Friday, 6 March 2009


School's still been going fine, although the weather's gone crazy lately: Monday we had off due to 4" of snow (Sunday to Monday it snowed, Tuesday it was sunny - blindingly so - and freezing at 14*F), but today it's about 68*F (about 16*C, by a very rough conversion). Over the course of 5 days (which the kids couldn't go outside during, of course - snow on the ground, and ice... they'd slip, fall, and sue) the temperature increased drastically. Really amazing... Spring's here at last!

Saturday, I went into central DC to visit the strangely pseudo-neoclassical Kennedy Centre (a huge block with a portico supported by golden, modern columns surrounds the very blocky building); they're holding an exhibition-and-lecture series called Arabesque, on (obviously) the culture of the Arab world. The exhibits aren't very good (even the collection of bridal dresses which, as fabric, could be stunning was rather bland and boring) with the exception of a single utterly unphotographable one: A kaleidoscope made of projected images down a huge mirrored triangular tunnel, which one could walk down. Attempts to photograph it fell, I must say, rather flat, which was unsurprising.

However the really interesting part of the whole event for me is the literary series, talks by Arab writers on a variety of subjects, all of them free. I got tickets for 8 or 9 of these (all but two - one of which simply didn't interest me, one which clashed with another non-ticketed event in the series, about Shakespeare and the Arab World); the first two were yesterday, so I took the day off school, and took the Metro into DC.

The talks were pretty interesting - one on Women Writing Men, Men Writing Women (it didn't really focus though, and seemed to just be a more general "Why we write" thing) and one on Migration, Exile, and the Search for Identity which stayed pretty much on focus and was interesting for the political Arabism (the problems of Sudan are purely British, and that international law is being broken is perfectly acceptable because they're not Sudanese laws, for instance) as well as the widely varying perspectives of the panelists on the actual questions (also, hearing a British accent was nice... the panel leader was a British immigrant who'd come over specifically for this series). However, the most engaging part of the day was watching the first panel - they spoke in English and Arabic, and when they spoke English they were very flat and withdrawn, as well as hesitant and bland; speaking Arabic their hands moved a lot, they spoke faster and more engagingly, they were more open, and they were more passionate and humourful about everything. Speaking in their native language just let them cut loose, I guess.

So, there's another few talks over the weekend, which I'll be going to - I'll report back on those Sunday night if I don't get back too late.

In other news, by the by, I got an offer from St Andrews - AAB - so we'll see what happens with my last exam... be hopeful for me! Next blog Sunday or Monday.

No comments:

Post a Comment