Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Arabic Grammar Can Teach Us About Societal Uniquenesses

El 3atal and I were having a bit of a conversation about Arabic grammar today. Quite an esoteric subject, admittedly, but sometimes these things just come to mind. I take Arabic 3 days a week and my knowledge is basic, but usable these days. At any rate, we were talking about the two different types of subjects in Arabic (the mubtada and the fa3il).

For those who don't know, the mubtada is the subject of a nominal sentence (i.e., il kiis hawn = the bag {is} here). In this type of sentence, the "to be" verb is understood. There is no word for "is" in the sentence. You just "know" it's there based on definite articles (did I mention that Arabic is laughably difficult, in the laugh or you'll cry sort of way that is?).

So, El 3atal queries himself, so how do you say "is". Ahh, see and here it is ladies and gents... in Arabic you can say became, or was, but not is. So, is it any wonder that people seem to either live in the past or the future? There's not even a verb for the present, now is there? Any thoughts? Shall we invent a new word to help people think of the here and now (and the impact of their here and now actions on the future)? Any suggestions?

It is always so interesting what the way a language is used says about its people... More thoughts on this topic later.

Happy State of Being!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Building Leaders Among the Youth: Don't Miss Out!

So, not that I'm saying all good things are brought about by Americsn (as if!), but this is one awesome thing that an American gal married to a local fellow (not it's not me) is doing.

A friend of mine (and fellow Alabama gal, might I add) is running an awesome program for Jordan's youth. The program is helping to build leadership skills among today's teens helping them understand themselves and learn to lead others. Personally, I wish I could take the course too ;). Looks fascinating.

The deadline to register for Module 1 or for the Full Course is Thursday, April 30, at 7 p.m.

Today’s Teens – Tomorrow’s Leaders
Teen Leadership 3-Day Workshop
May 2nd, 9th & 16th (Bristol Hotel, Abdoun)
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
For Ages 14-18 years

“Today’s Teens – Tomorrow’s Leaders” provides students with the same form of training that is given to successful adult leaders in Fortune 500 Companies. Students graduate from this workshop with the leadership skills plus the confidence and determination to take an active role at their schools and community.This workshop will give students the tools to:
  • Identify and grow leadership competencies
  • Build lasting relationships among participantsRealize student’s personal values and leadership style
  • Successfully manage challenges and changeLead and manage different personality styles
  • Apply mind-mapping to decision-making and problem solving
  • Practice the steps in strategic planning
  • Learn how to connect with audiences and clearly communicate
  • Gain self leadership confidence

The 3-day workshop will cover the following modules:

  • Mind Mapping
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Public Speaking
  • Confidence
  • Life
  • Vision, Mission, and Planning
  • Listening Skills
  • Building Trust
  • Understanding Personality Styles

Workshop Design

The workshop uses fun hands-on activities and exercises and to help students develop the same skills that successful business leaders implement. Divided into three separate 4-hour sessions, workshop activities approach the leadership skills using examples that are relevant to the students in their lives now; school, friends and teen milestones.

Organizers and Supporters

The event is being organized by Whiz Kids For Educational and Social Development (Whiz Kids), with sponsors including the Bristol Hotel and Pure Marketing. HRH Princess Basma Bint Ali will be conducting the Awards Ceremony.

Reservations & Fees
3-Day Course Fees: 200 JD


70 JD per Module

Module 1 (May 2): Mind Mapping, Leadership qualities, Public speaking

Module 2 (May 9): Leadership Confidence, Vision, Mission, and Planning

Module 3 (May 16): Listening Skills, Building Trust, Understanding Personality Styles

Spaces are limited so call to reserve a seat soon!

Contact:Whiz Kids for Educational &Social DevelopmentStacy Cairns-Abdein+96279 65 06 923

Also, view the Facebook Link here for more information.

Happy Youth!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Celebration of Motherhood: Five Things I Love Best

So, a virtual friend from outside Jordan asked if I'd like to do this tag. Since it was a request, not a tag you're it, I took a look. It is a great idea and I love the inspiration, so here's the background.

I've been tagged by my friend Kate based on the original post at Her Bad Mother. So the rules are: Share 5 things that you love (or maybe what you don't so much love - this playground doesn't force conformity) about being a mom, and then tag a few more bloggers from your own country and from other countries, and so on. So, the five things I love:
  1. Fresh perspective: The Beans ask such intriguing questions that don't always have answers. They want to know the hows and whys of everything. They look at things that are beyond common to me with a fresh set of eyes and a new viewpoint and come up with insightful queries about them.

  2. Cute witticisms and mistaken words: JujuBean is the best at this. Recently we were having a conversation about a new song they learned in school. All you Americans out there know this one. It starts like this (according to JujuBean). In a cabbage in a wood, little old man by the window stood... That's right, there was actually a man IN a cabbage in her version. No amount of insistence from MommaBean convinced her that it was, in fact, a cabin... (She is also convinced that those pretty dangly things girls have on their wrists are cracelets...)

  3. The happy sound of three Beans playing amongst themselves. I grew up in house with just me and my brother. We were both pretty quiet. I have honestly been surprised by the amount of noise three little people can make when they're HAPPY.

  4. The love between brother and sister and sister and sister. Their love for each other is so sweet and palpable.

  5. Sticky, syrupy hugs and wet slobbery kisses...

That's my top five. I invite anyone who would enjoy it to do this one, but particularly Kinzi, Umm Farouq, Sam, and 7aki Fadi.

Happy Mommy Moments!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Safeway Goes Reward-Free, Just What We All Wanted?

