J is for Jor–Irritating

I’m in a remarkably good mood right now, all things considered. I mean, there’s this Sally Fields movie on right now and her character was on the phone while her daughter was being murdered. Like, screaming, struggling–the whole bit! But on my lap is a smallish computer which I am using to access facebook and write this entry. So I missed the most horrific part–I think. I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t try to gauge the horror factor and should instead just settle on, Who the crap wrote this?

Look, the point is: my apartment doesn’t have internet. Like, none. And not anticipating this scenario–ever, not even in my tamest dreams–I didn’t bring any good literature with me. Also, completely forgetting how freaking exhausting language training is, I neglected to bring entertaining alternatives because, like, of course I’ll be able to spend 12 hours a day studying Arabic!


But I do have TV and I have spent a few to several hours this week getting reacquainted with this piece of technology. I mean, it’s been 4 years. I can’t just rush back in to this, you know? Right so, last night I sat down to watch So You Think You Can Dance and squealed because Oh My Gosh! SYTYCD! On TV! In MY LIVING ROOM! You’re squealing now, too, I know. Well, turns out that MBC is showing LAST season’s, which would be major demerits except that I didn’t have a TV last summer either so any season’s a good season, right? (Wrong. I actually did see season 2, which was the summer of 2006 which just so happens to be the summer I was at BYU doing an intensive Arabic course. ) But then! This couple was about to go out and Samba and the music starts and the camera cuts to some guy sitting in the audience. Wait, what? And then they show the couple twirling, and then another cut to that guy, and then a cut to the sign, and then Cat Deeley walks out and is all , That was awesome!


Um, I don’t know if that’s ever happened to you, but it is not awesome.
A few numbers later, Joshua and his partner did a 12-second Rumba. Have you ever heard of a 12-second Rumba? No, you haven’t. Because it doesn’t exist!



:0 :0

But wait, there is more.

Tonight, my roommate and I sat down to watch an MTVArabia special about Michael Jackson and they bleeped out words. Words like, “Gay” and “bisexual” and “crotch“. And more than once, “sexy”.

All I’m saying is, don’t get too attached to your oversexed culture. Because one day, you could be watching TV in Jordan. And when that day comes, you’re just going to be all alone in a hotel room watching some creepy movie about your murdered daughter. And then you’re going to be SO GRATEFUL that those censors did not let those filthy words hum across your tympanic membrane.

Off to Wadi Rum in a few hours. Pictures when I return!

Last night I made a shocking and horrifying realization: Amiyya and Fusha are two separate languages. And all these years spent carefully memorizing the vocabulary and mastering the grammar of Fusha hasn't gotten me any closer to becoming fluent in the language. Because this Fall, when I commence my study of Amiyya, I'm going to have to start all. over. again.
Before I confuse you too much, let's get this out of the way: 'amiyya' is the colloquial Arabic–or so they told us in school. Actually it's the spoken language, which they also told us in school. But what they didn't tell us was that 'amiyya' is a whole new language. Like there aren't just 'some' differences in grammar and 'some' differences in vocabulary. No, there are a few similarities. And the rest? Entirely different.
Fusha (not foo-sha. Foos-Huh), by the way, is completely ridiculous. Fusha literally means “the most eloquent” and the rules and much of its vocabulary are derived from the Qur'an. But because back 1500 years ago there was no such thing as a satelite, because indeed there was no such concept as a spherical Earth, the guys in charge of making up new words came up with “manufactured moon.” If I may just ask, WTF?
The past two days in class we have been going over vocabulary words for all the furniture in the house. We'll be like [word for couch] and he'll be like ah, yes. Also, in Amiyya [word for couch] is [entirely different word for couch]. I have a list of 63 words and 59 of them are completely different words in amiyya. The other four may–probably do–have amiyya equivalents, but I missed them because I didn't write fast enough.
So if any of you are considering studying Arabic, just don't. Just stop now and go back to Spanish.  Because dang, you will never learn Arabic.

I have no internet; I only have a computer.

28 June 2009
Dear Diary,
Today was great. In our afternoon class, Quteibah, one of my two instructors, taught us all the gruesome ways people could be put to death. By guillotine, decapitation by sword, firing squad, hanging, and a few more methods of decapitation. And I thought the electric chair was inhumane.

This evening, I was pleased to realize that other than on the JD and a half that I spent on water and juice, I didn’t spend any money today. Suck it, Taxis!

Also, You may be pleased to find out that I showered yesterday. That makes Two times in three days. Hear that, Guinness? Call me!

I’m in my new apartment now. Hooray! I haven’t seen my roommate in a while though. I wonder where she’s gone off to? I’ll post pictures sometime. First I should take some. It’s about a 20-minute walk to class—downhill this time—and it’s near a main road—op! Speak of the Devil, there’s the roommate! So what was I saying? Oh right, so a downhill walk as opposed to my crazy uphill one in Utah. That’s pretty cool. And I’m just a few houses away from kind of a busy road, but it’s far enough that I’m not bothered by the noise.

Or at least, that’s what I was telling people before I moved in. Last night was my first night here and I was all excited to sleep in my new bed and wouldn’t you know it? HONKING. Honk! Honk! Honk! Honk! Honk! Honk! (pause.) Distant honking. Cheering. HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK. (pause.) Distant honking. Cheering. HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK. For like 45 minutes! And then, right when I thought all was quiet in the night, the clapping began. Clapping, cheering, music—I can’t take these jubilees! What about my beauty sleep?!

Luckily, I sleep like I’m intoxicated so when the time came to sleep, sleep came.
So all is well—exceptionally well, really, since I didn’t have to deal with taxis today.
Oo, except for one thing. You know that 30 Rock episode where Liz Lemon is supposed to write something for Jack because Jack needs to impress some people but Liz doesn’t make it to the meeting because she stayed up watching Tootsie with Floyd and so Jack pitches a 3-hour Salute to Fireworks but then his fireworks show scares the crap out of Midtown because fireworks in April in Rockefeller Square? So Geiss takes away his responsibilities as head of Microwave Oven Programming. Yeah, well, that’s sort of how I feel. Like, someone is doing a salute to fireworks but instead of one 3-hour special it’s every freaking night. The mayor really should call Jack Donaghy and get the whole thing shut down because it’s going to freak out all my relatives who don’t need any more convincing that the Middle East is full of mad gunmen bent on enslaving Western civilization.

Hah. Just one more funny thing before I sign off. Straight from that very episode:

Jack: I want you on this, Lemon. Those jokes you wrote for my Mitt Romney fundraiser—they were top notch.

Liz: Those weren’t jokes. That was an appeal for a return to common sense and decency.

Jack: …Well they got big laughs.

Ho man I love that show.