Wednesday, June 24th
After settling in at the Royal Al-Akhawayn University, we started the serious business of learning classical Arabic. Our teacher, Mr. Oussama, made every effort in getting the first letters of the Arabic alphabet into my head. However, the jet lag, heat and humidity, and the new environment were our enemies. Very little was retained that first day, and I actually started to ask myself if I had gotten in over my head! Even as a seasoned polyglot, I was facing unprecedented challenges. Writing from right to left was like holding the pencil for the first time! I was concerned about my handwriting (as only a real teacher would be)....All these dashes and dots!......This experience was a refreshing reminder of the hurdles faced by my own English Learners in Los Angeles. Although they may not need to learn a new alphabet, the feeling of being "lost in translation" was definitely real.