December & Almost Done!

Happy *drum roll please* December everyone! ‘Tis ACTUALLY the season, thrilling, I know. I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but I spent Thanksgiving in Savannah, Georgia and in Charleston, South Carolina, also thrilling. Thanksgiving was a well needed break and now until the semester officially concludes is the moment we’ve all been waiting for: final exam season.

Over the break I did a good amount of homework, but probably not as much as I should have done. There is always an endless supply of homework in college, but I also got to relax a little bit which was well worth it. So really, it was a win because I also took a lot of naps whenever I could.

Thanksgiving naps!


Example A: a sleeping portrait of yours truly during a Thanksgiving nap photographed by my lovely sister.

In addition to the naps, my family and I ran a 4 Mile Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning! We also explored downtown Savannah, and I drank a lot of coffee as per usual. My idea of relaxing includes sleep and caffeine, so naturally I partook in both, I hope everyone got to relax and recharge before finals begin!

Example B: If you’re ever in Savannah I recommend the Coffee Fox coffee shop, yum!

We also went to Tybee Island and saw the lighthouse, the beach, a lot of stray cats, and dolphins!

Tybee Island Lighthouse!

I also played photographer, and the lighthouse was in the back of the picture I took for the ‘rents.

Sometimes you must lay on the ground for the best angles. (Shoutout to Puddle + Sushi for making it on the blog.)

I had such a nice time over break and, unfortunately, it was short lived, but winter break is around the corner and the finish line is near! Although all students are pretty much experiencing the same feelings right now, wishing they had more time for sleep and less of the high doses of stress that finals bring, the marathon will conclude before we know it. It is the last week of classes and there is so much to look forward to. Just a small reminder to push out until the end, it is worth it, and despite the late nights, early mornings, highly caffeinated days, and stress, the finish line is near and we are on the final stretch!

Will report back soon. Study hard and keep moving forward friends!

Second Semester & Cultural Exploration

Happy July everyone! I’m currently blogging from Lawrence, Kansas (yes, again).

I am half way through my second semester of an intensive language course and I’m still alive, and possibly thriving? I took my second midterm of the summer and have only two weeks left until I’ve completed an equivalent of one year of Arabic studies in two months.

In the first two weeks of second semester (in addition to class, tutoring, quizzes, exams, midterms, homework, and studying) I’ve attended a cultural presentation hosted by a Kuwaiti Professor, a field trip to a middle eastern café, and an Arab cooking class followed by an Africa Eats Dinner. I also have a new tutor from Saudi Arabia.

 

Insight to how these things contribute to my journey learning Arabic:

Culture plays a huge role in influencing many different aspects of the Arab world. In my experience with the Arabic language thus far, my exposure to different regions of Arab culture has been extremely beneficial in helping me to understand how words sprout new meanings and have certain connotations in different contexts. This understanding is extremely important in developing not only fluency, but native-like communication. Furthering my comprehension of Arabic words beyond classroom utilization is especially useful when developing my own vista of words that don’t translate into English.

On my road to becoming a global citizen, and in preparation to be able to take part in foreign relations in the future as an officer, I’ve realized the extreme importance that breaking language barriers plays. The more native speakers I get to interact with and the more I learn about courtesies and take part in different customs of diverse Arab culture, I feel more personally connected with what I’m learning. Beyond standard educational benefits, I’m beginning to grasp how learning Arabic truly offers numerous intangible benefits that extend beyond reading and writing and tap into why communication is a vital skill in a globally interactive world.

Cooking Class Highlight:

One of my absolute favorite dishes I learned to cook is an Egyptian dish that doesn’t translate into English but is pronounced sort of like “mesa’a’ah”. This is an eggplant dish with potatoes, spicy peppers (we used jalapenos), and homemade tomato sauce with garlic, onions, and spices. All of the ingredients are cooked separately, then are added together in a dish and baked. This food is absolutely amazing and fairly simple to put together.

The actual name: المسقعة

 

In addition to learning Arabic, and dealing with the ever-present Kansas summer heat, I’ve been running in the early mornings or late evenings depending on the day and have expanded my caffeine repertoire on quests seeking new study spaces.

Will report back soon!