Day 1

Today I had my first Arabic class. I learned how to write four letters and five signs. I learned how to connect letters and make them into words. So beautiful. I adore the dots and the little pictures that I’m drawing on the paper. With every letter I say the corresponding sound and it’s such a nice feeling. I was having so much fun just learning the alphabet. Everybody else in the class shares my enthusiasm so we all had a wondedrful time.

I am a little nervous about the vocabulary. I’m already mixing languages. When the teacher asked me a few questions, one of them I answered in Dutch and the other in Croatian. It’s going to be very confusing, but I’m so looking forward to tomorrow. This feels like the best choice I made in a long time.

After just five hours, I’m already in love with it.

Day 2

The letters change depending on their position in the word. The vowels aren’t used as separate letters and are usually left out, unless they’re long vowels. I feel like I’m drawing pictures when writing words. One word looks like a cat, one letter like a duck and then it turns into a boat, depending on the following letter. The word for “berries” looks very happy: smiley faces.

I’m looking for an Arabic keyboard. Someone in class said that Deakin Uni might be giving some away. Hopeful.

My teacher is Egyptian. One person in the class is half Aussie half Egyptian. The other person in the class is Indian, but his job has involved travelling all around the middle-east for the last eleven years. I want a job like that.

Sitting in a small cafe in the city. I noticed that the waitress has an accent, but didn’t know from where. I took out my notes and was practicing writing my name and a few other words. The waitress came back and before putting down our coffees, she asked me if I speak Arabic, in a very surprised voice and with a confused look in her eyes. I told her that I’m learning it. She then told me that she speaks Arabic. I showed her my notes and pointed to a little scribble that was my name, and she read out “Ana” :)  All of this with a very surprised look. She finally smiled, gave us our coffees and wished me good luck with it.

It’s so cool how a new language opens so many more doors.

Day 3

Printed out S’s thesis on Arabic language and that was my morning reading on the tram. I was aware that I have a lot to learn about this language, but it feels an even bigger task now. I feel like a little kid who’s just been given this beautiful big toy and I can’t stop playing with it.

I know how to count to 19. I know how to ask for and tell the time. Nice system. In English there’s a ‘half’ past and ‘quarter’ past and “to” when telling time. Did you know that in Arabic they use a ‘third’ as well? I didn’t. And “25 past the hour” is “hour and half less five”. “twenty past the hour” is “hour and third”. Or at least that’s how I learned it today.