June 26, 2012

Someone has a brain, I'm sure

I absolutely loathe that this blog is public and anyone with half a brain that I know in real life could find it. I hate that social media tries to link everyone up through everything. It is creepy that Linkedin knows who I know and shows me who looks at my profile. It's creepy that my mother could find my Twitter without me even realizing it for far too long. I wish the Internet was more like real life and people communicated directly and openly.

That's a laugh. I don't actually believe there's such a thing as open communication, don't worry. Although! I have a tip to anyone suffering from communication issues with their significant other. Break up with them. Then be in an undefined position where you still see each other all the the time, but suddenly because you are not "together," communication just flows! You will do things like admit your darkest fears about the relationship and make contracts to put in writing precisely what you want from each other. It will be amazingly easy to say it all.

But it won't fix whatever issues are behind your communication issues. And then he will send you a message on Facebook and you will see all of those issues right there on the computer screen. Because the Internet is a part of real life now and insists on ruining everything.

(And although this ruins the beautiful closed circle of the entry as it stands above, I need to tell you all that Dogville was one of the greatest movies I've ever seen. And I've seen quite a lot of movies.  The bit when the man is going on about arrogance and discipline was the best speech I've ever heard and had been set up absolutely perfectly by the rest of the movie. Go see it. Now.)

June 22, 2012

Happy tears!

Are you ever so deliriously happy that you cry? I've just been looking around the Internet for the past hour or so, and every other things makes me cry. In a good way though, like this type of stuff. It's not just the Internet that's causing my happiness, obviously, but also just the way everything is in my life. I woke up to 5 text messages today from my renewed social life and my ex-boyfriend and I are probably getting back together because love blah blah blah. And there's only a week left of school and I'm going home for a few weeks soon and everything is on the up, up, up!

I hope things are on the up for you too, dears!

June 14, 2012

Arabic for Dummies: Part 2

This is the sarcastic issue. These are Arabic words that I use sarcastically. Some of this is likely blasphemous since it includes references to Allah and I'm using it sarcastically. Fortunately, it's hard to tell when someone who doesn't speak a language is doing it sarcastically. I also don't do it around any of my co-workers, who would actually be offended. Just around my friends. Especially the ones who know Arabic.

Adi - normal, ok, no problem
(I use this when people act like idiots, to indicate that incompetent behavior is normal behavior for them. For example, "Can you get the taxi? I don't have any money." "Sure. Adi.")

Mabrouk - Congratulations
(When people do things that are tiny and insignificant and really the opposite of impressive, I like to congratulate them in Arabic. For example, "You got yourself a glass of water. Mabrouk.")

Insha'allah - Allah willing
(I repeat this whenever someone says it to me but I can tell what they really mean is don't hold your breath. I also say it when I can tell that someone is predicting something that won't actually happen. For example, "When will you be there?" "At 8." "Insha'allah, see you at 8.")

Hamdulillah - Thank Allah
(I say this when someone does something finally, at long last, when it is really way past the appropriate time to do it. For example, "I brought you this book that I borrowed from you seven years ago." "Hamdulillah.")

You're welcome.

June 10, 2012

The Lifestyle

This weekend was my birthday, so like any good recently single girl, I had to go out and party. Which meant a trip to Dubai for me and a few of my friends. It's slightly more difficult to go out in Dubai for us, being from Abu Dhabi and therefore clueless. Mostly it just involves a lot of travel between the different venues that we do know or want to try. We tried to go to one club, but that night there was a cover of 150 dirhams per person. (Roughly $50USD) Certain clubs also have things like "Indian Night," and if you're the wrong ethnicity, you don't usually have fun. (Although I totally enjoyed the bit when we stumbled into an Indian Night.)

We also went to dinner at JBR Walk. It's a strip of a restaurants on a wee street where people drive their fancy cars so that everyone can see them. And our food was fine, but not necessarily worth the price we paid, just like the cars. (The restaurants aren't actually that showy - there's a Chili's, for example - but still overpriced.)

Here in Abu Dhabi people also try to live "the lifestyle." The lifestyle of spending all of your money on fun, constantly, with no regard for tomorrow or the substance of what you're spending the money on. The slogan of Abu Dhabi Mall is actually "It's a lifestyle," which I find sadly un-self-aware. (The marketing in this country as a whole is really odd to me and my acclimatization to America's perfected marketing. It's like they don't know that there's a science behind it here.)

