Tonight was the night. I have talked about it for months, have based life-long plans on it, and even managed to convince my parents that three minors and spending a year abroad is a good idea because of it.
I had my first true encounter with Arabic!
This evening I went to the Arabic Flagship Talent Show. I truly had no idea or expectation (other than thinking “You know what, I might actually understand something!”–a definitely delusioned thought in hindsight) about the night before walking in. I was way more than pleasantly surprised!
However, I do have to preface this post a little. My first encounter with Arabic included me being so completely lost that I laughed when everyone else in the room laughed because they actually understood the jokes (5% percent of the time) or praying for English subtitles (95% of the time). About ten minutes after included people explaining the references to me, as well. Poor Maha–now I know why she is so lonely and doesn’t like falafels. But I definitely laughed at the Oklahoma weather video. Tornado jokes are pretty much universally understand by any native Okie–the hilarity of Oklahoma weather has no language barrier!
I do definitely remember being wildly intimated at points, though. Sitting in a big room filled with belly-laughing people, missing punch lines, and trying to explain that I literally know one word of Arabic, “no,” (because I deduced it contextually after ten videos) makes me a little nervous about how the heck I’ll actually learn this language.
I’ve had people ask me, many times over, in the past several months with wide-eyes and slightly dropped-jaws “Why are you wanting to learn Arabic? Isn’t that going to be so hard for you?” And every time I was more than excited to defend my potential third language and brush the worry-warts off my shoulders. But tonight made me realize how much is in store for me with Arabic. It’s wildly thrilling, but actually a little terrifying for the first time so far. And I haven’t even started yet!
But while I was typing up that last little paragraph filled with my first inklings of nerves and fears, one thought popped into my head that helped restore some faith in myself (it’s definitely about the fearless woman who started this whole journey for me).
Jaci, you better come back to hear me say my first words in Arabic to you (after mutually freaking out about reuniting for about five minutes):
"لقد غاب لك."