My last week or so has been overwhelmed with Arabic words, and I’ve had my nose stuck in books all these days. I rotate my books – Arabic for a bit of studying and then I read an English book to give my mind a break and then back to the Arabic. Our current term technically doesn’t finish until Wednesday, but we are taking off a bit early for a trip outside of the country. My husband has some meetings with his company and I have a number of appointments lined up with the beach and the bar. I’m only half joking. You can choose which half.
So instead of having a leisurely week of review and loads of time for studying like my fellow lucky-duck students, my husband and I have been cramming for two tests that took place today. Thankfully, I’m eating again, so this wasn’t as difficult as it potentially could have been.
Our one class was difficult to study for because, frankly, I’m finding it really hard to build up the motivation to actually care about classical Arabic. I don’t have a television, so I don’t watch TV shows that use the classical Arabic, and the Arabic that is around me is, of course, the local dialect. (ask me what the Arabic word for dialect is, I totally know it). There was one exercise on the test that left me sweaty and stumped. I had no idea what I was doing and just ended up madly circling and underlining things, hoping that I got at least one correct answer. I was relieved to learn later that my smarty-pants husband also felt like he had bombed on that part.
The second test was much more difficult to prepare for because we were given 4 topics, of which we would pick ONE on test day and then immediately have to start talking about the topic. In the past, we’ve been given a myriad of topics to choose from and we can prepare one to talk about on test day. The previous way is much more nerve wracking because I had to prepare all 4 ahead of time. I spent a lot of time on the vocabulary for television and media and also language. I had cute little stories, quips and even the use of a new word in a sentence that went something like “expressions are connected with culture because it is through expressions that I can understand the culture” Genius! Instead, however, I chose “home and family” one of the most boring topics suggested. How could this happen to me? I thought Ramadan was supposed to be kareem (generous)! To top it all off, I was disappointed and flustered, so I forgot my ingenious phrase to go along with this topic that went something like, “we enjoy the view from our balcony” It would have been beautiful, too, because I had actually read over one of my previous written assignments and made a conscious effort to note the grammatical corrections. Once again, the cherry on the top of my misery sundae was when my husband said, “The written section was so hard because of having to change everything to plural.” Change everything??? To plural? I so failed.
I’m trying to be excited about my impending travel (tomorrow morning we drive to the capital city and then fly out in the evening), but I keep thinking about the terrible performance I made on my test. I feel like I’ve bought something impulsively that is way out of my price range and I’m now regretting this decision, but there is no way to reverse the situation because the store’s policy is no exchanges or refunds. I feel like I could puke and pee simultaneously. I’m a wreck. Could I be kicked out of school for being the stupidest student? Could I? I’m pretty sure they will make a plaque in my honour warning future students to “Beware of becoming a pinnacle of stupidity like White Girl.”
Just like a local hospital whose name is “The Typical ((City name)) Hospital,” where typically people die when admitted to the hospital regardless of the seriousness of their original condition, I am “The Typical Arabic Student” – brilliant in study but clams up in the test.
Oh! Guess what showed up? The other half of the joke about the appointments with the beach and the bar. It’s the circle of life.