A week after I started working, I asked my co-worker Ablah to teach me a new Arabic word a couple times a week so we could eventually build up to having a conversation in Arabic. She smiled, concurred and we began our lessons. I still have quite a ways, have plenty of time to learn but have begin speaking some words and understanding a little Arabic. Here a few basic words I have learned thus far:
Good Morning Sabah al khair
Good Evening Masah al khair
Hello Asalaam alaikum (Peace be upon you)
Thank you Shukran
Inshallah If Allah wishes
...just a few words.
Ablah and I help each other. If I have a vendor I am communicating with and have a very strong accent I cannot understand them, I have Ablah interpret for me. When she have reports to transcript and cannot understand the Colonel's handwriting, I assist her.
I didn't get to spend time with Ablah after Eid Al-Adha, as planned. The day we had our OPM Sports Day, she found out that her Grandmother was very sick. She and her Mom left that day for Jordan, which is where the Grandma lives. Plane fares were too expensive, so the bus was the only option, but the ride is 12 hours! To cheer her up a little, I told her that I could drive her and her Mom to Jordan. She smiled and reminded me that I was in Saudi not Florida! I received a text a couple of days later informing me that her Grandma had passed on. I texted words of condolences and wished her safe travels and return to Riyadh. That would be a task due to flocks of folks returning from Hajj. My prayers are with Ablah and her family for their loss.
Talk to you all soon,