Finally finally / letter to Asmaa

Sneak peek on what my life and my Arabic look like right now – with deluxe instant corrections from lovely Asmaa!! 😀

Please note I wrote without using the internet in any way, i.e. this really is my Arabic, no less and no more!




#WritingThursday –> will hopefully have time to make list of new vocab + practice reading this same letter soon 🙂

Tiny announcement

Hello lovely people from Jordan, Italy, the US, the UK, Switzerland, Romania, France, Spain, Germany, Vietnam, the UAE, Iraq, Belgium, Indonesia, Latvia, Portugal, Israel, Egypt, New Zealand, Malaysia, China, Qatar, Lebanon, Sweden, Denmark, Georgia, Australia, Canada, Norway, India, Lithuania, Croatia, Brazil, Ireland, Macau, Nicaragua, Poland, Austria, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Palestinian Territories, Colombia, Tunisia, Morocco, Hong Kong, Bahrain, the Philippines, Serbia, Slovenia, Tanzania, Russia, Japan, Greece, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and Mexico who regularly or occasionally read/ have read this blog!

Woah that’s… SIXTY-ONE COUNTRIES? Seriously?? Awww I had never paid attention to the country stats before!!! Exciting!

With the start of my new job tomorrow, I am taking one week of complete break from this blog. It will be painful because I have grown very attached to it; but it will also be necessary for my mental and physical health, I think. I hope it can be just a week and not longer – just the time to adjust to my new life rhythms basically 🙂

Just so you know, my new employer is and I am super excited to join their high school exchange programme team in just a few hours!!!!! While unfortunately there is no Arabic involved, I see it as an important way to contribute to the expansion of positive inter- and multi-cultural relationships in this conflicted world where neighbours fight each other mostly based on ignorance and greed. But before I get to philosophical and all… bye. Hope to see you again soon 😉


p.s. two weeks, actually


The measure of a person…

The measure of a person…

As my first day of new job approaches, I realise that I am getting more and more excited as well as more and more stressed, despite the fact it’s really quite hard for me to get stressed. And in fact it’s a type of nervousness rather than real stress, something that literally flies my nerves up on the surface of my skin. Rationally I know it’s a useless and totally unnecessary feeling, but I learnt a while ago that I can’t fully control my body 😛 so instead I’m trying to find a ‘cure‘, so to say; some kind of thought to bring the nerves back down where they belong… especially as everything will be just FINE hahaha, and even if I worry about not having enough time for all I want to do, I mean – we are all certainly going to survive and be happy even if I stop doing something. I know that! I just don’t like the mere idea of having to drop something.

On my wall of postcards, in the kitchen, there is one intruder that, whoops, is not a postcard.


See it? …well you can’t, because apparently I took this picture before I added that as the last perfect detail hahaha!!! And I can’t be bothered to take a new picture now, I’m sorry. This intruder is the business card of a friend of mine, printed both sides, because on the back it says, in a very simple yet effective font:

the measure of a person is determined by the challenges they accept

not by their successes,
not by their talent,
but by what they accept to take on.

Now, this is something that resonates with me deeply. One of my favourite quotes ever. And since I feel that I’ll need to remind it to myself soon and often, I’ve decided to try and translate it in Arabic, even though I’ll probably make a mess. I want my measure to be determined by this challenge, too 😉  But! I haven’t learnt how to make passives yet, so I’ll turn it around and change it a bit: the challenges you accept determine your measure!!

challenges = التحديات | attahaddiat
to accept = يقبل | yaqbal?
to determine =  يحدد | yuhaddid
measure = قياس | qiyaas

التحديات التي تقبلينها، تحدد قياسك

lit. the challenges which you (female singular) accept them, they determine your (female sing.) measure.

I need to ask Asma’a/Ramy/someone if this is correct haha 😛 I want to start every day by saying it – with correct pronunciation, of course! I can practice my different “ha”s hahaha!!

Oh, that picture of me above is absolutely random, by the way. My little sister took it when she last came to visit me 🙂

So on January 1st I said this… whoops!

It’s surprisingly been two months already since the beginning of the new year and, hey, remember? On January 1st I had said a few things about what I’d do to keep up my Arabic and all things (in my opinion) related. Now- we all know what it’s like with New Year’s Resolutions 😛 So let’s just review those for a second and try to make sure I keep on track:

  • I will do my best to utter and/or write at least one sentence in Arabic every day
    Hmm okay, I’m not doing too bad in this respect; I certainly do say or write something in Arabic most days, be it even just a whispered ‘bismillah’ or a text to a friend –> ✔
  • I will take some time to specifically read MENA news at least once a week
    Well do HRW and UNHCR newsletters count? If yes, … ✔
    but I could definitely make it more of a definite point *taking note on scrap paper*
  • I will actively look for jobs and/or volunteer work that require me to practice my Arabic and/or to be in contact with people from Arabic-speaking countries
    My upcoming job doesn’t need my Arabic, no –> ✘
    but I’m volunteering with Paper Airplanes to tutor a Syrian refugee in English, and on occasion Arabic does come in handy and she teaches me new words!! –> ✔
  • I will keep writing here i.e. push myself to find something mildly interesting to post every day on the topics I have set myself to focus on
    Yep! Finding it hard to stick to the daily schedule and -I know you must’ve noticed- I often just write three or four posts on one day to make up for lost ones, but I am more or less keeping this resolution going 🙂 –> ✔
  • I will study the Qur’an, page after page, at least twice a month and reach out to Muslim friends and other (trusted) sources to try and clarify whatever I may be puzzled about
    I have most certainly not done this, no; I think part of me just doesn’t know how to go on about it, actually, as I don’t even know my own religion that well and have many questions unanswered on that topic – so mayyyybe it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to be exploring something else before I’ve figured out step 1, don’t know. We’ll see but for now it’s definitely a –> ✘
  • I will learn more about refugee health, especially mental health
    A big X for this one too, but it’s also because contrary to expectations I haven’t found a job that has to do with refugees, so… hmmm big decisions to be taken soon –> ✘
  • I will try and cook some Middle-Eastern dishes and discover where in the city of Torino I can find the best falafels, shawarma etc!!
    Not done this and want to!! In my defense, my new place only got a dinner table two days ago and so far I had no reason to go and eat out – but yesss from this month on I shall abide to this self-suggestion! 🙂 –> ✘

