Sunday, July 22, 2007

Seminar Three

So alhamdulillah, this weekend was the third follow-up seminar from Bayyinah. We're still having to make up time from missing the first day of the first session though, so each day's seminar has been extended by an hour (or an hour and a half.)

Instead of meeting in the evening, though, we are now meeting in the morning, to avoid having to break for the two salawat we'd take if it were an evening class. Now we only have to break for dhuhr. Another advantage of meeting in the morning is the temperature. You see, starting at 3pm or 4pm in the afternoon means that the sun has been up and warming the world for many hours, and as the masjid does not have any air conditioning (or they don't use it?) it gets pretty hot in there. Morning classes then give us much more time before the temperature is unbearable. For night classes, it's not until 9pm at least until it starts to cool off and by then the seminar is nearly over.

But there is a problem with the setup. Another reason we opted for the morning class is to avoid having to provide a meal for the students. If the class ended at 1:30 like it was supposed to there wouldn't be such an issue, but since the teacher extended it... that's quite a long time without any food but cookies and pastries (not good). Alhamdulillah, they did provide some food on the second day.

So here's how it went. On Saturday, a friend and I were planning to meet before the class in order to review some vocabulary in case he gave us a quiz. Turns out we both ended up getting up a little late so we called and canceled that plan. I mentioned I'd see her then at 9:30... which is when I thought the class started. She called me back 2 minutes later to tell me that it started at 9am! Meaning I was already running behind, and I didn't have time to make the sandwich I'd planned to make (since I doubted they would have food) or do much of anything but grab my books and some tylenol (you bet, still taking it) get in the car and book it across town to the masjid where the seminar was being held. I was only a few minutes late. And... no quiz.

As expected, the room slowly began to warm up and it got harder and harder to concentrate... and no, there was no food. The class went until almost 3pm. I have to say, thanks to the homework he's been giving us I was much more prepared for this seminar than the last. But it was tough holding on there at the end. And when I got home I pretty much went straight to sleep, because I had to work 8-midnight in the lab.

Sunday morning I decided to sleep in a bit, and miss the beginning of the class. Since I had such a hard time concentrating and staying awake, I thought sleep would better serve me than falling asleep there. And I made a sandwich, too. And alhamdulillah, I was overall much more alert.

When I arrived, the class was going over examples of conjugations of verbs of the "mufa3al family" in the Qur'an. I'd not seen that chart before so I reviewed it while they were doing that, and in the end almost caught up with what they were doing. We then did more "jumlah ismiyyah" and all sorts of examples of that. In fact, we spent the rest of the seminar doing that.

When we took a break around noon, the brothers decided to order some food (yay!). I figured it would be Biryani. (We should all know by now what I think of spicy food.) So the teacher is looking at the brothers and sisters and they're trying to decide if they should get biryani or pizza. This should be no contest. Who would eat pizza when you can have...? The American girl, apparently. The instructor (and I was sitting in the back today since I came in late) was stalling, saying "some people can't handle spices" and "make sure everyone is ok with it" while he's looking at me, like I have some problem. And the sisters in front of me are all confused because they didn't know I was there, and they're thinking "Yeah, biryani" and he's looking at me. "Can you handle spices?"

Are you kidding me? "I love biryani." Can't handle spices? Bring it on! And the sisters in front, still confused, "We're all Pakistani," and he's like "No, the American..." Excuse me while I roll my eyes... okay, so they did get biryani and I thoroughly enjoyed it as usual. Even though, and this is worth mentioning, I'm meeting my friends for dinner tonight at a restaurant with an Indian buffet!!

So after the dhuhr we ate and tried to figure out why "inna" was making the mabtada nasb and trying to find the khbr. You'd think, after all that, I might have some clue about jumlah ismiyyah... but no, I just need lots and lots of practice.

The instructor by the way reads Arabic incredibly fast, so fast I can't even understand all the letters, it seems he just slurs over them. That was very troubling the first day. But by the end of the second even though he's still reading much too fast, I am doing better at keeping up, and my ability to recognize words without sounding them out has improved as well. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah for every bit of progress.

After the seminar was over, there's tons of biryani left over so we're all in the back preparing to take some home. There's a sister walking around who tells us, though, that "the brother is taking contributions to pay for the biryani." That's good, I thought, we can all chip in, so I ask, "Which brother?" She answers.... "The one with the beard."

Heh... yeah, right. So anyway, this month's seminar is over and now we have homework for the next one... yippee. But it's only in 3 weeks this time, instead of 4, so I don't have so much time to prepare as I though, but alhamdulillah. The next three weeks are going to be crazy busy. Guess I can sleep when I'm dead.

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