Monday, April 9, 2012

Sitting with Lilly

Tonight at ESL class, I worked one-on-one with a woman from Morocco who speaks Arabic!  I'll call her "Lilly."  I greeted her with a typical Islamic greeting that I picked up somewhere, and has come in handy quite often.  Her eyes lit up and she realized I was speaking her language... but I had to disappoint her when I explained that was pretty much all I knew.

Lilly knows very little English, so we worked together outside of the regular class to focus specifically on some basic vocabulary.  She has a lot to learn, but she is eager and definitely making progress.

Meeting Lilly tonight reminded me of my many Middle Eastern friends I have met over the past few years and made me wonder what they are up to now.  Teaching Lilly reminded me of the intense satisfaction and thrill I get out of watching someone learn.  Listening to Lilly imitate my sounds, and mimic the shape of my mouth, and then actually produce a very similar sentence as me was incredible.  Spending time with Lilly and even taking a minute or two to learn some Arabic phrases reminded me of life overseas, and language learning days.  Being with Lilly made me want to ask her if I could come visit her at her home this week.  Talking with Lilly gave me a face-to-face interaction with another culture, language and religion- one that is pretty far away from my own.

Sitting with Lilly tonight was the highlight of my day.

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