Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brief Connection

I strongly believe that putting yourself in a situation where the people you are living with and depending upon speak a different language (that you've only really been studying for about a week), eat different foods in a different manner, have a different social and religious system, and have a different style of toilet (hashak), that it would do a lot of good.

Gesturing and using broken darija only get you so far. It is amazing how much I didn't realize I needed to communicate when living in a home that is tricky to do without the right words. And yet, the family and home life doesn't seem so unusual. We sit around the table in the living room and share l'ftor (Ramadan breakfast) while the satellite dish pipes in sitcoms and dramas for the Moroccan taste. The children laugh, play, cry, and do homework.

"You don't understand?" Is one phrase that I understand very well in darija. However, I also understand that we might not be so different after all.

(As I keep saying, "Ask me again how I feel about this in 6 months)


Janis said...

I went to Japan with two years of language classes in college and it was still difficult. It felt like having to think through molasses to speak and listen to the world around me. I think, though, that everyone should have that experience though. People need to get out and live in another culture so they can understand their own country and the world better. It comes down to people are people the world over, even if there are differences like language, religion and boundaries.

Lisa said...

janis- yes!

Loda said...

What are their houses like? Are they similar to ours?

Lisa said...

loda- They are similar to ours in a lot of ways, but I wasn't staying in a way-out-there village, they had running water and electricity all day. The family I was staying with had a family room where they also ate meals in front of the tv, a salon with a lot of sitting spots and a computer. The room I was sleeping in was the only bedroom (PC kicked the family out to the salon!). The bedroom was about the size of my parents' room at home, with a queen sized bed!

The heating situation is definitely different, there is one heater that hasn't been turned on yet although it gets very cold at night. You just pile on the blankets.

The kitchen is also interesting but not completely unfamiliar. I'll have to make another post about all this!

gold-dragontsu said...

"You don't understand?" Is one phrase that I understand very well in darija.

It's been about ten years since my last Spanish class, but some of the phrases that stuck with me are the ones announcing my lack of knowledge with the language/vocabulary (No se, No comprendo, Soy muy tonto en espanol, Como se dice ________, etc.). :} Hopefully before too long it'll be replaced with, "I understand." :)


Lisa said...

GD- Yes. I think it might not be such a bad idea to know how to say "I don't understand/know" or "I don't speak ___ language" when you're traveling internationally and don't have time to learn everything ;)

Slowly I'm learning more darija!

Loda said...

cool. This sounds like a redneck way of thinking, but I guess I always thought they would live in sod/sand houses with sand floors and awnings over the windows like from Aladdin. Cheap American stereotypes and Disney movies have ruined our views on the world!