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Is That the Boat or the Scoopy Thing? January 31, 2006

Posted by KG in FS Life, Pakistan, State.

It is Day 9 of Work Trying to Keep Me Busy, a day I’ve actually been anxiously awaiting. You see, all of what has gone on learning-wise at “school” has been, up to this point, rather utilitarian. Sure, I’ve had some interesting lectures on South Asian politics and history. I’ve been taught how one actually establishes being an American citizen (this can be way more complex than you think). Various talking heads have used PowerPoint to show me how to be a baggage handler and an all-around nice guy. But in general, the lessons have been kind of esoteric and, you know, work related.
Today I started learning something different. Something that will no doubt be of use in cabs nationwide, at some of the finer kebab shops in the area, and in entire parts of Yorkshire. The silver lining of having my departure delayed: Urdu training.

This stuff is hard. Real hard. I feel like a little kid back at kindergarten, really, no matter how many times the teacher says “shabbas.” Urdu seems, right now, to be a fairly crazy language. Sanskrit and Persian vocabulary, Arabic script, gender… this is definitely slightly harder than learning French…

Aleph Bey

No matter. I’m soldiering on. I’ve been assigned a task whilst in Limbo, one which may in fact be sisyphian but is also kind of fun. Getting paid to learn a language is not really that bad of a thing, though Urdu (and getting to 740 AM classes) is a pretty hardcore challenge. Just take a look at my buddy Chris’ face after a long day of learning his alephs, beys, and peys. Rough, no? (Kidding about the face thing buddy, I know you read this…)
It’s ironic that I never learned to write or read in my mother tongue but am getting the basics of those skills in Urdu. Mom would definitely alternate between being proud and being slightly annoyed. Then again, that’s par for the course with her.

Now: time for me to load Urdu vocab onto my iPod and go for a run. Khuda hafiz, blogfriends!



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