This verb (ista3rb) literally means to become Arab, to adopt the customs and beliefs of the people. I have been told by several people that I am no longer American, I am Arab now.
However, I beg to differ. As close as I become with the people, and as accepting as I am of their thoughts and beliefs, I am still very much a westerner and always will be. However, I am at the present moment having difficulty trying to balance the mindset here with everything I have ever known.
I feel so incredibly comforatable here, and have formed a bond with a Yemeni family that I can only compare with the feeling I have when I'm with my parents and brother. I realized the other day how difficult it's going to be for me to leave this place. But in reality, I could not live here forever.
Sometimes what at first seems so strange and icky can become second nature. Living with the poverty, dirt and Islamic virtures can be tiring at times, but then they are accepted...not even thought of until someone new to the environment points them out. Nonetheless, things still can shock me.
Such as seeing a boy who appeared to be the age of 12 driving a car with a mouth full of qat and his fully burkaed mother sitting in the passenger seat next to him. This was strange and it happened yesterday which is why I feel like writing of it now.
I came to this region to learn Arabic. I have learned the language and no longer struggle with speaking. Arabic script comes automatically now, instant recognition of the letters. Many foreigners come to the Arab world expecting to learn the language in a matter of months. In reality, it, long with so many other things in this region, is a slow process that takes time and a knowledge that كلّ شي يعني إن شا الله