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Learning Arabic from Egypt's Revolution

The New Yorker

When you move to another country as an adult, the language flows around you like a river. Perhaps a child can immediately abandon himself to the current, but most older people will begin by picking out the words and phrases that seem to matter most, which is what I did after my family moved to Cairo, in October of 2011. It was the first fall after the Arab Spring; Hosni Mubarak, the former President, had been forced to resign the previous February. Every weekday, my wife, Leslie, and I met with a tutor for two hours at a language school called Kalimat, where we studied Egyptian Arabic. At the end of each session, we made a vocabulary list.


Work It

The New Yorker

Suzanne, a young woman in San Francisco, met a man--call him John--on the dating site OKCupid. John was attractive and charming. More notably, he indulged in the kind of profligate displays of affection which signal a definite eagerness to commit. He sneaked Suzanne's favorite snacks into her purse as a workday surprise and insisted early on that she keep a key to his apartment. He asked her to help him choose a couch and then spooned with her on all the floor models.