Having been in Morocco for little over a week now my Arabic is understandably limited. I am always impressed, however, by the aptitude others show for languages. On my second day here my host told me all about a Korean girl who volunteered for a month and how she was speaking Arabic fluently by the last week. “And there was another volunteer from the U.S. who stayed for three months, and by the second month he and I could have conversations in Arabic!” My host was so enthusiastic about these past volunteers and he looked at me expectantly.
“Wow! Good for them!” I said. What I really should have said is something like “If you’re holding me to that standard then boy howdy are you going to be disappointed.”
A new volunteer from Canada arrived the other day and of course because he’s Canadian he speaks French and English. That’s impressive enough for me, the man who was taught Spanish from kindergarten to high school but still sometimes forgets how to ask for the bathroom.
Why stop at two languages though? So while our host family is speaking Arabic to one another this Canadian rummages in his bag and pulls out a notebook filled with Arabic lessons he had written for himself. Oh how the host family gushed.
Did I say I was impressed by people who pick up on languages quickly? I miss-typed. Those people are invited to keep company with short shorts, skinny jeans, tight t-shirts, probably speedos, and all the other things that make me look bad.