Monday, September 20, 2010

Just to raise a smile

When I go shopping, I dearly try to express my wishes in Arabic. However, depending on the kind of shop and the sales assistant, most of the time, the answer follows in English. This is how it goes to and fro – the Egyptian speaks English which is even worse than my Arabic, and I answer in a miserable Arabic.

Somehow, all conversations follow a similar pattern:

Me (in Arabic): Good morning, I’d like to buy this or that. Or: is XY there?

He (in English): Good morning, yes, we have. Or: no. Or: I don’t know.

Me (in A): When do you get it or when does XY come?

He (in E): Tomorrow, Insha’Allah.

Me (in A): Could you please speak Arabic with me?

He (in A): Do you live here? (With lots of good luck finally in Arabic)

Me: Yes.He: Since when?

Me: Since then and then.

He: Are you married?

Me: Yes.

He: With an Egyptian?

Me: Yes.

He (again in English): Oh, he is a lucky man!

Me (continuing in Arabic): thanks.

And in future I’ll add: I’ll tell him (my fictional Arabic husband).

I leave the shop with a big smile. Although I have neither got the product nor the information requested, the shop assistant made the most of the situation: he simply raised a smile to my face!

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