asked the vet after a brief inspection of the puppy I placed on the table. I had just told him the puppy was a female. So his question left me wondering why she has a penis and what would she use it for.
She had just become He.
Several complications immediately cropped up in my mind, foremost, all that agonizing over naming the furry little thing had been for nothing. I had settled on a name finally: Bella, short for Bellady. Now, well, he wasn’t looking so Bella anymore. Puppy had only been with me for 36 hours at this point and a name was paramount, and now we had to start over.
The vet handed me Puppy’s passport with the name field left blank and we went home. We struggled for two days with pronouns….she’s so cute, she’s gotta go out….she, she, she. Using our puppy training techniques: correcting each other, being patient, and rewarding each other for getting it right, my husband and I retrained our lexicon: he needs to go out, he’s biting his tail, take him with you
When my husband proposed to name him Dahab way back on Puppy Day 1 (6 days ago now), I shot it down. After leaving the vet, the husband started up with the Dahab name again. He was gaining ground what with the gender revelation and all. Dahab seemed a perfectly reasonable and logical naming convention. He found puppy sitting on a street corner in Dahab when he happened to walk by. A little jump, a swat of his little paw, a little puppy yelp and husband was smitten. Puppy was scooped up and promptly relocated to Sharm el Sheikh. Puppy is now living the dream: steady food, water and a prominent place in our pack.
Fine, Dahab it is.
She’ll always be Bellady to me though.
Bellady pronounced Bell-Ah-dee
I first heard this word back in Houston, Texas when my husband observed me reuse some aluminum foil and plastic wrap and remarked,
You’re so Bellady, you’ll make a good Egyptian wife
I thought he meant thrifty. I took it as a compliment.
Bellady– country; of national origin; native to or belonging to the country. Example: Kelb Bellady (Egyptian Dog)
“Bellady Bellady” is the Egyptian National Anthem. “My Country, My Country”
I understand now that my husband meant my actions reminded him of something his mother or aunt would do.
You’re so Bellady.
I take it as a compliment.
Learning Arabic can be daunting! I toyed with the idea of taking formal lessons where I’d learn to read and write Arabic letters but after one go with the Rosetta Stone language program I gave it up! Egyptian Arabic has it’s own vernacular that is reported to be the most widely understood form of Arabic. It’s a bit different than the Rosetta Language program so I decided to concentrate on learning the language verbally and in it’s text and social media friendly Latin letter form: Franco Arabic. Franco Arabic is very helpful for taking notes and keeping a dictionary without having to learn a completely foreign alphabet. Franco Arabic is also a great way to remember pronunciation as there are letters in Arabic that do not equate to anything in the Latin alphabet. Eventually when my vocabulary is a bit better, I would like to learn to read and write Arabic, Inshallah.
My method for learning is Anywhere & All the time! I carry a small notebook everywhere I go. I started with the small stuff, good morning, hello, what’s up, I want, I like, etc. And now, I’m refining the small stuff to carry on short conversations, adding new words and phrases and dealing with different verb tenses and gender. The other method I use for learning is listening. This requires some patience and some friends with patience! I often interrupt conversations with an eloquent “What’s that mean” or simply a less eloquent, “What?”
And ahumdallah, I get a mini-lesson in Arabic. I start scribbling in my notebook, adding my new words, correcting old ones, and crossing out some earlier misguided entries. It’s been frustrating! Sitting in a room with people having lively conversation (no matter how mundane the topic, all Egyptian conversation is lively!) and not knowing what is being said and not able to contribute can be frustrating. That’s how I got started with the interrupting habit. People light up when they see you are trying to learn their language! I usually get an overwhelming response from everyone in the room and sometimes my queries lead to interesting conversation. Usually between the Arabic speakers so I don’t know exactly what’s being said, but it looks lively!
There’s a lot more to be said about this topic so I’ve started a category Learning Arabic that I’ll post in regularly. I’d love to hear from others who are learning the language and any techniques, tips, words are always welcome!