About My Blog

I Spent six weeks in Egypt before spending a year in Germany. This blog covers the best summer of my life. If you are looking for my posts while I was in Germany ask me, and I'll be happy to share them but I have been asked not to share them publicly. Feel free to visit my brothers blog of his year in Germany or my new blog

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm sorry: a recap

It's been a long time since I have posted and for that I apologize.
I'm writin this on Friday night but I'm not sure whether or not I will
be able to post until I'm back in the United States on Tuesday. It's
not that I have forgot to post or that nothing has happened, actually
it's the opposite. This past week I have been thinking alot and every
time I think about writing it down it feels like a daunting task,
especially at two in the morning when I'm exhausted. Well I finally
have time and it's four in the morning. I'm on a private bus with some
friends and we are on our way to Dahab. The trip is six hous and we
are about two hours in. I can't sleep like the rest of us but we
really should be because tommorow is going to be a long day. Before I
go on about tommorow I'll recap the last few days.

On Tuesday I was feeling sick and didn't do anything. I left my class
early and then used the afternoon to catch up on much needed sleep. I
wish I had felt better because we had a trip to the citadel which
would have been educational. Instead I spent the day in bed hoping I
would feel better the next day.

We have tests to show how much we have learned while we have been
here. I think this is ridiculous because written tests are not the
purpose of the Arabic I have learned on this trip. Sure I can read and
write but many people do not have the courage or capabilities to order
at a restaurant or give directions to a can driver. It is those
things that should be graded because it shows a willingness to learn
and apply your knowledge. Why learn Arabic if you won't een use it
while in an Arabic speaking country. But anyway I used my sick day to
study for the exams, of which there seem to he alot.

On Wednesday I wasfeeling better which was a really good thing because
we had our final presentations for our language class at ILI. Our
presentation went well, Yalda my partner was feeling sick so I did
most of the talking. Not because she didn't want to speak but because
I get nervous and need to make sure that we talked enough. In the
afternoon I slept again as normal but then some of us went out to
dinner with the Iraqis who we met the week before. They brought their
whole extended family and other families which was great. I was a bit
dissapointed in our group because we all invited to take them out to
dinner or a movie but then half ofthe people backed ou leaving the
cost of the dinner on half of us. I didn't let this bother me because
I know that the nice dinner and company would mean alot more to the
Iraqi refugees and myself than the extra money would bother me. The
meal was good and the conversations were again interesting. Some of
the stories they shared biug tears to their eyes as well as theirs but
they still happily shared. I thought, while listening to one woman
tell me how she saw her driver shot on her way to work and how the gun
was pointed at her until an American hummer pulled up, that someone
needs to ask all of these refugees to write or dictate on short story
or experience and then publish all of them. I know that people would
read it and say "awww" and then go back to their suburban gated homes,
but maybe they would at least understand the situation there a little
bit more. Ultimately the night was great and we exchanged information
and hopefully we can stay in touch.

Thursday we go our final grades from ili and recieved our
certificates. I got an overall A and nothing less than an A- in each
category. For me the grade didn't matter even if I had gotten a C. I
know that I have learned Arabic. Arabic has come pretty easily and
pretty quickly to me so my efforts on homework or in class were
sometimes not the best. Some people tried harder than me and got
better grades which is fair. For me the real grade or proof of how
well someone knows a language isn't the certificate or grade you get
it's how well native speakers understand you and how well you can
communicate with them and I think I can do that. One thing that I
forgot was to get gifts and souvenirs. I had been to the sookh a
couple of times mostly to look around so I went Thursday night and
actually got the things I had seen before and was interested in. I
didn't buy things specifically for anyone I just got a few things that
I knew people would enjoy. This was my last oportunity to go shopping
because our Friday was planned out and now I'm in dahab until the day
when we fly back home.

Friday was a good day because I got to sleep in until the day was half
over. After that I studied for a few tests and then took them. I have
one moreto take once I get back to Cairo but I have this weekend to
study for it. The tests wee both makeup tests to see if we improved
over our course of study and I think that I answered the questions
more completely the second time around. In the evening we had our
final PMEI goodbye/birthday party for Alex. We went to the Nile where
we got on a large dinner boat at around 8. The boat drove up and down
the Nile for almost two hours and we got to eat buffet style the whole
time while listening to music and talking about our trip to that
point. Some people left right from the boat to their bus to the red
sea. Two groups of students made the trip to the red sea. Josh,
Andrea, and Whitney paid to spnd Saturday and Sunday at a resort and
Nolan, Jamie, Kayla, yalda, Sara, and I got a cheap hostel right on
the water with lots of opportunities to swim and snorkel. Our bus
picked us up at two AM. I started writing this on the bus and have
been writing it in pieces since. The experiences here have gone on
making it hard to write about what happen before so I'll make a new
post solely for the purpose of our first two days here.

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