Becoming an Arabic speaker

So the other night I had fallen asleep doing my homework while sitting on my bed. I have been doing this often, no matter what strange and uncomfortable position I am in--it doesn't matter, I still fall asleep at the most inopportune times. You would think I would learn not to do homework while sitting on my bed. But it is only the last 15 minutes or so of homework that I do on my bed...or a last bit of scripture reading for the day, etc. So I had fallen asleep in this uncomfortable position, and when my roommate came in, she said I said something in Arabic to her. Naturally she didn't know what it was (for all she knew, it could have been Farsi...or just an English mumble, but I like to think it was Arabic), but when she told me the next day what I said, it could very likely have been the Arabic imperative "pray!" This helped me realize that Arabic is becoming not just something I do, but something I am.

And since I am once again delaying my homework to write on my blog, I will draw an intriguing gospel parallel here. How do we get the gospel from our minds into our hearts, from our thoughts into our lives? How does the gospel become who we are instead of just what we do? I think it is a similar process to my success in "becoming Arabic"--I spend much of the day studying Arabic, I often think in Arabic, I do normal activities (praying, reading and studying the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, etc) in Arabic, and I am preparing for total immersion in the language--an in-country experience.


Well, we need to spend much of the day studying the gospel. We need to think in terms of the gospel: its principles, doctrines, and commandments. We need to perform our normal, daily actions in a manner consistent with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And, we need to prepare for total immersion in the gospel; either through membership in the church (real immersion, by baptism), or a renewal of our covenants each week as we take the sacrament, and ultimately for the total immersion that will come as we leave this mortal life and proceed on to the next. If I am not ready for total language immersion before I get to Jordan, I will really struggle and I might never be able to catch up. And there are parallels with this as well.

But I won't enumerate them all. Otherwise, how will you learn them yourself?


Bushrou Angelii

So yesterday I got Preach My Gospel in Arabic and today I was going through it with my regular Preach My Gospel study. It was thrilling. There is something about reading the scriptures in another language that makes it so much more meaningful: probably because it takes me so much longer to get each word! I felt this way about Hebrew, though, before I ever started learning Arabic. I will never read Genesis 22 the same way again after reading it in Hebrew. But anyway, I have been trying to learn how to do simple things in Arabic--pray both a personal prayer and as if I were praying in a public setting, introduce myself as a missionary (just to prepare me for the mission, no matter what language I speak!), bear my testimony for 10 minutes, etc. I am feeling quite pleased with my progress, and most of all it is helping me really focus on the core doctrines and principles of the gospel, since I can't say very much. A couple of weeks ago I wrote down the Plan of Salvation (Chuta Al-Chalas) in Arabic, and it was a beautiful experience to think of the gospel in such simple terms. And who knows, perhaps one day I will be able to use my Arabic on my mission!


Why Arabic? (I ask myself this every day)

So since I am having more fun with blogger than I would studying for my impending midterm(s) (I do have more classes than just Arabic!) I thought I would post for all to see my reason for choosing to study Arabic. It is quite a fun story, fraught with danger, adventure (of course!), and, naturally, Jerusalem, so here goes. My first month in Jerusalem was crazy. I felt more emotions than I can even enumerate or talk about, even if I talked about them, say, every day for a year, which I have. One of those emotions, unfortunately for my ever extending graduation date, was a love for the Palestinians, their culture, and especially their language. I volunteered in a Palestinian embroidery shop and we got to hear the stories of Palestinian women, many of them widowed or divorced, and the hardships they go through to try to support their families and give their children a better way of life than what they have. I realized that I wanted to do something to make the average American housewife understand that Palestinian does not equal terrorist, that there are women just like them who live in Israel and Palestine (and in refugee camps in other countries) who want their children to be happy, who want to live in a peaceful country, who want to be alive to see their children and grandchildren grow up, and more personally who want a house of their own that they can clean, who want their families home for dinner, who want their children to be educated, and who want to worship God as they see fit. Basically I wanted to change the world. So I decided that I would learn Arabic and then write a book about the average life of Palestinian women, and maybe one day it would be featured on Oprah and then everyone would read it, and then people would come to love the Palestinians as I have. So I want to change the world. I think it is a reasonable goal, especially since I have given myself a year or two to do it. :)

Oh, and ps, if you want to see my old blog from Jerusalem and some great pics, www.byujerusalem.spaces.live.com

Adventures? in Arabic?

Ok, so this blog is called "Adventures in Arabic," but everyone knows that I have adventures with more things than just Arabic, so I will basically be posting whatever I want here, but it will always be adventurous, at least in my opinion. But then, I think a lot of things are funny that others don't, so I guess you take what you get with me. :)

So...Arabic adventures. I have a midterm tomorrow--yeah, not so excited about that. But whatev, as they say in Arabic :). The most exciting thing that I have been working on recently is a story called "Alf Genie wa Genie" in transliteration, or "A Thousand and One Genies" in English. We have been reading from "A Thousand and One Nights" so my story is somewhat patterned after that. It is even a continuing story, so at each writing appointment I have a new section of the story. I think it is pretty clever. When I have time (!) I will post my Arabic story on here with an English translation, and maybe some of my world-famous Paint creations if you are lucky. And if I pass my midterm...
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