Thursday, September 21, 2006

Missing Sign language

Class this week happened without me. It happened without Erin too. She wasnt' feeling well and decided to stay home. It's strange how much I look forward to going to these sign language classes. This isn't something that I have to learn. Bryan was born deaf, but he may be able to get implants that will allow him to hear at some point. However, there has always been a desire in me to learn sign language. It goes back to when I was an altar boy (no jokes please). I would sit during mass and watch Deacon Bob sign to some deaf people in the front row. I was always amazed. When he was my teacher for confirmation class I earned a 100%. He said that nobody had ever earned a 100% before. He enthralled me so much that I even entertained, for a while, the idea of becoming a catholic priest. Somehow my fascination with him fueled my desire to learn sign language. It's something that has constantly popped up in my life too.

When I was a freshman in college I became friends with a couple that were about to graduate. They were great people. I learned that they were both majoring in sign language. "You can major in that?!?" His parents were both deaf and he wanted to be a teacher to deaf kids. He was completely normal. His fiance, just wanted to be able to talk to her future parents, so she learned it. They were both awesome people. I'm kind of sad that I lost touch with them.

When I started my first post college job, a few months after I started a great woman named Lili started working there. She was a strange mixture. A Computer programmer who was also a sign language interpreter on the weekends. She could have made a full-time living interpreting sign language in Chicago, but she chose to work on computers. I had many discussions with her about sign language, and sign language with kids. She taught her daughter to sign, and at 6 months old Jessica was able to sign.

Now my cousin has a child that is born deaf. I think it's finally time I listen to the spirits. I get it. You want me to learn sign language.

During the last class, that I attended, we started to sign in sentences. This wouldn't be hard if we had something interesting to talk about, but we are given a word that we have to use in a sentence, and then put on the spot to come up with a sentence that seems to make sense. I'm not too bad at this, but it seems to give most of the people in the class a severe case of signer's block, which I'm hoping really is something like writer's block. In order to combat this hesitation, Teacher Steve suggested we get a sign group together outside of class to practice. This wouldn't be something that we are particularly using to learn, just a place to practice. The more often we practice the more comfortable we'll feel with the signs, and the faster we'll be able to use them. We spent almost half the class discussing when we can have the groups. Strangely, Tuesday night, is the only night that people seem to have available for this group, and that's when we have class. So now my Tuesday's are super Tuesdays. I get to go to class, then stick around after class and practice with my signing group. Some of the students will meet before and some after, we just couldn't all get together at the same time, and day of the week. A phenoma that has proved itself by only having a complete attendance for class one time.