15 Minutes Of Arabic

So today’s Arabic class was particularly interesting. All 15 minutes of it.

I’ll explain.

I get to Arabic on time (which is early to all the Malaysians apparently) and sit all ready for class. Then the professor comes in and starts speaking Malay…or Arabic. I honestly can’t tell the difference, which is pretty embarrassing. But my ear doesn’t work like that. I swear I hear Italian words when the Malaysian radio is on. And the professor tells me outright that he does not speak good English and he is used to teaching in Arabic.

At first he assigns a girl to be like my translator for the course. And I’m thinking “poor girl! She didn’t sign up for this just by sitting by me”. Then I’m thinking about a whole semester with some other random student translating the professor for me and I’m like “Oh God.” And while I’m thinking of all this, the professor has explained something to my new translator, who then tells me:

He has circled various other sections of the class with professors who speak English. And of course, I don’t have time to sit there in class and look through and see if there is one that fits in my schedule or whatever so I just say that alright I will look it over. Then everyone is staring at me expecting something and finally I’m like “well…should I go?”

And he’s like “It’s up to you” but what it sounded like was “Yes please, get the fuck out.” So I put my stuff away (which of course takes forever) and all this time it is dead silent in the room and everyone is just waiting, and I had basically set up shop at my desk thinking I would be there for more than 10 minutes. So I finally get up and turn to a class full of stone faces just watching my embarrassment. And in a moment of sheer eloquence (reminiscent of Aragorns speech in Return of The King) I just say “Um….bye. Sorry.”

And I flee.


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