A story of a family from Michigan, USA who traveled to Egypt for work.....served, laughed, loved....thrived thru the Egyptian Revolution....and then returned to Michigan after the job ended abruptly due to economic conditions.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hand Gestures, Body Language and Dress Codes

*thanks* for joining the intermission. We appreciate all the prayers and reminders of prayers. It is noon in Egypt, 6 am in the US (or earlier, depending on your state). We should know in about 6 more hours, if my mom gets to go home today. She should have been home Friday. She continues to improve. Both my parents know so many are praying...and so thankful!**

Hand Gestures, Body Language and Dress Code
Today in class, we started counting from zero to twelve as well as learning directions.

Palm out to someone - when you want to say five (khamsa) you may want to hold your hand up, all five fingers out. THIS IS VERY RUDE! turn the front of your hand to yourself, back of your hand to the other person.

Thumb is the one, not the pointer finger.

Never ask someone to come to you by using one finger, always use your hand with the full motion to come towards you.

This is the only Arabic country where the thumbs up MEANS 'thumbs up, great!' You may know, like I did, that Arabic countries, the thumbs up equals the American tall man standing alone.

Don't touch. I knew this...I have broken this rule a few times. Tho my teacher says it's the Italians who are the WORST, because not only do they touch but they are ROUGH touchers! HA HA HA HA! Our teacher told us "I have much pain when I have Italian students" because they pat his arm or have to grip his hand so severely. In America, I thought the really tight long handshake was to show off! HA HA!

We talked about who's touched, who can touch, etc. so it IS ok since I'm a foreigner, for Rob and I to hold hands. It's also ok for Anas and Rob to hold hands, but it's never Ok for me (foreigner or Egyptian woman alike) to hold hands with anyone besides her husband or her children. I told about touching Wy-el on the shoulder once.....I still feel badly I did that, tho the teacher said "do not worry, if he is driver for American families long time, he understands it's not you inviting him"



Never put your hands on your hips, no matter what your facial expression, it ALWAYS means aggression. I do this sometimes thinking...I wonder if everyone's terrified of me - oopsie - nah, they're just saying "another crazy American" ;)

Teacher says it should be like this everywhere, but especially in Egypt, to show respect to yourself and the people around you...do not show your breasts (I liked that he blushed saying this), your under arms, any of your middle and definitly not above the calf. i already had this one down pat - WHEW. And he says if you don't follow this or if you wear something very tight, most men will truly believe you are flirting with them. I tend to agree this should be a worldwide understanding anyway.

When making a 3 with your fingers, remember thumb is one, so you can either start w/ your middle finger as one or your thumb, but do not start w/ the "pointer" finger - it's just rude, nothing "inappropriate" just it's rude.

The Arabic # for 1, 2 and 3...is SOOOO amazing! The one looks like a curvy line - like a 1 (but not in this font). The 2 looks like a two tiled to lay on it's right side, same with the three!

The most difficult is that V is seven SEVEN for V??? ugh!

Guess what the nine looks like?
9 nah, tail is too big.... looks like the 9 on my keyboard but not in this font ;)
0 is Five
a filled in zero is....zero..or it could be a diamond too.

backwards 7 is 6.

I was VERY grateful to hear that no matter what word or who's talking or who you're talking TO....it's always the same word for each number! WHEW!

Because we learned directions today too - so if I tell a woman left, it's one word, a man left, it's another...a group of people, yet another word

oh, I don't think that translates to Arabic ;)

Speaking of directions, you would never say here in English "go back" or "back up" you would ALWAYS saying "reverse, reversing" depending on the situation. Think thru "go back" how do you GO to your back? and back up....back is not up! HA HA!

As you see, even my English is CHANGING.

I'm sure you won't all remember this - I just found it really interesting today and wanted to share.

Here's a photo that's almost a year old! Thought it might make you smile! Makes me laugh out loud!
Happy Memorial Day 2009
Happy Birthday to my Mom 2009

my poor mom is working diligently to keep composure and just smile, but the 3 "kids" are totally out of control ;) LOVE this photo!!

1 comment:

Betty said...

ok, that just sounds incredibly difficult...
much more so than Lithuanian.


and love the pic of your mom and "the kids" LOL!!!