And there are times that I really get sick of the superficiality of it all, like 5am on my birthday when I am drunkenly calling my ex-boyfriend because he seems so much more real than the dude I was just talking to, who stole his entire appearance from LMFAO and didn't even flinch about buying all of my friends their drinks.

But then the next day, soberly, the lifestyle can be salvation. Going to the insanely huge mall for breakfast and window shopping was a wonderfully effective distraction from my guilt over my slip up.

June 06, 2012

Graduation differences

Two days ago I went to the school's graduation for the 12th grade boys and the 6th grade girls. (At grade 5, they split by gender, and girls classes only go up to 6, at which point they transfer to another school. This is due to the space available at the school and when they move to a bigger building, insha'allah, there will be girl classes up to 12 too.) The kids wore robes over nice clothes, just like they do at American graduations. But the girls' robes were failing to cover elaborate party dresses of poof.

There was also a performance part of the ceremony, which America doesn't usually have. A group of girls performed a traditional Emirati dance, which consists of a lot of hair shaking. It was odd to see the girls, some of whom wear scarves during the normal day, with their hair down and straightened and tossed around enough to make Willow Smith very proud. (Although none of them have a clue who Willow Smith is, sadly.) If you want to see an example, go to youtube. Then a group of boys performed a traditional Emirati dance, which includes color guard-esque gun tosses and tapping of camel sticks. You can watch that on youtube too.

The students were all back at school the next day and they have finals in two weeks or so. That was another difference from American graduation, to continue school after the ceremony. Not that the days are very learning-intensive anymore. But I still couldn't have imagined it that way before seeing it with my own eyes.

June 02, 2012

Arabic for Dummies: Part 1

I am going to teach you some simple Arabic phrases today. Coupled with the place where I learned the phrases. Get excited!

Yalla bye - Come on, bye
(This is Arablish, obviously, but everyone and their mom says it at the end of conversations. When I first realized my ex-boyfriend was saying it, I was offended because the "yalla" can mean "hurry up," which is how I'd heard it used at school. So it seemed highly rude to end a phone conversation with, "Hurry up, bye." But yalla also means "let's go," "come on," or other general interjections and isn't always negative or commanding. I still haven't entirely gotten used to it, but there's a first grader who likes to talk to me at recess and he uses it, which makes it almost endearing.)

Shukran habibi (shukran habibti) - Thank you, my love/friend/dear
(The one in parentheses is the female version. This is pretty basic Arabic that you pick up within like a week, so I can't remember where exactly I first heard it. But I do know that I use it whenever I have manipulated someone into doing something for me. At my old apartment, a bunch of our friends used to spend weekend days being lazy on our couches. And if I could manage to convince another lazy soul to get up and get me water, etc. they would always receive a gushy "shukran habibti.")

Wa'allah? - Swear to Allah?
(This is a request to prompt the other person to respond "Wa'allah" as a statement, affirming that they indeed swear to Allah. Which is basically a verification that they are telling the truth. I use this constantly at school when kids fidget and pretend they need to go to the bathroom so super badly. It's amazing how many of them will swear to Allah when they are obviously lying. But if they say it, I let them go. It's not my problem at that point, it's between them and Allah.)

Tawil belik (tawli belik) - Calm down
(This is a Lebanese phrase, actually. I learned it while at a 2 day concert with my ex-boyfriend and his friend. In the morning the day after the first concert, we woke up and there were roughly ten people in a room that had originally only had 3. We started drinking immediately, of course, and the Arabs were so amused by my lack of Arabic knowledge that they decided I needed to know "tawil belik." Which is a hilariously appropriate thing to say to a drunk person every other minute. And they laughed every time anyone said it.)

You're welcome.

Also, you might have other things you are curious about my life here in Abu Dhabi. If you have questions that you would like answered with a long rambling post, I'd love to hear them. Or if you want to know other phrases in Arabic, I can make another entry with more, if I know them. (I will be posting an entry about greetings in Arabic in a few days, so don't worry about those, I've got them covered.) Ask away!