17 March 2008

Shopping for languages

In case you read Spanish: did you hear about my newest blog, Alerta Religión? It's about the evils of religion and blind faith — seen as causes of intolerance, discrimination, and absurd suffering. Do pay a visit.

I feel like this year is really starting now. Summer's over — there are still hot afternoons but no more of those unbearably hot evenings, and almost always a breeze. Classes are starting, and soon I'll start mine as well.

This year (for the first time since 2004!) it won't be Japanese. I took the plunge and signed for Arabic classes last Friday. The Rosario Arabic School is a little house with an old-fashioned courtyard on Dorrego St., a comparatively quiet part of downtown, two blocks away from my old highschool. The head teacher is the one who founded the school back in 1945 — a respected member of her community, a talented translator, and probably a veritable fountain of history, though a bit hard of hearing.

To tell you the truth I'm not that enthusiastic about Arabic, but only a bit curious. When I started learning Japanese I didn't think about it, I only did it because it was a strange language and I liked how it sounded. As I progressed, I felt I could really learn Japanese, all of it, in time. Then I came to realize I couldn't. That wasn't a problem — I was satisfied with keeping myself at a level I could manage and continue practising and learning bit by bit. But the study schedule wouldn't let me do that, so I quit. Arabic I'm going to start with a different outlook, just checking to see if it goes well with me and perfectly aware that I will drop it the very moment it becomes a chore. It's not like I'm doing it to fill my CV.

I need to call my Japanese school to see when calligraphy classes begin, since they're independent of the rest and I intend to keep practising it, at least until Watanabe-sensei returns to Japan in July (and speaking to sensei and her daughter in class will be language practice, too — something to keep me from forgetting spoken Japanese for a while). And I'll have to check if the Arabic school also offers calligraphy courses. I once read somewhere that Muslims believe calligraphy is an art that God Himself gave us. I don't believe in any gods, but that's got to mean something.

And those are my plans for the end of March. In the meantime, Easter weekend is coming. I'll be leaving on Wednesday night for Córdoba, and back home by Tuesday night the next week. After that it's going to be work and study, no vacations or escapades, for a long time...

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