Due to the excessive exposure of international and interracial activity, I have become cultured in a way that allows me to reference back to my native routes. Born into an Arab society, as Rahed Albarouki, I became worldly quickly because my culture was interesting and I was curious to find out if I could find anything more engrossing. The experience of language and food took over my body in a way that is indescribable.
Personally, I find the Arab society interesting because of the affectionate connection that is shared with others. They are treated as if part of the family. Also, having to conduct traditional dances on special occasions is something that is deeply admired. The Debke, is a form of dance where you must hold people's’ hands in a large circle. There is a continuation of foot motion where you step right, step right, then stop and step forward with your left leg. It’s an easy dance for anyone who can’t dance! But, one of my favorite things to do, is eat! Every meal must be a big production. I feel as though it’s a never ending buffet of traditional foods, such as Yubrak, which are grape leaves stuffed with rice, and Meclooby, which is a concoction of rice, meat and nuts with a creamy sauce poured over it. Meclooby, is a comical dish because, in Arabic, Meclooby means “upside down or flipped over” and the dish is actually upside down.
Learning Arabic is one of the hardest things to do. It is actually one of the hardest languages to learn in the world. Not only speaking it, but writing and reading also. It’s a tough task. Unfortunately, I am not able to write or read Arabic, only speak, but I do plan on taking classes in college to advance my knowledge on the language. However, my father and mother can both speak, write and read it fluently. My mother always says to me, “I regret not teaching you the other stuff.” I just shrug my shoulders and get over it. Do I wish I could’ve learned? Yes, of course, but now I am more motivated to learn it in the future. So thank you, mom.
Once, I rode in a Yellow Cab. I was going to a play in Center City. As I stared at the driver, he spoke in Arabic to his wife on the phone. I was angry because that action was jeopardizing my safety, but honestly, I didn’t care. He was saying such sweet things to his wife. “Ani hebak, habibti. Inti warda.” He called her a flower. I was eavesdropping basically, but it really didn’t count, because I knew every word he was saying. A thought occurred to me, why am I just here? Here, meaning in the Arab society, why don’t I venture out? I wasn’t going to totally abandon my culture, but just drift away a tiny bit. I was very hungry the moment I had to pay. When he told me the price and when I gave the him the money, I opened the door and said “Shukran,” which means thank you in Arabic. He smiled at me. As soon as I closed the door, I went to RiceMix, a Korean restaurant and I ordered some bibimbap. It was delicious.Language is a marvelous wonder, whether you are a native speaker or a learner. I was never a strong Arabic speaker, but I am able to understand the majority. It’s a major setback, but it drives me to obtain more knowledge on the subject. However, it is also a helpful thing to study other languages. Not only because colleges require it, but because it’s a cultural experience. It’s never wrong to just stick to one culture, but it is worth expanding your horizons. Over the past years, I have learned so much about the world. That one taxi ride was my new horizon. I read articles, ate food, went to parties, met different people, all because I knew a language. Sometimes, a language can be your key to an experience unlike no other.