We'll call this a quick public service announcement... Safeway is discontinuing its Gold Rewards Card. In fact, the stopped accepting it for new purchases on 4/1. If you don't claim your reward gift certificates by May 1, you'll be out of luck. So, go forth and get your certificates today.

Word to the wise (and to Moms), their process is exactly as bad as you'd expect so anticipate that you will spend no less than 30 minutes and possibly longer to get your certificates. Try to go at times that are low shopping times (early Saturday morning is often good) to avoid even longer delays.

This discontinuation is making me wonder if the better rewards offered at Cozmo will offset the price difference. After all, I certainly don't shop Safeway for the good experience. I think it just might be worth exploring as their service is typically much better. Anyone know why they've taken this step?

Happy Reward-free Shopping!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

American By Birth, Southern By The Grace of God

Ruba's post about Islamic Civilation and identity got me thinking. The question of identity is a very interesting one. It's one that the Beans will definitely have the opportunity to explore. They come from such widely differing backgrounds. So, in thinking about Ruba's post, I thought of the old bumper sticker (and T-Shirt, and Beer Cozy, and, and, and...) with the big Southern flag on it and the words emblazoned across it American By Birth Southern by the Grace of God. These were the kinds of things you'd pick up at Stuckey's. Yeah, I know, you Northerner's out there are thinking, hunh? But, let me just say... Pecan Log Roll. You Southerners, you know what I'm talking about... And to take you back even more, here's a circa 1950s snapshot of a Stuckey's.

Being from the South was very interesting. Most people outside of the US (and many inside) don't get how different the regions really are. I'm not just from the South, I'm from the Deep South. The Heart of Dixie. I'm from a state with a colorful history including one single county that refused to secede from the Union in the Civil War. It declared itelf the Free State of Winston. I'm from a state where liquor isn't (or wasn't) sold on Sundays and we still had dry counties.

In the South, we weren't Irish or Italian or German or anything. We were all Southern. It took me moving away to Philadelphia to know that a family I had known for 15 years was Italian. Honestly it kind of surprised me. Because all of us were Southern before anything else. Before American, before any ethnic identification, we were Southern. Southerners are, fundamentally, people of the land (sound like anyone we know around here?). And, in Alabama, it's the most beautiful land in the whole world (and I am so NOT biased). And I always truly felt that as much as didn't fit on (I was perhaps just a tad too interested in the rest of the world to fit in with my peers, teehee), I was Southern by the Grace of God. Only a graceful God would have chosen little old me to be at home in such beautiful vistas. To see such beauty and doubt the existence of God, well, I can't imagine it.

So, I am American by birth, but I also proudly claim my heritage... I am Southern by the grace of God.

And, in honor of this, here are my favorite things I sorely miss:
  1. Hot boiled peanuts from a road-side stand

  2. Chilton County tomatoes (named after the man who gaveled the Confederacy into existence)(here's Clanton' water tower not far from my favorite year round stand for produce)

  3. Grits, real grits not the instant ones made in my microwave
  4. Meme's Biscuits
  5. The mountains of the Birmingham area and the rivers and creeks of my summer camp home away from home

That's my Top 5... Anyone else?

Happy identity crises!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Just One of Those Days... A Comedy of Errors

Il Beanmobile xarbanni. Yep, for those who don't read bad Arablish, the Beanmobile is not functioning. It's a silly story in fact. So, here I'll tell it all.

~~~~~~~~~~ Flashback to Wednesday ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a few days, the beanmobile's been acting a bit off. It's been a couple of beats slow to start and just sounded ... off... somehow. So, finally, on the day that I invited my entire Arabic class and their families (there are only 5 of us don't freak) to the Bean pad for lunch it decided to stop working. Back in high school, I went through a stretch of time where every time I wanted to go anywhere I had to jump start my car as the battery wanted to give up and I refused (and couldn't afford) to let it. This seemed just like that to me. So, after a comedy of errors trying to find a taxi, JiddoBean left work early and brought us home (with one stop at the corner store for hamburger buns, and the clerk wondered why I was hurrying when 1/2 the folks had already been there for a half hour). Don't I have the best in-laws?

When El 3atal went down to see about the car it started no problem at all... Yikes! But, I didn't trust the momentary good fortune. So, El 3atal decided to wait until today to take it in and get the dealership to check it out.

~~~~~~~~~~ Return to this morning ~~~~~~~~~~~~

!!!!!Beep beep beep beep beep beep!!!!

MommaBean awakens thinking it can't be morning, it was only a second ago I finally got back to sleep (awakened at 4 am with monstrous pain. Awake more than an hour, at least the call to prayer kept me company).

MommaBean rushes to get El 3atal and ButterBean out the door, aleady 15 minutes late, but at least no TwinBeans as there were parent/teacher conferences today. We get to the car and <<>> Yep, you guessed it. The Beanmobile battery gave up. It refused to keep going. So, Mommabean and ButterBean have to walk up to the major street (lugging MommaBean's books, gym clothes, purse, and ButterBean's school books) to flag a taxi. We find one and get to ButterBean's school where she fusses and cries because she's the only one having to go to school. She refuses to let MommaBean (who has 1/2 hour until class and 1 hour's worth of homework to do) go. Finally, 10 minutes until class time MommaBean is successfully away. Never mind the homework, I'll just own up to being fully unprepared (which I did).

It's now 3:00 in the afternoon, still no beanmobile, still unprepared, but finally home again with a happier ButterBean and a tired MommaBean. Maybe it's time to nap...

Happy Days!