TOTAL: 4✘ + 4✔

I suppose I just about pass the term 😉
Next report card at the end of April!

Where to study Arabic next?

Alright, alright- I haven’t even started my new job yet and I’m already thinking about my next big(gish) holiday. Soooo unprofessional. But it’s just because I can’t wait to be able to be in intensive Arabic school again!!!

Besides, I’m really just dreaming for now, as I certainly won’t be able to take said holiday before at least December this year. The nature of my new job doesn’t go well with long summer breaks so in the foreseeable future my main vacation time will have to be between October and May, and besides that, of course, I first need to work enough to actually deserve days off haha!

But. I do love to plan early, or to pretend I’m planning anyway; to create a wishlist of sorts. Here’s my current go-to list of next Arabic-speaking destinations… please do shoot further ideas and motivate them if you have anything else in mind!!

3. Morocco – not higher on the list just because the dialect there is super different from the Arabic I’m used to so far, and I feel that I should first get stronger in Fussha and Levantine Ammiya before I go get confused with different words and accents. But I had taken Morocco in consideration last year already, as an alternative to Jordan, and I’m still hot for it 😉Image result for morocco

2. Lebanon – perhaps not the safest place right now, though surely not the most dangerous either; veeery well renowned for its buzz & beauty. A must-see for me, just not too soon also because I don’t want to risk comparing it to Jordan too much, it being a neighbour and stuff. I can’t explain it well but it wouldn’t feel fair. My heart is and will always  be with Jordan because it initiated me to a whole new world (go Aladdin! 😉 ) – you never forget your first love, right? Image result for lebanon

1. EGYPT! It’s a no-brainer: I have connections there including my current Arabic teacher, it’s the link between ME and NA, and drama heroes Maha & Khaled from my Arabic books are from there!!! Hahaha. No, but seriously- I was also invited to a wedding in Egypt in 2011 and couldn’t go, so the country’s been waiting for me for long enough already. Image result for egypt

Let me start looking up schools… 😉 😀


Sorry I don’t think I can write anything today… I just got a phone call I had been waiting for twelve days telling me that

عندي وظيفة!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[I have a job!!] or even better,
I have The Job I Wanted and I am super exciteeeeed

Ok sorry I have to jump here and there for half an hour now!!!

Letter to my teacher Sarah

Original version before Asmaa’s corrections 🙂

مرحبا سارة عزيزة!! كيفك؟ اتمنى أنك واسرتك كل تمام وان ألسنة الجديدة بدات جيداً لكم.

اشتقت إليك ومونة وصفنا كثيراً ولذلك قررت أن اكتبك رسالة: أخيراً، أمس وجدت “وبسايت” حيث يكمنني أن اكتب بالعربي وهو سهل!!! هذه أخبار جيدة جداً لي هيهيهي. ولكن في أخبار أخرى أيضاً، طبعا!

ألان أنا أسكن في مدينة “تورينو”، هي مدينة ليست كبيرة بكثير وفي نفس الوقت ليست صغيرة بكثير – هي ممتازة ويسكنون فيها كثير من اصدقائي الطفولة وبعض من أفراد عائلتي. شقتي الجديدة حلوة: ليست  تممان جاهزة ولكن أنا سعيدة هنا. امامها شقة أخي وصديقتنا وهذا ممتاز أيضاً: ٣ أو ٤ أو ٥ مرات كل اسبو نكل كل معا فالمساء ونشاهد أفلام أو نتكلم عن أفكار مهمة مثل الدين وسياسة والحب. في يوم الأربعاء بعد عشاء ندهب إلى صف خاص “مسرح الارتجال” وهذا مضحك جداً!

طوال الأيام ألان فقط أعمل قليلاً كما استاذة الانجليزية ولكن أينتظر أن أخبار من عمل جميل – سأقول أكثر عندما أعرف اختر! كان عندي مقابلتين معهم… إن شاء الله الاسبو القديم ستكون سؤال منهم. ولكن أنا مشغولة مع خطاط العربية ودراسة العربية والكشف (مشغولة وسعيدة جداً!) وشقتي وكل أشياء الأخرى.

تمام هده الرسالة طويلة جداً! أنا اسفة! لو سمحت كلمني عن نفسك واخبرك. كيف صفك الجديدة، سارة؟ هل مازلت تدرسين مع مونة أو لا؟ وكيف هنا وشري؟ كيف عمان والاردن؟

أريد أن اكتب رسالة إلى مونة أيضاً هكذا – لهذا الوقت إن أرسل حبي إلى الاثنين!


ب.س. لي استاذة جديدة بال”سكيبي”، هي مصرية وساعدتني مع هذه الرسالة!! ؛)

  !!!p.p.s. OMG I’ve been invited to a new wedding