Monday, December 24, 2007

an "internet wow"

I just had an "internet wow." I was browsing around looking for websites from which to improve my arabic, a language that has haunted me like a white whale since the early nineties. I came across the one above. It is a language learning site -- but it does this by pairing people all over the world. So, the old idea of the language exchange is suddenly going global. Berlitz is toast (in my imagination). By using Skype technology, I can potentially meet someone far away who can answer my questions about the dad-blasted Arabic article I have spent days poring over. And help them learn something as well. Or I could pay him or her. WWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOW.

It is almost as if the whole earth suddenly were becoming crystal, transparent below my feet. . .as if I could look through at faces peering through from the other side, just below me. Imagine everyone in the world being able to talk over the internet for very cheaply! For a myriad of aims! (yes, bad ones too). A Yemeni woman wants to know how to make pumpkin pie out of jack o lanterns? Here I am. I want to henna my nose? She is there for me. Oh, the places we can go. . . .

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