The Airport: Where I Obtain Friends

We’re starting up Arabic classes for the ex-pat faculty on Wednesday and I’m so excited! It is amazing how quickly a foreign language fades when you don’t have consistent exposure (which I don’t get inside of our English bubble). Add the growing rustiness to the fact that I speak this strange combination of colloquial and formal Arabic… I can’t wait to continue my formal Arabic education, and especially add to my functional Arabic, which can be pretty hilariously slightly off at times.

Take for example a recent Arabic slip up at the airport. There are many places in Jordan where they have checkpoints along the road, which usually consist of a police officer asking you where you are going. They barely listen to your answer before saying “Okay, go ahead.” Very tight security. The funny one is at the road that leads into the airport (and goes nowhere else). Where are you going? Uh, the airport… Okay, go ahead. Well, I tried to be fancy one time and speak to them in Arabic. I was going to pick up a friend coming back into town so I tried to express this to them with my rusty language skills. I couldn’t think on the spot a word for “pick up” so I tried “get” but the “get” word I used was a more formal Arabic word which means more “to obtain” than to get. So, what I said was “I’m going to obtain friends at the airport.” They immediately began laughing, and corrected me. When I got into the airport, I thought about making some new friends just so I would have been telling the truth 10 minutes earlier.

Pumped for classes to start. I would love to come home from this experience with solid language skills.


Posted on December 6, 2010, in Arabic, Living Abroad. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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