So this last weekend I went to a Silent Weekend activity up in the local mountains. Not sure how high up it was, maybe 6,000 feet? Just above the treeline and up a rather convoluted mountain road.
I hadn’t been up here in a while and it was very good to smell the trees and see the stars in the sky at night! We bunked up in mall cabins of about 12 people each.
It was a lot of fun, although it was very much oriented toward hearies (but then I’m used to that) learning ASL. I wasn’t quite sure where to classify myself, since they split things up in terms of ASL 0-1, ASL 2, ASL 3 (I guess years or semesters or something) but encouraged us to move around if we were not challenged enough. I very quickly went into ASL 3-4 activities, which I found interesting, as you all know I started learning sign about 3-4 months ago. There were about 100 people, and 10-15 staff members.
I think I found the socializing, especially with other deaf and CODA (I’m guessing) plus accredited interpreters, of the most benefit but in general I had quite a bit of fun just soaking everything up. The workshops alternated between “ice breakers,” plus games with a practical aspect: the rules were all given in ASL so it was a way to practice that while having fun with the games. There were also a variety of workshops tailored to the different levels ranging from a videotape explaining about service dogs to a detailed discussion of the issues in certifying as an interpreter (California law has some interesting wibbles at the moment).
For Saturday, I basically took out my HA but quickly found in many of the workshops there was a fair amount of talking, or music involved (one of the activities was signing the lyrics to “Star Spangled Banner”), and so I wound up needing some of the more advanced students to interpret for me, which I thought was pretty ironic, but it was good practice for me, and they got a chance to practice interpreting.
There was also a “deaf panel” in which several people (working there) told their stories. Some kids (who performed later) who are part of Extreme Magicians were very fast in signing, which made me chuckle. This was for the hearies, “what’s it like growing up deaf,” etc. That evening we did skits including a hilarious rendition of “Wild Thing”:
Saturday night got exciting because I (and others) had parked at the bottom of this dirt hill (mess hall and camp entrance along the top) and it STARTED SNOWING! So, before the hill got all slushy and muddy and unnavigable, we got out and got our cars up that hill. My car (Honda CRV) was slipping around too much, and it took three guys to help push it over some of the bad spots (the dirt road was rather worn away in the middle from previous water drainage)! Quite an adventure, although I had more fun describing the process later on — maybe I’ll post a vlog describing that 😉 Here’s the hill: I swear it is much steeper than it looks in the picture, the snow makes everything look so flat and benign…
It snowed the entire night and I wound up with 6-8″ of snow on my car…I was very glad I had moved it! So, now I know all the signs for snow, snowball, snowed in, etc 😉
I had a bit of a surprise on Sunday…there was a second deaf panel scheduled, but they had me come up and tell my story…! I did not sign it…I was rather tired by this time, the excitement of moving cars around, and worry about the drive back down off the mountain (since it was still snowing) etc, all contributed. But I gave a quick summary and answered questions from the audience. I found it interesting they had more questions for me than for most of the people yesterday. Ironically, most of them did not know I was deaf, precisely because I had removed my HA — oh the irony — and when I’d had interpreting help, it was in the smaller groups, so not everyone saw that. In the larger groups, there was interpreting going on already for the deaf staff members which I made use of as well.
Anyway, that was fun… what I want now is the equivalent for deafies 🙂