Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 45: I'm Speaking As A Jewish Mom, Not Your Ulpan Teacher... Please Don't Go To Egypt

At the risk of sounding repetitious (since almost every post starts out this way) today was truly a fantastic day for me. First of all, this was not just any ordinary day in my Ulpan class. Today was the day I had to give my presentation on my relationship with Arabic entirely in Hebrew! "Oy-Va-Voy" as the Israelis say! Interestingly enough I was not the slightest bit nervous considering I was giving a whole presentation in a language I don't know very well. The subject matter is so close to my heart, and I am so passionate about it, that it really didn't matter to me what language I was explaining it in. The fact that I was speaking about one Semitic language entirely in it's cousin Semitic language, however, did bring me much joy :-)

What was supposed to be a 5 minute or so presentation, turned into one much longer due to questions, explanations, and, of course, ARABIC MUSIC!!!! I couldn't resist playing as much Arabic music as I could possibly get away with :-) I think I got in a good 3 songs! I talked about how it all started 8 years ago when I worked for an Egyptian man married to a Lebanese woman,  talked about studying Arabic in Berkeley and my time studying the Palestinian dialect in Jerusalem, of course I talked about my free cab rides due to singing Arabic songs for the cab drivers, talked of my wonderful time spent in the Old City and Muslim market place, and discussed what I am currently studying and why.

After my presentation the floor was open to questions, and I got everything from "who is your favorite Arabic singer?", to "What Arab countries have you visited". When I explained that East Jerusalem was about the most Arab place I have been to as of yet, the inevitable question of "What places do you want to go to, and where are you planning on going?" came up. I told the class I was going to Jordan in October, and hope to visit both Lebanon and Egypt. Well... My Ulpan teacher was not so happy about this. She immediately went into, what I like to call "Jewish Mom" mode, and told me that I was not to go to those places! She seemed quite concerned, and I don't think my unafraid to a fault attitude and my statements of  "O no it is no problem. I'm really not scared. They will think I'm Arab" helped the situation. I assured her I wouldn't go to Lebanon at present, but couldn't give her that same promise about Egypt.

After the presentation I went home for some lunch and then met up with Ariel and Russ for some much needed and very necessary time at the beach. I almost feel like I'm becoming their 3rd roommate minus the fact that i don't actually live with them! We got to the beach and headed straight into the sea. The cool, clear water was so calm and wonderful that we stayed in for probably 2 hours! While we were bouncing around in the water, I had the brilliant idea to swim to the rocks to do a little climbing... well, A) the rocks were extremely slippery, B) they were sharp, C) I'm highly uncoordinated and very accident prone... Maybe not the best idea. Lucky for me I did manage to climb the rocks successfully, enjoy the amazing view from the top, and make it back down, HOWEVER, I have plenty of new cuts and bruises to show for it. It seems like every time I'm with these boys I end up bleeding... Good thing I just got a prescription for an iodine antiseptic (I think I will need to keep that in stock).

When we finally worked up the courage to get out of the water, and we needed courage because it was very windy and cold, I laid out to dry off (and was freezing which is not a familiar feeling here) while the boys played paddle ball for a while. After we were all dry we walked around for a little bit and then it was time to head back to Ramat Aviv. When I got home it was time for a quick shower, dinner, a Bollywood, and now, due to extreme exhaustion, I look forward to getting a good night sleep. Tomorrow Dana, Russ, and I are off to Caesarea for a pre-Shabbat trip, and I am so excited to see a new place in Israel! It is supposedly gorgeous and, conveniently, very close to Tel Aviv.

Stay tuned for an update on the trip :-) Lilah Tov my friends,
Jordana Simone 

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