What a fun year, off back to Jordan then.
What’s happened in between? Well, it all began with a few medieval Arabic spells (in grammar class of course) and then, after Christmas, it descended on a path of intensive Turkish tuition towards the ultimate goal of Divine Union with Persian literature; culminating in my complete annihilation in the aforementioned, due to a combination of essay-induced stress, and far too much compensation wine.
I have learnt many important things. Like if you want to properly volunteer with refugees then you’d better get yourself some dreadlocks, all-weather Dr. Martens, camel cigarettes, and trousers so baggy they are at risk of becoming a bag with leg holes. I have also discovered that in the Iranian version of TinTin, Captain Haddock still drinks like a fish and that his famous exclamation ‘blistering barnacles’, is, somewhat disappointingly, merely translated as ‘dam the devil’. Still, for both his traits I consider the Captain a kindred spirit, who has helped me through the usual bewilderment and frustration of a year studying Arabic in the heart of Devon.
Unfortunately due to the nature of Arabic degrees at Exeter, only the first two years are language-focussed. In the final two years the language part takes a backseat and eventually counts for only a quarter of the eventual degree. Thereby producing graduates who have a beautiful, shiny Arabic degree, but would be more at ease boring you on the history of 19th Century Iraq than on how to tell a Jordanian taxi driver to cough up the change.
I do, of course, understand the necessity of having a piece of paper to wave in the face of employers as proof of my parent’s ability to support me through a four-year degree.
However, there exists a group of us such students furiously opposing this. I say furiously, but I take the burry-my-head-in-the-sand-like-a-good-ostrich-studying-Arabic approach, only coming up to graciously receive funding from Exeter’s friendly neighborhood Saudi Prince, thereby enabling me to study in Jordan for a month.
The plan is to stay with my friend Ali (of Jordan Valley fame) at our old flat near the University. I have laid this out to him in advance, bearing in mind my stay spans the whole of Ramadan and I assume he will want to spend time at home. But, possibly naively (but I like to think trustingly), I have taken his ever insistent ‘Inshallahs’ as concrete proof that I will have a roof to sleep under this Tuesday evening.
Stay tuned for more saucy thrills, boisterous banter and other unrelated descriptive words that shall surely capture and needlessly exaggerate my journey over the next few weeks.
Bring on the hummus.