Learn Arabic as it is really spoken. Listen to and read Levantine Colloquial Arabic.

Life can be full of surprises… and sad. Yumn tells us about one man’s interesting life story.

مرة كنت نازله أعمل احصاءات للجامعة عن أراء ومستوى تعليم منطقة بطرابلس. فتلت بكتير مطارح و سمعت قصص أد ما بدكن بس في قصة صعب تروح من بالي. فتت ع محل فيه واحد ختيار اسمو أبو خليل وعمرو بل تمنينات تقريباً. كان عم يخيط بنطلونات رجالي. أول ما فتت لعندو نبسط كتير كأن بيعرفني من زمان. بلشت اسألو كم سؤال بس بدل ما يجاوب قاللي قعدي وسمعي قستي. شكلو كان ناطر حدة ليحكي معو ويفدفدلو. بلش: “أنا كنت شاب وعايش بأمريكا وتزوجت واجيني صبيين وبنت وقرّرنا أنا ومرتي إنو اخر عمرنا بدنا نرجع ونعيش ببلدنا فكنت إحرم حالي كلشي حتى إقدر صمّد لا اخر عمرنا ونعيش عيشه كريمي وما نعتيز حدا. لمدة 45 سنه بقيت عم إشتغل وجمعت تعب عمري كلو وقررت إنو صار الوقت نرجع على بلدنا. ولادي كانوا كبرو في منن كان بدو يجي معي وفي منن قرّر يبقى. بلشت حس إنو إبني عم يسرقني فقررت إنو اسحب كل مسرياتي وحطن بشك وما كنت أعرف إنجليزي كتير منيح. يعني كنت اعرف احكي بس ما إقرا وإكتب…” وهون الختيار بلش يبكي وما يقدر يوقف. وفي غصة جواتو اده صعبة الواحد فجأة ييكي لشخص غريب. خف صوتو كتير وصار في بحة. كمل القصة، قال “حطيتن بإسمي وإسم مرتي يلي عايش معا وبدنا نكمل حياتنا سوى. الحاصل إنو مرتي نهبتني، سرقت كل المصاري واختفت. لكن ليه شيفتيني و أنا انسان عمري 87 سنه أقعد عم خيط وانهار من البكي. قلّي الشخص يلي وثقت في كان طمعان فيني.” أد ما حكيت ما كن في شي بخفف عنو. أخر شي قالي: “مرق الكتير وفضل القليل” يعني أملو الوحيد هو الموت.

One time, I had to conduct surveys for a university project about the opinion and level of education in one of the areas in Tripoli. I went to lots of shops and heard lots of stories but there’s this one story that I can’t get out of my head. I went to a shop where there’s an old man called Abu Khalil. He was around 80 years old. He was sewing men’s pants. When I first entered the shop, his face was filled with joy, as if he’d known me a long time. I started asking him questions from the survey but he didn’t answer any. Instead, he told me, “Sit and listen to my story.” He seemed to want someone to talk to so badly. He began, “When I was younger I used to live in the U.S. where I got married and had two sons and daughter. My wife and I had decided to move back to our homeland for the last part of our lives. I worked so hard and saved money for a decent life in our golden years, and so that I don’t need anyone’s support. I kept on working for 45 years and saved as much money as I could in my life and then decided that it was time to come back to our homeland. My kids were mature enough to decide whether they wanted to come back with us or carry on living in the US. But I started to get this feeling that my son was stealing from me. So I decided to withdraw all my savings as a check. I didn’t know much English. I mean, I knew how to speak it, but not how to read or write it.” Then the old man started to cry and he couldn’t stop. I believe it’s very hard for one to suddenly cry in front of strangers. His voice became weaker and was cracking. He continued his story. “I put the money in my name and my wife’s, the person that I lived with and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. What happened was that my wife stole everything and disappeared. Why do you think I am working as a tailor at the age of 87 with rivers of tears? The one person I trusted in my life was very greedy.” Nothing I said could relieve his suffering. The last thing he said was, “Most is over, and there’s little left,” meaning his only hope was death .

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