It’s been fun playing with language the past few weeks. I spent the first week trying out the Hebrew expressions that a nice girl on the plane ride over shared with me. Now that I’ve completed our first week in Palestine, I’ve switched over to Arabic. Basically, all I know are some survival Arabic expressions, but I’ve been using them on anyone who will listen. It’s pretty amazing how quickly you can pick up some phrases when you’re immersed in the culture.
Yesterday, I had a great chat with our landlord about increasing the internet speed to a higher package. With the help of Google translate, I wrote out a little script for the conversation that went something like this:
I’m Dan in apartment seven (in retrospect, I probably didn’t need to tell him my apartment number as we only have 9 apartments in the building. He probably knew I was the American guy who moved in last week.)
I would like faster internet.
I will pay. (I wanted to include this because he and I are splitting the internet service between his apartment and ours.)
Those of you playing at home can probably foresee the problem with my script. A lot can happen in a ellipsis! We ended up having a great conversation though over Palestinian sweets and a glass of coke that his wife had prepared for us. Once I ditched the script, I learned a lot about his fascinating life and he shared some tips with us about visiting other nearby towns. He’s convinced we need to rent a car while we’re here: “Life in a taxi is no way to live.” While I didn’t have any trouble driving in Israel, I think I need a bit more time here before I’m ready to tackle Palestinian streets!
In any event, it looks like we might be able to upgrade our internet. I had researched our DSL provider and found the services page (in Arabic) where they listed the various speeds available. We’re on a 4Mbs plan right now, but they offer both 8 and 12Mbps. I don’t know yet if our phone lines can handle the 12Mbps service, but our landlord is going to check it out for us. The service was actually pretty speedy the first few days we were here, but it has crawled to a standstill the past couple of days. Apparently, it’s slow all across the country though. We’ve heard a lot of theories ranging from the Israelis throttling the backbone connections to a major line being cut during construction. The most likely problem through is that we’re in the middle of a major holiday and everyone is home from school and work. It’s like trying to watch Netflix on a Friday night back home…
Of course, there are plenty of offline activities to keep us busy in the meantime. Here’s Maggie with some street art featuring an excerpt from a Mahmoud Darwish poem:
The poem excerpt reads:
The universe is smaller than a butterfly
in the yard of the great heart
At the seed of wheat we met,
and in the loaf of bread
and the passage we took on different roads
Are we what we use to be?
On our traces trees grow.
In our journeys a beautiful moon
And in the life of others we have a life.