The Funny Thing About the English Language

The funny thing about the English language almost the whole world is learning it. But it may not be quite a good thing.

I went to Morocco with my mother in the summer of 2014, and one of the things that still sticks in my mind from that trip is a particular conversation we had with a Moroccan woman in Taroudant. She was managing the guesthouse where we stayed while the owner was away. She was very friendly, conversant, and kind – we spent our days roaming around the town, but some of the memories I cherish most from that place are sitting down with her for breakfast and for tea and sweet fruits in the evenings before we all went to sleep.

One evening, she brought her youngest daughter (around 3 years old) that evening. We were all talking back and forth in a peculiar mixture of English, Arabic, and French (none of us were fluent in the same languages apart from my mother and I), when our host made a comment about my choice to learn Arabic at university.

“It’s a language with no future,” she said, then voiced her desire to get her daughters to learn more French in school, saying it was more useful than Arabic, but the public schools stopped French instruction after primary school.

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Food (for Thought)

How’s your week been? I’m coming off a really intense week of moving house in NYC, and a really interesting transition to a new office space at work. So while Saturday was sleeping off Friday night and getting my groceries and room in order, Sunday is for reading.

Since the last post was all about food, here are some awesome bloggers and entries on food in the great wide world.

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a barebones guide to cooking on the road

Food is universally considered a good thing. One of my favorite activities is to cook for myself and others, despite the fact I am not the most fancy cook around.

Because of this trait, I often am asked about how I ate while I was traveling. Negotiating the balance between cooking on a backpacker’s budget and eating out at local restaurants while traveling is a personal process. It depends on one’s tastes and preferences, as well as any dietary and health restrictions. It can also be a social decision as well; I found cooking in hostels to be a great way to bond with other travelers, as I would often share ingredients and split home-cooked meals to save money and make new friends.

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Orava: visiting family history

It’s the middle of October, and I am on a train snaking its way along the Orava River in Northern Slovakia. I am about four hours into a five-hour train ride from Bratislava to the village of Podbiel. What’s in Podbiel? Apparently, proximity to the Western Tatra mountain range and a great deal of outdoor activities, as well as beautifully preserved heritage houses. I am going, however, because my maternal grandfather was born in Podbiel in 1911. I’m going to go further into why I decided to take the trip out to this place, but I have held one of the less rational reasons for a few years now.

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How We Travel

Travel is an experience that is paradoxically personal and constantly shared. From looking at so many different travel blogs and social media posts, as well as from talking with other travelers, I have noticed that many people have the idea that there is one “real” or “authentic” way to travel, and try to convince others of the same. A lot of people that I met seemed to labor under the idea that if you aren’t filling a certain set of criteria when you visit a country or city that you might as well have not been there at all. Yet almost all of these people have hilariously different ideas of how that particular way looks.

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