INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for New beginnings

اسبوع مرحبا — Marhaba Week

الجزء الاول — Part One

One bus carrying students from the airport arrived at around 8 AM. A colleague of mine (let’s call him America) decided that the best way to give out keys would be the tried and true read-names-from-a-list method, which, despite certain snags, is one of the world’s simplest ways of getting things to the right people. Bad choice, bro.

A “global university” offers two things: the first is an intellectually stimulating international crossroads that puts in conversation different perspectives, competing ideals, and opportunities for cooperation unparalleled in a more homophonic context. The second is hard to pronounce first names.

And on this bus populated entirely with students fresh from South Korea and China, we had that in spades. Usually a teacher might stumble on the pronunciation of one weirdly spelled version of “Kate,” but after a few Jihees and Haorans, America hit a Xiaomei and could tell he’d made an especially poor choice.

With a list empty of Bobs and Sams, America was stuck behind enemy alphabets without an exit strategy. And it was hilarious.

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