I’m really surprised at how difficult the language barrier is here and the language issue is another big difference between life in the Badia and in Amman where many people speak at least some English. Though I admit my skills in Arabic are weak, my ability to understand my host family back in Amman and my teachers at SIT seems to be much higher than my ability to understand people here in Kariya. Even when they’re saying words I should easily recognize, I am having great difficulty getting past their accent. They also seem to speak much more quickly and with less of the melodic quality I find many urban speakers give their Arabic. The language seems much more direct and utilitarian here. I’m sure my inability to communicate effectively is frustrating to my hosts and is limiting my experience in ways I’ll never completely know. If I have one regret, it’s that my language skills lag so far behind my intellectual curiosity and desire to understand. Even when I can form a question, people are forced to reduce their answers to the most basic of concepts and I truly feel I’m losing a great deal of the nuance that could make this experience so uniquely valuable.

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After repeatedly stating my desire to attend noon prayer at the mosque, I was a bit disappointed this afternoon when my request was denied. I tried to explain why I was interested and that I intended no disrespect, but they just told me that I could not pray because there was no church in the town. I reiterated that I wanted to go to mosque not a church, but they were unmoved. My understanding has always been that there would be no problem with a respectful visitor going to mosque and I did everything I could to communicate my desire, so I’m not quite grasping the reason behind the decision. In the end, although I’m disappointed at the missed opportunity, I have to respect their decision. If the thought was in any way discomfiting to them, then they certainly have every right to refuse my request.

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