Friday, November 19, 2010
I found the Lodge seemingly empty as I entered on the ground floor. The lights were dim and the air was cold as the door thudded shut behind me. I went upstairs to check in with the ASL Club and find out where I was to room for the night as well as any other instructions. In this environment and contextual situation, I relaxed a bit as I realized that my skills in ASL had significantly increased since I had been in the same situation four or five years ago when I was in high school. Even so, I felt a bit ill at ease for arriving later than most, which set me at a nervous disposition and in retrospect, I could have been calmer within myself because it honestly didn’t matter.
After receiving instructions as to where I would be lodging, all in ASL, I headed out of the Lodge and across the bridge that led to the cabins. As I crossed the bridge, I found memories from past attendance to Silent Weekend, while in high school, surfacing in my mind. I remembered, as I carried my duffel in the cold wind how terribly nervous I was half a decade ago, feeling so unsure about the idea of going about 16-20 hours straight without talking, feeling so unsure about my linguistic abilities in ASL. After walking up the steep incline to the cabins and finding the one I would be in, I opened the door feeling the room’s warmth upon myself. I set my belongings down and recognized that this time would be different, not only because I had been here before, but because I knew more, and I felt more confident in my own abilities.
Going back to my semi-nervous disposition upon arrival, I couldn’t help but feel like the idea of being a minority, especially a linguistic minority, was really beginning to sink in. I walked back across the bridge, where the wind seemed the worst, and headed for the dinning room where the rest of the attendees were. As I went inside, I saw people I didn’t even know, acquaintances, classmates, and friends. I wanted to yell across the room to get a close-friend’s attention, I wanted to squeal with excitement to see her, I wanted to talk over dinner and while my abilities to communicate in ASL were significantly better, I still felt like I didn’t know enough to sustain what I really wanted to express. It was in moments like these that I felt that I had possibly tasted what it was like to be a linguistic minority, for I perceived that everyone around me knew ASL well, and I was the one who did not. In the moments when I was most unsure about myself and my abilities, I was a hearing person in a deaf world.
Thankfully, after dinner and during the show by Crom Saunders, I seriously “fell into the swing of things” and “got my groove on.” Crom’s presentation was amazing. I loved it. I was so happy that I had an understanding, even if it isn’t a full understanding, of Deaf Culture. I was thrilled that I could understand him too. I knew if I had seen the same presentation five years ago, I may not have gotten as much out of it in both an informational and entertaining sense.
While I know that the comparison is nowhere near the same sorts of things, when I went back to my cabin and I “chatted” and teased in sign with one of my closer friends who was rooming on the other side of the cabin, I felt the language become more natural too me, more expressive, more fluid, more like something that was a part of who I am, or at least a part of who I am becoming. I wondered to myself, in my mind, what it would be like to have this sort of thing be a daily occurrence, being in an environment where it’s all sign, all the time.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
In the morning I excitedly awoke in anticipation for the workshops that I would be attending. I was ready to go an hour before I needed to be, and so spent the remainder of my time in the cabin chatting with it’s occupants who were gathering in the main entry room in order to prepare to leave.
After a time, I headed out to go to breakfast and realized that it had snowed in the night. Now, I’m a native Utahan, so snow really doesn’t surprised or bother me too much as long as I don’t have to be out in it for too long, but when I came to the small but very steep hill I had traversed the night before, I looked down before me and wasn’t quite sure about how to go about getting down the steep hill without slipping and hurting myself, my main worry wasn’t so much getting wet or hurting my legs at all, my main worry was falling and landing on my hand(s). I worried because, from that point on for the next few hours, my hands were my language. After careful thought and careful steps, I made it down the hill dry and unscathed. I ate breakfast and couldn’t wait to get to my first workshop.
· What I Wish I’d Known…
o Preparation for the Utah written and Level 1 Performance Interpreter Tests
Johnny Rider gave this presentation. He gave us an “all-inclusive guide to the
Utah Interpreter Program Testing and Preparation.” The presentation was pretty detailed, but what Rider had prepared for us as a hand-out was also very detailed, but it was just what I was hoping for and more! He went over the differing programs available to us in Utah, different schools, different people we should become familiar with, websites we should bookmark, suggestions for practice, advice from Interpreters and more! He familiarized us with the “general information and certification requirements as far as testing goes – written, performance, and rating criteria. I really got a lot out of his presentation.
Jeff Pollock, three-time medal winning Deaflympian and Certified
Deaf Interpreter, gave the presentation. His presentation was basically about the history of the Deaflympics. How the name of the game has literally changed several times, what places the games have been held. When winter games were added, how many athletes were at each of the games, the politics of the Deaflympics, as well as the significance of the symbol/icon of the games.
Johnny Rider also gave this presentation. As the
presentation was given, as I watched the video he had to share with us. I could not help but be touched by it. In addition, Bryan Eldredge has shared some of his experiences with us in my LANG 3000 class, so his insight has added on to what I have already found out about the program. I really think that it would be something to plan for in the future. It really excited me!
I had a great time at my second Silent Weekend, and I look forward to going again! I have been in contact for volunteering to help with a Silent Weekend for highschoolers and I look forward to it. Johnny’s presentation about What I Wish I Knew… got me back in the mood for some more volunteer work. I’m sure there is more I can write about, but I think, for this purpose, this sums it all up.