Naam wa La (Yes and No)

Means "Arabic" in Arabic

I was sitting in Arabic class Friday trying to figure out how to describe in Arabic a picture of King Kong hugging the Empire State building for an exam question… 

Needless to say, it wasn’t going that well. Let’s see with my limited vocabulary, I could say that I like that tall building. The weather looks like winter. I like Manhattan? Never been there, so I really don’t know if I do or not. I was expecting something a little easier to describe with my very, very limited vocab. Come on, give me a picture of a beach and I could at least tell you that I like sunny weather or that the season is summer! I couldn’t even remember the word for gorilla…

This past week has definitely been one that has felt much like a monster climbing and howling all over the mountain of my life known as  “graduate school”. The coffee container is nearing empty too which is never a good sign. I’m having to dig around to find some old flavored coffee and beans to grind. Yes, it’s been a week!

Recently, I was in a professor’s office discussing in French what to write for a paper for one of his classes. I told him that I was stressed. He looked like he felt sorry for me and asked why. I told him how Arabic was so difficult. He grew up speaking Arabic, so he asked to see my book. I handed it to him and he started flipping through the pages where I had done some practice. He told me that I seemed to be doing very well. He then handed me the book back and looked me in the eye. He told me that I shouldn’t quit trying and asked me if I knew why. I shook my head. “Because this is an important language. It has a future in the U.S. It doesn’t matter what job you get, this will be a good card to have in your hand, my friend. You’ll do fine.” He smiled and told me about how he was trying to teach himself Spanish too, so he could understand how hard it can be.

I know it wasn’t much, but it did help me feel a little better. I often feel like I’m on a spinning merry-go-round juggling balls and trying to keep from flying off. The only trouble is that I’ve started dropping balls (aka forgetting things that are due and appointments) and sometimes feel like I am indeed going to fly off this spinning insanity into an abyss where exhausted grad students go and never come back.

But, I’ll not get too pessimistic…

Yes, my schedule is packed! To top things I keep adding to it not really thinking how it’s going to get done…

Yes, I’m usually stressed out and exhausted! However, I’m learning so much. Although Arabic is hard, I’m learning a lot more about what it’s like to be a student sitting in a language class feeling completely lost. French always came fairly easy to me although it’s not always easy either. I was usually the nerdy one sitting in my undergrad French classes, and now I’m the struggling one in Arabic. I’m definitely learning quite a lesson in empathy as a future teacher because I don’t have to try to pretend to know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes, I AM in their shoes.

I’m trying to keep a good outlook even if I do come back to my abode feeling pathetic sometimes. My younger brother made the following suggestion as a remedy for my stress when I mentioned how stressed I was:

I think I might print one out to place in our graduate student office in our building…

I told him how much I appreciated his suggestion, but in order to keep from getting a headache, I figure I’ll stick to my three favorite stress relievers right now:

Sleep

Sleep

Coffee

Friends

In the meantime, I really better get busy on that presentation for this week. And, then there’s that commitment, and that abstract, and that meeting…

I better start brewing another cup of coffee!

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