fatma dropped me off at the mall and gave me her phone number in case I was ever in the area again. She was so sweet!
After I bought a nice floppy hat, the attendant outside the mall helped me hail a cab to the metro since there are none in walking distance. Because of traffic, the cab ride took 20 minutes. At the metro station, I handed the driver 50 LE, the smallest bill I had, and asked for my change. I expected him to try to rip me off so I braced myself for another cabbie-battle... To my pleasant surprise, he handed me back the correct change and even asked if that was okay! Simply relieved, I thanked him for the ride.
I hopped into the metro station and got on the women's cart. The women's cart is always a great place to people watch and observe how people interact w/ each other. As my stopped approached a weary old woman got on the metro. She asked the teenage next to me to allow her to sit down but the girl shook her head. With her worn and tattered clothes and shoes, it was obvious that the older woman was from a lower soicio- economic background than the women beside me. I tapped her and offered her my seat. She refused it several times but I got up and insisted that she sit. Another woman sitting beside me in an expensive niqab even pulled my arm and insisted that I stay seated. Finally, the older woman gladly took my seat and told me in Arabic, "You're very nice". She then asked if I'd like to sit in her lap. I smiled and shook my head, "La, Shukran." No, thank you.
These events made my day! At times we devalue the importance of a smile or a kind gesture but they are the most important form of human contact. Any random act of kindness deserves to be returned. :)
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
World Vision Report - Week of February 13, 2010 - Too Poor to Marry cclink link to here report
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I am not natural nor am I a slave to the "creamy crack". (for a brief synopsis of black women's hair care and terminology click here) I usually let my hair grow wild while stretching, and then perm (relax) it after several months. While in Cairo, I brought all my hair care products with me.
My goal is to stretch until August so I've decided to keep it braided. Thus far, I've had very few issues with my personal hair care regimen or with maintaining length. Today was my second time getting cornrows while in Cairo. It's easy to find a salon to straightened the black out of your hair or buy creamy crack in Cairo but there aren't any salons that I know of here that cater to "African" hair care. Fortunately, amongst the African expats and refugees living here, one can find a girl that braids or relaxes with little problem. A sweet Nigerian med-school student from Pakistan has been braiding my hair. I haven't been able to find weave here either. The Nigerians usually bring it from Nigeria with them and sell it to their clients. I've asked my cousin in Brooklyn to send me a a few packs of kankalon so that I can save money by not having to purchase weave for my cornrows.
For more on my hair care journey and regimen, you can visit my page on Hairlista here.
I also went to La Villa in Dokki. The spa/salon was a much needed reprieve. It's owned and operated by a nice Frenchmen who employs a multicultural staff. The decor was quirky and chic. The service was excellent!! My friend and I relaxed and flipped through French Vogue while our feel soaked luxuriously in rose petal water. As our feet were being attended to during our pedicures, a waiter brought us the best lemon/mojito drinks I've ever had. The young lady also expertly threaded my eyebrows. My friend got a manicure. It looked really nice. We left feeling pampered and pretty! I can't wait to go back :)
Pedicure: 40 LE (about $8)
Manicure: 40 LE
Threading: 25 LE (about $5)
Update: Tips on keeping your hair healthy while braided:http://www.hairliciousinc.com/2010/03/braids-and-healthy-ends.html
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Last night, I went on a midnight yacht ride down the Nile with a group of AUC students. I had a blast! Initially, we were supposed to only have a falookah ride but my classmate's uncle rented the yacht for us. Cruising down the Nile, looking up at the night skies with Cairo laid out before you is, as my friend Russ would say, straight money (money=dirty=awesome). I had a great time!
Before everyone else had arrived, I waltzed into the Four Seasons Hotel on the Nile and directed myself to their rooftop swimming pool. The indoor/outdoor pool there is a gorgeous, a cabana style oasis. I ended up inviting myself to relax by the pool for half an hour until everyone else arrived. I'd highly recommend the Four Seasons Hotel just from the looks of their lobby and pool lol. I wonder if I can go swimming there...
