Grammar, Nesquik, and the Fourth of July

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Arabic class!

The book, broken. The house, broken. The room, broken. Practically everything is broken. Confused? Allow me to explain. With Arabic school a few days in, we have started diving into more vocabulary and of course, grammar. Currently we’re studying the plurals, which can either be masculine, feminine, or broken, which basically means that the word structure completely changes! Worse yet, there is no way of telling whether a word is broken or not, and if you happen to figure it out, there are ten possible broken patterns so… you have to memorize!! (Why couldn’t they just add an “S” at the ending?)

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Fortunately, our teachers at school are amazing and they are making learning a lot of fun! We have four classes each day, two taught by one teacher, and the other two by another. Our first two classes focus mainly on vocabulary, while the latter two detail grammar.  Though we are covering content at an incredible pace, and we have a lot of homework, in class, it is all about games and conversation. We practice dialogue, play a lot of team games (which sometimes get too competitive :D), and get a lot of time to ask questions to our teachers, since there are only seven students in my class. For me, this is quite the utopia: going to school for four hours a day to study a foreign language and then working on homework for another few hours without the slightest threat of math and science eclipsing my day. Frankly it might be hard to go back to regular schooling after experiencing this. 

Not only do I love the educational environment of our Arabic school, Qasid, everyone there is so open-hearted! Today, our grammar teacher, who is so encouraging and helpful, brought us Nescafe and Nesquik, as well as Dairy Milk, one of my favorite chocolate brands that I discovered in India! As we sipped our coffee or chocolate milk (I chose the latter), we spent a solid 15 minute period just chatting with our teacher! In addition to my NSLI-Y peers, I have found all the other students in the school to be  extremely nice as well. Just today, a few of my friends and I went to make copies of our homework after class. As we were collecting the papers my ears perked up to the sound of chatter in Hindi /Urdu. Excitedly I turned to the girls and I asked them, in my language, where they were from, and it turned out, they were Pakistani students studying in Qasid on a scholarship from their university in London! It was exciting to talk to someone in Hindi in Jordan, and the girls seemed very happy to meet another fellow “Desi” (colloquial term for South Asian).

Back at the house, I find myself getting closer to my host family. They always go the extra mile to make me feel welcome and part of the family. Yesterday, a lot of us NSLI-Y students decided that we would do something special for our families for the Fourth of July. For some, it meant s’mores, and for others, pancakes. I decided to make brownies for my family! While ideally, I would have made them from scratch the way I do in the States, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to acquire the ingredients, so I brought some with me in the form of Ghirardelli Double Fudge Brownie Mix! I had a lot of fun making the brownies with my host sister, Rand, and the whole family was able to enjoy the treat!

Making brownies with Rand
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Ready to eat!
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Layali Lubnani, a delicious Arab sweet and another 4th of July treat!

I am extremely tired, so I think I should take myself to bed. You see, I didn’t describe this in detail last time, but Jordanian families don’t have regular sleep schedules during the summer. They’re practically nocturnal. Because Ramadan ended recently, and the kids don’t have school, families stay up until two or three regularly. That means that you’re either yawning in Arabic class or falling asleep during an after-school activity. So, I’ve decided to adhere to an early bedtime schedule, especially because I have to wake up at six for school tomorrow! 

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You know Ramadan wasn’t a long time ago when you see Snickers boxes that say “Ramadan Kareem” on them at the market!

!مع السلامة

6 thoughts on “Grammar, Nesquik, and the Fourth of July

  1. Shraddha blog par kar maza hi aa gaya. Very interesting and came to know your life in Jordan. Please keep it up with lots of pictures and interesting incidents. Enjoy the stay


  2. Loving the interesting anecdotes and following your recount of the”day”s in your trip!! Keep them coming!! Nice to see that world through your eyes….


  3. Learning Arabic makes French and Spanish look easy!
    We have Nescafe and Nesquik in France too! It is always fun to see familiar products (like the Snickers) in packaging written in another language. It was a great idea to bring Brownie mix to your host family! Did the family enjoy the gifts you picked out for them? I am sure playing with the kids is a great way to increase your vocabulary.


    1. Arabic is definitely a very hard language! I actually read a study which divided languages into tiers based on difficulty for English speakers. Tier One consisted of the Romance Languages, while the final tier was made up of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. I think one huge thing that makes Arabic is hard is that you need to know several registers. No one writes in dialect, and no one speaks in formal Arabic. So it’s like having to learn two languages at once!

      And about the product packaging, I love spending time at the store by our school just reading labels; most of them are direct transliterations of brands that we know, so it makes for great reading practice!

      My host family really loved the gifts; Rand always has her little purse on her, and the boys love playing with the cars! It’s funny because being in a house with so many little kids has given me a specific vocabulary. I now know words such as “troublemaker”, “stop”, “Why?”, and “more” because of context, which my other peers have picked up different words while at their houses. 😀


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