I’m Fluent in Arabic!…. Now What?


So the results are for the most part in and Alhamdullilah, I am fluent in Arabic ya’ll…. Now the question remains, now what?

On the one hand I am relieved, there were certain goals that needed to be accomplished and they are done, or almost.  Now I just have the rest of my life staring at me.

Let me backtrack, the main issue is that these last few weeks have been up and down, bittersweet, for reasons that I can and cannot put on the www.

My uncle, well my aunt’s husband died the day before I left morocco. I guess technically she is my mom’s cousin, but in our community the cousin’s of our parents are treated as aunts and uncles… so yes, she is my aunt, and he was my uncle.  We weren’t close, somehow it’s harder to be all that close to older male figures. But he  was always there… since I was two or three and spent days at my cousins house, her daddy was always someone I thought of as there.  My memories of him throughout my childhood are all favorable.

The news hit my mom hard, we are a lot closer to their family than we are to some of my real aunts and uncles.  Life is funny that way.

But back to the topic at hand, on the one hand, he ended a long bought with cancer and is at peace now, I think.  On the other hand, I can’t help but think of someone who worked so hard all their life, only to die before he could retire and enjoy the fruits of his labor.  His only daughter, my cousin and the apple of his eye won’t get to have her father give her away, her kids won’t have a grandpa.  I remember the last time I saw him, Ramadaan two years ago.  He had the serious but satisfied look on his face of someone who had grown accustomed to fasting.  My aunt as usual, stuffed us full of whatever she was cooking that day for iftar… I wonder if I would have done anything differently had I known that it would be the last time to see him alive and well. I imagine how it must have felt to get that news, that the cancer was back, had spread and there was no hope for survival, to nurse him daily has his body and mind deteriorated.

I’m processing all of this on a delayed schedule, I had to push this and all other stuff out of my mind as I prepared for my language tests, but now as they wind down, and  I have quiet moments to sit and reflect the mind goes dark…. Dark blue that is….

Honestly, it’s not just the passing of a loved one.  It’s a larger extension of a way I have been feeling for a long time, only now there are no tests or readings to distract me, no private life to separate out from academic life.  There’s only life and its cold, hard realities.

Perhaps it’s selfish of me, I mean people die of worse circumstances all the time.  Why do I think that someone dying in the arms of their loved ones is so depressing?  It’s not. But something about it seems absurd, in a Satrean existentialist kind of way.

A line from the book the “Stranger” by Albert Camus comes to mind, at the end of the novel he main character surrenders himself to the benign indifference of the universe. The universe certainly does feel indifferent in a lot of ways…

But I will try to end on a positive note.  I am in a blue period.  The thought came to me today and I quickly googled Picasso.  I got to thinking about how these dark days of his life became the time period for some of his most famous works.  Am I a Picasso?  Ha! I  wish I had half of his talent.  His blue period reminds me to at least try to remember that things that feel and seem really bad in the short-term will make more sense in the long-run.

So yeah, to make reference to what is probably a universal saying, No matter how long night is, the morning will come.

I know how you feel old man, I know

Here’s hoping that my daybreak comes soon.


2 thoughts on “I’m Fluent in Arabic!…. Now What?

  1. That you’re able to say, “no matter how long the night…” and believe it tells me that you will be okay. All the same, the standard words of consolation are inadequate in times like these, I know, so I’ll spare you. I’ll put in a prayer for your uncle’s family. Congratulations on being fluent! I’m interested to know what brought you to study Arabic in the first place.

    Insha’Allah this is the darkest of night and you’ll be on the upswing soon.

    • Thanks dear they are coping as are we, At least there isn’t another Islamic holiday till next year– the holidays are always the worst right after losing a loved one.

      Nothing in particular and everything brought me to Arabic, but as I sit here, during this longest night, I certainly do question the wisdom behind it…. I suppose it has come with the plus of a wider base of cultural consumption. eh.
      The direct cause, was that I needed a 4th class my freshman year and I remembered that the Arabic professor (who had looked all alone at the Arabic table during the “meet the departments” night at orientation) was nice and encouraging. So I signed up, and although I’ve looked back from time to time, and left it at the side of the road, I always came crawling back.

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