Ana battkalemish 3araby

Ana battkelemish 3araby. I don’t speak Arabic.

The garbage man came to the door this afternoon and began speaking to me in Arabic to which I answered “Ana battkalemish 3araby.”

The problem: the TV was on loudly in the background blasting Nogoom on the satellite radio playing a particularly Egyptian song. Just moments before I had been standing in my living room with the broomstick on my shoulders a la balady cane dancing shaking my tailfeathers. Also, I have, in my five months of being here, said the words “ana battkalemish 3araby” so many times that I have acquired a quite fluent accent in it. When I say it, they no longer believe me.

The garbage man looked at me like I was trying to make him into a monkey and started speaking to me again in Arabic to which, in desperation, I answered him in English in the hopes that it would confuse him.

Eventually I realized he wanted the money for the month and I paid him and he left. I had the same issue earlier on today with the woman who comes to wash our steps and front walkway.

I really shouldn’t have learned how to say “I don’t speak Arabic” in such fluent Arabic until I could back it up with enough Arabic to no longer have to say it.

Ah, such is life.

Also, separate but slightly related, why do the doorbells here sound like birds being strangled? Does anyone find that better than the melodic ringing of bells? It is better than the gameshow buzzer x10 that we have for a doorbell in the states, but seriously. I jump ten feet every time someone rings the door.


9 responses to “Ana battkalemish 3araby

  1. haha! mine sounds like a broken door bell. seriously, its like a really flat, annoying sound. i told my husband he had to fix it, and he says he thinks it is meant to sound like that. hahahaha!

    on another note – have you thought about taking Arabic lessons? The center I go to, Fajr, has classes in Maadi as well, and they even teach Aameya 😉 ohhh – but I guess that would be impossible with the new job – duh – mubrook by the way! May Allah make it a source of blessings for you and your family, Ameen x

  2. haha! yea I have the bird bell too! On Egyptian soap operas people ALWAYS ring the bell so much and so franticly without any emergency. The other person is like “haader, haader! “

  3. It drives me batty!!!!!!!!!

    They ring, and if I don’t yell at the door while rushing to put something on, they ring again. I have to yell at the door in order to get them to not ring a second time, but they almost always do anyways. I hate it. And they know women wear hijab, of course I’m not fully hijabbed sitting around my house, give me time to throw something on for the love of GOD!

  4. Try “ana asfa … la araby — englizy, englizy.” No matter how good your accent it sounds sufficiently poor that no one will have any doubts. 😀

  5. I really need to go back and catch up with you… i thught you were on my list that updates and apparently not!

    Btw, I’m tagging you!

  6. Why even bother with saying the phrase in Arabic? In a very flat tone, just say, “I don’t speak Arabic.”

    Somehow, someday you will wake up and useful phrases will just come naturally to you. Until then. Flat tone will work. I’m a grinch.

  7. I dont even answer my door lol. Like its never anyone I want to see anyway.

  8. ummtravis- ouch. lol. its usually no one I want to see either, except for when mr mm comes home, we only have one key for the flat so he has to ring. I’m always happy to see him.

  9. Hi Molly

    I’ve recently discovered your blog and it’s so entertaining I don’t have time for tv anymore. I have to say…this particular one made me laugh out loud…the strangled-bird doorbell ha ha ha…I’ve been to homes with similar doorbells and remember thinking the same thing…what’s up with that…thank u hun…it surely made my day 🙂

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