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…to prove to daddy that i’m not a fooooooool. Sorry, I can’t help it, we were talking about Billy Madison today and it just seemed so fitting. Today was the first day of classes and I had a ball. We are in three separate classes, and mine is the largest with eleven people. Our ustadtha (oostatha, teacher) is a woman named Khowla (like cowla, but with a gutteral, phlegmy khhhh going on) who is really sweet. She is pretty much letting us set the pace for the class, and she plans a lot of activities to break it up and keep us always speaking. We have class monday-thursday for four hours a day, 9-11, with a fifteen minute break partway through. We take class in the dorms of AUC, just down the street and around the corner from the Flamenco, our hotel. Khowla gave us an impromptu lesson on how to effectively ride a cab in Cairo (read: not get ripped off) and I can’t wait to practice. Class is a little difficult for a few reasons. First, I’ve only been taught traditional, which is the Arabic of the Quran. Every country has its own colloquial, and the idea is that if you know traditional you will be understood everywhere. But really, think about how silly you would sound speaking in the language of the Bible. Now picture a child speaking in the language of the Bible. That’s approximately how dumb I sound on a daily basis. The second difficulty is that at NU the focus was on reading and writing, not vocab. I didn’t even know how to...
Delia is an activist, writer and photographer who has been traveling the world part-time since 2006. She works in international development and financial inclusion, and has a background in study abroad, human rights, and politics.
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