“Make Love to the Text”

…quoth my Literature professor.

I’m completely exhausted after just two days of school and work. A couple days a week I have an 8 am class, kicking off four straight hours of Arabic until noon. Today I had a later start, but walked from one side of campus to the other several times trying to find my classes. This university is huge–I’m not used to a big state school, which is essentially what UJ is. I will never ever complain again about walking from Science Hill to LC. My literature class meets, naturally, in the Engineering building, a good mile away from my next class, which starts ten minutes later. But at the very least I know I won’t have to spend money on a gym membership here.

Speaking of which, I seriously need to rein in my spending if I want to go to India–taxis and lunch and random school supplies are emptying my wallet fast. Mohamed showed me and a few of the other girls living nearby how to catch the bus to and from school, so from now on it’ll only cost me about .25 JD one-way, compared to about .5 JD for a shared taxi. And I’ve started making my lunch from home, which will really help and save time on days when I need to book it to mid-town for my internship.

My classes are pretty great for the most part. I’ve never had a less-than-amazing language teacher, and this semester is no different. Our MSA professor is a woman in her sixties who makes us all feel at ease, while the colloquial professor is a younger man who refuses to speak English and is really animated. My professor for “America and the Arabs” is alright–he started out class by asking the students questions about the Arabs as a people. I get annoyed when professors ask students questions, because most of the time there’s just an awkward silence and a lot of time gets wasted.

My favorite has got to be my Arab Women Writers professor, a woman named Rula. She’s pretty incredible, and it’s clear she absolutely loves Arab literature by women and knows it inside and out. Her favorite way to describe the process of closely reading a work and gleaning every possible meaning from it is  to “make love to the text.” We’re going to read short stories and novels, make presentations, write papers, and discuss, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a class. I haven’t taken a literature class in my entire time in college, so it’s great to get a break from reading scholarly papers and political tomes and consume some actual culture. I can’t believe I’m getting credit in my major for this.

I’m getting a little more confident in talking to my host mother in Arabic. Tonight I explained to her why I think Farsi is easier than Arabic, when my parents came to America and when they decided to stay long-term, and she told me about her sons in England. She does really sweet things like bring me cake and tea in the evenings, and is constantly making me vegetarian meals like Chinese noodles and lots of eggplant dishes.

Tomorrow’s a long, early day, so I’m going to bed. Thanks for the comments, and keep them coming–I love hearing from all of you!

–June

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2 Comments

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2 responses to ““Make Love to the Text”

  1. Massoud

    It sure make it much easier to learn when you enjoy the classes that you are taking. what’s up with India? If you get a chance put pictures of your family on your blog (of course if it is ok with them).

  2. Saned

    My friend Amani took that class with Rula and said it was her fav class and that Rula is simply amazing.

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