Yahoo! I am going to Lebanon. I received notice this week that I was accepted to study Arabic and bought my ticket today. Studying Arabic can be seen as impractical. I don't even have much opportunity to use my French and Spanish. Why would I want to study Arabic? Oh, because I have always wanted to. In some ways, the language is a part of me. When I was in Lebanon two years ago, I would hear words and know what they meant even though I hadn't heard them in 20 years. And, when I would allow myself to rely on intuition rather than intellect, words would just come out. Plus, I love the writing and have made sure to never forget the alphabet despite the years.
On another level, I feel that language is a key to understanding. Spanish in particular has allowed me to communicate and share with people whose life situations are very different from my own. I carry their stories and share them whenever I can. Language leads to compassion. I live in a somewhat conservative, insular, and very anglo part of the United States. It wasn't always this way. We are surrounded by Native American reservations. But that's another story. When I tell people where I am going and what I am doing this summer, I expand their idea of what is possible. I have the opportunity to respond to a young person who says, "Isn't that Osama Bin Laden's language?" by explaining that alot of people just like him speak Arabic. Still a novel concept to some. I also have the opportunity to remind people that life is not necessarily about a nine to five job that you give your life to, waiting until you are retired to travel and enjoy.
Lebanon has always been a part of me that I won't let go of. No matter how far away it is in distance and memory, I have clung. I can't wait to see how my two months will impact me. I hope that writing will not only flow out of me but will be influenced by the language that I am relearning. It's a little scary writing this down. Doubt and the rational reminder of my impracticality take hold of my thoughts. Nonetheless, I am putting myself out there. I am flying into a touch of uncertainty and am creating my own life.
P.S. After posting this, I felt that I was a little harsh on nine to five jobs. After all, mine is paying for my not so cheap trip. The statement is all about me and my deep need for a break right now to reflect, explore, and express myself in whatever form arises.