Sunday, December 09, 2007

D.E.A.F., Inc. Holiday Party

So into Allston I went to a D.E.A.F., Inc. holiday party. Always seeking opportunities to practice my sign language and to further get to know the Deaf community, in I went on a fine Saturday afternoon. I was nervous on the way in, not feeling confident with my signing and frustrated with traffic, but I kept on going and soon I found myself at the party, with a few people that I recognized. It was a low key gathering, which I always prefer, and there were several Deaf Blind folks there.

I sat down with my lunch next to a woman and across from two men. I had noticed that two of them were Deaf Blind and having never comnmunicated with someone who is both Deaf and Blind before, in my head I said, "Well, here goes..."

It was an incredible experience. I sat down and the woman quickly signed to her friend, that she wanted to know who was sitting at the table. Seeing this, I introduced myself to her friend, who then introduced me to her. She then put her hand out, palm down, and I put my hand just below hers, touching her palm. I signed normally to her all the while her hand resting lightly on my right hand wherever it went, feeling the handshape, the palm orientation, the location, and movement of my hand. She understood everything. Then she signed to me and when it was my turn again, she would put her hand or hands out. It was really an amazing. I later watched two Deaf Blind folks chatting. One pair of hands on top, then they would switch. They carried on like old friends, which they seemed to be, laughing and smiling and having a great time together. I couldn't help but smile along.

School continues to go well. Slow improvements come, but always I want more. My days are very busy and it seems most days I come home and go to sleep...then get up and go back to school. All the things and side projects that I thought I would have time for while spending a year at home are not getting done. They have all been pushed aside for the time being. All focus and energies go toward the language and the community. And slowly, ever so slowly, it's coming along.

Happy Holidays to all.

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