Friday, March 5, 2010
There is a listserv that was created for Americans working and studying in Egypt called Cairo Scholar. Many other Westerners and Western-educated Egyptians have also joined the listserv. The listserv functions as an avenue to share information and, at times, to engage in debates about anything. This week, a man send an email through the listserv asking what activities were their for families at Al-Azhar Park. Almost immediately, it sparked a conversation about social class and racism in Cairo:
-At this point, I shared my experience last weekend at Al-Azhar with the listserv.
If we're going to be sticklers on prejudice, why should we not discuss the strong bias against the "fellaheen" (peasant farmers) amongst middle-class Egyptians. Why, some fellaheen women are blonde, blue-eyed but would never stand a chance against a middle-class, educated, dark Cairene. "Marry your daughter to a crocodile but not to a fallah." ...Egyptians do not treat each other well.- Ahmed, Egyptian blogger
In the past, I was very critical of expats who live and work abroad but seclude themselves from the local population. However, I now realize how it becomes a means of adapting to an often hostile environment. Although, I do not live in one of the expat suburbs, I find myself forgoing the places around my apartment and frequenting the locale's that cater to foreigners. For example, I now shop at the supermarkets that serves a Western clientele to avoid being harassed at the local grocery store.
Repeatedly, other people who've lived and worked in Egypt carefully advised me to limit my friendships/interactions to other foreigners and the wealthy, Western educated circles of AUC to avoid "awkward situations". Initially, I ignored this advice, finding it to be elitist. I did not want to come to Cairo and live and act like an American. After only a few weeks, however, I found myself doing just that! There is no need to subject myself to the derogatory comments of an illiterate street-kid if I can spend a little more and have an enjoyable time elsewhere. Classicism, yes. Necessary, undeniably so.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
First, I'd like to thank everyone who has taken a moment to share a kind word or offer me some support via FB, Gchat, Twitter, email, etc. I truly appreciate your concern. Although these past two wees were trying, I am approaching this week with a determined and positive attitude! I fell in love with Arabic all over again this week! I can't forget how much I enjoy meticulously writing each letter or the exhilaration I fell when I can read a sign on the street or overhear parts of a conversation that I understand!
At Arabic Gitmo, our ECA (Egyptian Colloquial Arabic or Ammaya) classes have been picking up in speed and intensity. Initially, we only did oral practice in the class and very little written work. My writing and reading in MSA (Modern Standard Arabic or Foosa) is significantly better that my conversational skills in Ammaya. Thus, I've decided to put more effort into Ammaya. In addition to the structured class time, I will be focusing my time with my language partner on speaking and pronunciation. In addition, Arabic Gitmo is providing me with a tutor twice a week (In order to appease me after the conniption I had last week when they refused to allow me to withdraw and hit the road to Damascus).
I met with my language partner this week and we went over past-tense negations in Ammaya. For example: He entered the office. دخل مكتب
In order to negate this, I have to add ما the beginning of دخل and then ش to the end of it, making مادجلش medekhelsh (He did not enter). LOL, it's a mouthful!
In Foosa, we are gradually moving from idaafa's, to adjectives, and now to pronominal suffixes. We are also doing pronominal suffixes in Ammaya. It is with things like this that speaking more than one language and then learning another gets tricky for me. When learning new words or grammatical rules in Arabic, I often relate it to something in Creole, French, English, or even the little Spanish that I know. At time this can be beneficial for words that have similar sounds or meanings like tifl طفل (child) which sounds similar the Creole word ti fi (little girl). At other times, it can cause confusion with concepts or grammatical rules that do not translate well or Arabic words that sound like another word but mean something totally different: sin سن(tooth) vs. sin
For the pronominal suffixes, I find myself comparing it to conjugating verbs in French. Thus far, the only confusion is the slight changes in spelling and pronunciation between Foosah and Ammaya. In my head, the pronouns look something like this:
|In the safety of God. في سلامةاللة|