Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Updates - When Will Then Be Now

Marhaba - Howdy

Of all the questions in my FAQ the one I hear the most is "when are you leaving," and honestly I still do not have an answer for that. Currently Qatar is having a settling in period with their new Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.  Along with these adjustments come many changes to the hiring process which puts me in a bit of a pickle.  I currently required to provide more paperwork that I did not expect.  Unfortunately this paperwork is vital to my position and I cannot leave without it.  And so it goes, until the document in question makes its rounds through many levels of government I cannot depart.  :(

assalehmu 'alaikum - peace be upon you


Arabic Picture Dictionary and Other Resources

I like a broad spectrum approach to studying since I get bored easily. I think this is why I gravitate to language learning products designed for kids, they are geared to my attention span. I might be doing things backwards since I don't know my Arabic alphabet.  I am using The Berlitz Kids Arabic Picture Dictionary; a Child's First Arabic Dictionary, which includes "Over 1,000 Words and Phrases." 

Here are some handy words and phrases.

hade' - quiet
osmot! hafedh 'aala alhedo'! - Shh! Be Quiet!

ketab - book
ana aqra' ketab - I am reading a book.

maktaba - library
almaktaba momtale'a belkotob. - The library is full of books. 

qesa- story
kolona na'aref hazehi alqesa - We all know this story.

yaqra' - to read
hal ya'aref kaif yaqra? - Does he know how to read?

yamtalek - to own
men alrae'a an tamtalek ketaban. - It is wonderful to own a book.

Here are some helpful sounds bites so you can tune your ear to Arabic letters.
Hear Arabic Survival Phrases

If you think some of the vocabulary sounds familiar this is because we use many Arabic words as common English words like artichoke, jar and zero. (Wikipedia)

Here's a studying tip, stop before you brain gets full.  I like to take a break and brush my teeth.  I'm not sure how my Arabic i but my oral hygiene has never been better.

ma'aa assalama - goodbye


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Learning Arabic; the Multimedia Method

As a library card carrying member of the Greene County Public Library my first step in learning Arabic was to scour the catalog for any resources that I could help me.  There were some books but a lot of them did't have pronunciation guides.  I downloaded some audio ebooks but I couldn't find a book to match.  I wondered how I would learn a language if I couldn't see and hear it at the same time.  
I made two wonderful discoveries.  The first being Mango languages online resource which was recommended by another librarians.  We are a helpful bunch after all. Mango teaches MSA or Modern Standard Arabic.  Many countries speak Arabic as their national languages but with their own local variations or dialect.  As with English there are many words for similar ideas. Just think of all the greetings we have in English that are formal, informal and just plain crazy.  How did we ever get from Hello to wassup? 

I did learn a downside to Mango. Their app cannot support languages like Arabic which are written right to left.  I did note that the app can teach you to speak like a pirate leaving me to question their priorities just a smidge.

Another resource I am really enjoying is the Little Pim line of dvds in Arabic for early
learners.  Each dvd is about a half hour long and teaches 60 words.  The words are spoke aloud, printed on the screen and used in a variety of sentences. Although the movies are geared toward children ages 0-5 years old I found them to be wonderfully helpful and very entertaining.  Check out the YouTube example of the first Little Pim dvd which focuses on food and eating.

I am also fully enamored with Arabic Phrases for Dummies by Amine Bouchentouf.  It's
organized in an excessively useful manner.  I plan to buy a copy Amazon so I can write notes in the margins. 

Wa 'alaykum 'as-salaam - and upon you peace


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Updates - Anticipation Is Making Me Wait


The good news that is also great news would be that not only did my diploma arrive today,
my reprinted transcripts arrived today. And...they all have the correct authentication.  I was elated but then I went right into business mode.  It was off to the FedEx store where apparently they do not use the word mail.  They would also prefer you not use the word mail because, the post office sends mail and that is not what FedEx does.  You learn something new every day.  So now my transcripts and my diploma are being FedExed to Washington, DC.  My courier has been alerted and now we wait.  Its all a little anticlimactic. 

In other good news I was able to Skype with some family members so I know my laptop is ready to go. If you would like to Skype with me now in the US or later once I am in Qatar please email or text me and I will send you my user name.  It's in my info on facebook if you can find it buried in my profile. I just do not want just any ole yahoo messaging me. 

For those of you who might be worried I could be bored, not to worry.  I have an evolving To Do List.  While the types of items on the list does change the number of items never really decreases. 


Sunday, May 11, 2014

#Qtip: What Qataris eat (Qatari food)

Updates - A Place for My Stuff.


Thank you George Carlin for perfectly explaining the importance of having space for all our
belongings. Currently my worldly possessions are scattered across three counties. I now officially live with mom. I'm back in the room Barbara and I shared since the age of 8 up to heading out for college. Not that we got too far away since we went to the same school, and lived in the same dorm. Now begins the consolidating process and determining where everything landed after the whirlwind tour Saturday of trying to move in a monsoon. Here's a tip, UHaul trucks should never hydroplane.  And another tip, if the rain is so bad you cannot see out the windshield, putting your emergencies blinkers on can improve your visibility to other drivers. Your visibility will still be terrible.

Still no news about my paperwork so I'll be calling the registrars office tomorrow to see what is going on. 

No big plans thus far, I'm going to get a Greene County Public Library card since my old card still says I'm a juvenile. 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hummus Recipe

A popular Middle Eastern dip served with fresh or toasted pita bread (a flat pocket bread).

Recipe Serving: Serves 4–6

  • Ingredients 
16 oz (450 g) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup (60 ml) liquid from canned chickpeas
3–5 tbsp (45–75 ml) lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp (23 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt 

  • Instructions 
Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients with 1/4 cup (60 ml) liquid from chickpeas and purée until smooth. Place in serving bowl, create a shallow well in the center, and add the olive oil. Garnish with parsley.

World Trade Press. "Qatar: Recipes." AtoZ The World. World Trade Press, n.d. Web. 8 May 2014.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Food and Beverage Preview


I'm working a post about all the fantastic food from Qatar. Since I am having way too much fun learning about the local cuisine, I decided to post an awesome video to perk up your appetite. Enjoy watching the chefs create a number of traditional Qatari dishes such as Marguga, a delightful Qatari 'pasta' dish with vegetables; and Mashbuss, a traditional rice dish with chicken and spices. Please refrain from licking your monitor. 



Monday, May 5, 2014

Love and Support


It is no surprise to me that my friends and family are avid readers.  However I did not expect to have 1,000 page views in such a short time.  Thank you so much for your curiosity and support as I try to make some massive changes to my life and zip code.  My first post was April 20th and I am excited to write more.  I really hope to have more exciting news for everyone soon. 



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Updates - Hurry Up and Wait


It's time for an update.  Everyone's favorite question is 'when do you leave?,' and right now I
Hubble is supervising.
do not know that.  I had planned to fly out in late May.  Then I got an email about needing more paperwork that required a lot of time to process.  My last day of work is Friday, May 9th. I still plan to move from my apartment next Saturday, May 10th.  I'm going to live with my mother until I get the all clear.  In the military when you don't know what's going to happen but you are expected to be ready to roll they call it 'hurry up and wait.'  I feel this is exactly where I am at right now. I wish I had more news to share but since everything hinges on HR having an authenticated copy of my masters degree I can't plan ahead too much. 

Please keep posting questions or emailing me queries as these lead to helpful blog posts to keep us all informed.

I'm also still eager to have a creative title for my blog besides my name so keep those thinking caps on until we get a whizzbang idea.

Until then, I'm going to watch too my BBC reality tv.