Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reading Left to Right and Back Again

So I have had the BEST intentions of updating this sooner rather then later, but it has been ridiculously busy being up here. My classes are pretty awesome and I really love my schedule. Finishing class by 2 pm every day is ideal and having no friday classes is a dream come true.

Econ is super super easy (thank you ACA DECA) and its a lecture with over 300 students so I basically surf the web and read whatever book I'm currently enjoying. Its so wonderful because its 50 minutes where I don't have anything else I should be doing since I can't do homework in such a loud environment anyways. There is a lot of busy work and weekly online homework tied to it, but even that's not too horrible - I think I'll most definitely get an A there.

University Writing SUCKS. I don't particularly love the Professor and I HATE HATE HATE the subject: La Vie Boheme. Who freakin' cares about the life of the vagabond? We spend half our class talking about how Bohemia doesn't even truly exist - to which I must ask "Then why do we freaking study it?!?" It is completely and utterly pointless and I am only taking it because I have to take a UW class this year and this one happened to be tied to Intro to Creative Writing; which I really wanted to take. Its really hard to get into and so this was the only chance I had to take it as a fish. I will suffer through any stupid class to take Creative Writing. I just wish they weren't tied together so I could drop La Vie Boheme for UW: Holocaust Survivors. But Se La Vie - no one's life is perfect.

Intro to Creative Writing is a dream come true. There are no grades (except completion) until the end when are final portfolio's are due; there is no real final exam; the teacher is AMAZINGLY nice; class is cancelled the day before Thanksgiving; and I get to do what I love - read and write creative things. :D It's the best class I'm taking. We just wrote a 2-3 page non fiction piece and I am now working on my 2-3 page fiction piece which I will post here for you guys to read once it's finished. I think I finally know what I'm going to write about which is always a fun breakthrough. It's due Thursday and the hardest part is that I have to tell the complete story in only 3 pages. I mean seriously? An ENTIRE story is supposed to fit on those meager pages? With a beginning, middle, and end?? That's a daunting task.

Arabic is... well... it's like nothing I have ever experienced before. And let me tell you- I am starting to feel a kinship with first graders learning to read and write and most importantly, SPELL. It's HARD. We soar through the book and I have realized this course is SINK or SWIM; I must say that I still don't know which way I'm headed. We know a few letters so far and Dictation is the worst thing ever. When we have to listen to some Arab person say a word and then spell it correctly I have so much trouble. It's like being back in grade school before I knew how to spell correctly and every letter sounded similar. There are 28 letters and there are 6 vowels; 3 long and 3 short. Distinguishing between the long and short vowels is one of the toughest things I've ever been asked to do in school. Because in Arabic short vowels are denoted differently than long vowels and there are symbols for EVERYTHING. Keeping track of all the dots and lines is weird. They even have what's called a sukuun (transliterated) which denotes when there are no vowels between two consonants and a Hamza which goes where there is a silence because a syllable begins with a vowel (which can't actually happen in Arabic) - a Hamza is like the dash between uh-oh in English. We don't have a letter for it but its like a stop deep in the back of your throat that you naturally make when you start a word with a vowel. There are also the letters in Arabic that we don't have in English so they're ridiculously hard to pronounce and I am afraid I'll never say them correctly no matter how much I practice. The language is written and read from right to left even though Arabic numbers are written and read left to right (yeah cause that's not confusing or anything). We have over 3 hours of homework a night. Yet, don't get me wrong, despite everything that's crazy or strange or difficult for me in Arabic I really do love the language. Sure I could have taken something like Spanish or Italian - languages that 3 years in Latin would have made easy for me; but where's the adventure in that? I am beginning to LOVE the Arabic language - I love its complexities and everyday I learn something new and exciting- its the best feeling in the world. I feel like I'm unlocking doors. It's fantastic.

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