Monday, 22 May 2006


I have been reminiscing again. I always do it in the wrong places and at the wrong time. In the bus, crossing the street, on the phone with a potential client. In short, am thought to be insane each time it happens because I can’t help but giggle.

Lately, it has been much about Arabic. My langue maternelle. Not the language as such by my school memories related to it.

I remember my first day at school in Mauritius. I made a show of speaking Arabic with the Arabic teacher. I didn’t understand creaol at the time but I knew they were whispering about me and ohhh ahhing about how well I was speaking the language. I was happy and proud of myself and made fast friends. Then they started asking me to help them with their assignments. I was mad at them for asking me because I never learnt how to say no and mad at myself because I wasn’t doing them any favor by saying yes.

I remember one particular event which took place when we were in Form IV (Secondary fourth year). The teacher asked us to write a descriptive essay on “The New House”. It was a home work. The week after, the teacher came with our corrected essays and asked B. to please read her essay aloud to the class. B. began to read:

“The New House.
“Last week, with my family, we moved into our new house. My new house is big. It has a big garden and a big fountain in the big garden. The portal is white and big and the house which is big is also painted white. There are big windows. Inside the house there are big rooms. Mine is bigger. My mum installed a big bed for me with a big closet for my clothes. Because I like to cook I went to see the kitchen. I was so happy because it was so big. The oven was really big. I thought about all the big cakes I’d bake in it. In the living room, the sofas were brown in color and quite comfortable, that’s because my parents had chosen the big ones. The dining room table was so tall and big it could easily accommodate twenty four persons. In the garden there were many flowers. Red and yellow flowers. The roses were almost of a fist size, so big….”

I need not say that at this point, no one was listening. I had my head under the desk trying to suppress laughter. Nothing to be done. Even the teacher’s lips were twitching. Those who weren’t getting it were staring at us and poor B. was standing there wondering whether we were laughing at her or with her?

I reread her essay so many times I can’t recall. Each time, I’d double up laughing. We were meant to come up with 150 words. Half of her words were “BIG”.

Of course, after laughing, I’d feel ashamed because I didn’t really have to work hard to write up essays and had absolutely no merit for speaking the language. But, still *grinning*.


ChickyBabe said...
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ChickyBabe said...

Oops! That was me before with typos...

I didn't even pick up on the word "big" I was imagining a fist-sized rose!

jackt said...

I had a really BIG laugh just now from reading that story! Ha ha o my gosh.

Fitèna said...

lol! Chickybabe, real big rose don't you think!!? :-)

Jackt, am glad it made you laugh (the calories and all, remember?) Am just laughing rereading it! :-)


Justine said...

Fitena, I took heaps of language lessons a few years ago with other adults... we did the same kind of thing! So embarrassing!
That classroom must have been hilarious for you.

Networkchic said...

Now that's a wonderful piece of work...because it made you laugh. I remember taking French lessons and having to write essays and our vocabulary was so slim that I wrote the same sentences over and over but mixed up the words. Ah...thanks for the laugh.

Neil said...

Your story is very funny.

My wife is a translator and interpreter and she sometimes gets jobs which pay by the word -- so sometimes she translates as verbosely as possible to get the most money out of the client. For instance, if something was translated as BIG you would get one cent, but REALLY LARGE, you would get two cents!

Fitèna said...

Justine, It was! I still laugh just remembering it. Its a great way to learn though; not all studies are laugh inducing!

Net, you should hear about the time I started english! Its a blessings I can always laugh at myself because it was bad; I was made so much fun of. They weren't adults in my class, kids and kids can be so cruel.

Neil, I thought I'd do that too. Fluent in three languages and all then I had some sort of overdose of lit. and grammar and the such and dropped the idea.
Interpreter looks to me like tough job, especially when its done simulnatanously. (spelled that right?)


Lil Bit said...

Big LOL!! good un.

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