1001 Arabic Nights


Oh – wistful sigh – the stories I could tell you about the sex, drug and electro-music – obssessed Italian teenagers. For sure the tale of Akram’s business card, which I employ now as a bookmark could also have been enshrined into a blog post. The sad truth is that I have been too busy to continue my confessions and that my daily routine of walking for two-and-a-half hours and teaching for eight is taking its toll in physical and mental fatigue.
Constant contact with foreigners nevertheless continues to please. I am dealing very well with the unceasing extroversion required of my profession and I am convinced that my love of improvisation is at the root of it. I have grown passionately fond of Akram and his friends and have forgiven but not forgotten his trangression. I have heard King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia described as “vedy beautiful person” and have been suitably bemused at his feature in Akram’s “Greatest Person in the World” project presentation. In short, I have been freshly motivated in my desire to learn Arabic, first announced back when I was marvelling at brain plasticity.

I just love how everything in the language is stylishly incomprehensible and back-to-front. I have self-diagnosed dyspraxia (the most severe kind) and if there is a ‘wrong’ way to do something simple, I have found it. For example, one summer while eating dinner high up in the Swiss Alps, an American across from me regarded the manner in which I was holding my fork and asked me whether this peculiar grip was “Irish tradition”. I told her it was but have had a silent complex ever since. Perhaps for this reason, the idea of reading unintelligble symbols backwards has long held an intuitive appeal.

So I have bought myself a backwards Arabic workbook so that I can learn the alphabet. It’s mega-cool. It only cost me €5.65 in Hodges Figgis and it requires of me to trace letters repeatedly just like I did in those special copybooks when I was four. Last night, while babysitting in a quiet house with nothing but the heavy breath of a sleeping labrador beside me, I began to form the letters: Alif, Baa, Taa, Thaa …

It’s sure to be a journey of 1001 Arabic nights and more, but it’s only one item on my ever-growing mental to-do-list, which includes – if only putatively – emigration and re-sewing the golden buttons onto my coat from AWear. More of both in the future, but meanwhile, why not follow me on my journey and learn some Arabic with me along the way? السلام

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7 thoughts on “1001 Arabic Nights

  1. Hehe, I love the photo 🙂 …and when you’re less of a busy fish and even though I know the stories, I, and the rest of your readers ;), would like to read your retrospective confessions!

  2. I was so looking forward to your weekly entry for weeks!

    Why do you need to walk for 2.5 hours each day?
    And yes, I have interesting experience myself talking to foreigners too! Have been engaged in this weekly English conversation class in London and the interactions amidst correcting their English is not only fulfilling but also exciting as they have many stories to share! So do allow peeks for your dear reader(aka me) once in a while into the mystique of foreign culture!

  3. Hi Clariice! So good of you to leave a comment 🙂 I just stopped over at your blog and it’s looking brilliant! That sounds really interesting – what’s the context of the conversational classes? I’d love you to post about some of your experiences there! Well, on the days when I teach evenings too, I have to walk to and from work in town (one hour each way) and then back out to teach again (15 minutes each way) at another school. It’s good for clearing the head but adds to the exhaustion! Will do my best to post more regularly – hoping I’ll get much better at preparing classes quickly 🙂 Hope all’s well with you x

  4. Of course I would leave a comment – I have been coming here every twice in a week and have been sorely disappointed!! 😀
    The classes are meant for folks who come to London to learn English(it’s free) and they can come to attend to have an opportunity to speak. We dont really go for basics but we do correcting of English/reading..That’s about all. It’s about 1.5h long and in between we have breaks and everyone gets to mingle around. We try to do current text for the less advanced levels and controversial topics for discussion as well. It depends…

    And you really amazed me!! Leading such a healthy lifestyle!! Just returned from a run today – feel much better and healthier and more inspired to perhaps return to short stories after a series of poems..I will try my hand on writing on a class or two but I havent manage to string them up together..That’s the problem I am having. Been pleasantly surprised during the classes but then again, I wasnt able to link them for a proper delivery..Any ideas?

    I am all good and I even created a song with a friend – with the poem – Almost a year! It’s my friend’s farewell party and I got motivated to convert it. Luckily I have a talented friend with a good tune and we did quite well on last Sat 🙂

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