Thursday, December 15, 2011

Puerto Rico Update #4

Thursday! Wow...this week hasnt really gone by fast for me and I think its because of several different factors. First, I am NOT used to waking up with the sun. It has, however, become my new favourite thing. I mean come on; sunrise over palm trees out your window while its 80 degrees? Chyeah! Of course getting up early requires me to go to bed early (which I really do not all) but its worth it. Its weird to me to have accomplished so much in the day that by 10am we take a break. Woah. I am going to have to get used to this. Most people wake up at 6 or before! eye-yeigh-eye. Another reason why the week has been long is because I have mostly communicated in sign language. I know sign language, but to think IN sign and to use it for everything you want to communicate, it is very challenging. Sometimes I work as my deaf roommate for the week's interpreter too when we are in big crowds. I dont want her to feel left out and most of the staff dont like to sign and speak at the same time because it makes for very awkward and choppy speech. So most of the time we just talk. And then when we finish a story, we'll tell her and some of the other deaf people what was said so they can join in. Its kinda exhausting. I dont know how hearing moms who have deaf kids do it. Its very challenging to be in a group situation. I cant really participate in the conversation either until I have finished signing what they are saying, too, because I am so focused on relaying the information. This whole deaf/hearing thing is much harder than I imagined. I suppose this is what you call "the real world" where the cushy educational interpreters disappear and suddenly you are the interpreter! Its a lot to take in. I understand why the teachers here say that they are tired all the time. Until you really know a language (and I mean you really dream in it, think in it, live in it) its hard to not only switch back and forth between them, but to use two different languages at the same time!

Anyways, school today was good. In the morning I was back in the high school classroom which was nice. Those boys are very funny and have great personalities. I was able to get some great language samples from both of the boys, plus from one of the 3rd grade girls. I am thrilled about that. I know next semester I will be taking a class on ASL linguistics as well as one on language samples and evaluations. Yay! Maybe this last semester will really start to prepare me to become a teacher. I am looking forward to it! We had a traditional PR'ian lunch which consisted of a stew of some sorts with peas, gravy, chicken, corn, and other various mixed vegetables, all served over some white rice. PR'ians are really big on white rice and all types of beans. Big shocker, eh? We finished The Nativity Story movie after lunch and then set up the chapel for tomorrow when the parents come to school for a small party and to hear the kids perform their hand bells. The kids were so noisy setting up the chairs in the chapel that afterwards, I really needed some silence. I asked Jen if I could go lay down and ended up taking a two hour long nap. It was much needed.

Today a new group of people arrived that will be staying at the school! College students! Who are hearing! Hallelujah! It was very exciting for me, but most of the missionaries said they dont like having them here. One of the teachers said she hates when these big groups come, but the principal said she loves it because it gives them a chance to interact with some fresh faces. This particular group is a "do gooders" club from the Uni of Charleston in SC. They are not a Christian group, so please pray, pray, pray that I would be able to witness to them tomorrow. They are really fun and its good to hear a Southern accent once more (oh dear did I really just say that!?) =) I am excited to have them staying in the dorms with me as it has just been me and my roommate in a 10 person dorm up until now. They're leaders are really interesting and they have 2 adult females and 1 adult male (who actually arrived on tuesday and went to dinner with us on tuesday night, etc.) One of the ladies works for the government and has lived and traveled all over the world! Wow! She's really cool. I am definitely a people person, but I also need my personal space. This trip has been a perfect combination of the two! Praise the Lord! I could not have asked for a better experience here. They are taking such good care of me that I am bound to go back to CA happy as a clam (well, I will be maybe a baked clam because it is so nice and warm over here! I'm so gonna freeze when I go back to school!)

This afternoon didnt really consist of much. I woke up from my nap and tired to read the last little portion of The Hunger Games books (only have about 100 pages left...if that many.) Each time I go to read it, no one is around, and then, of course, as soon as I crack it open, people appear! Its kinda a cool trick. Its like whenever I go to restaurants, if we have been sitting for a long time, I get kinda bored and excuse myself to the restroom. It is fool proof that by the time I get back from the restroom, the food will have arrived! I'm lucky like that =)
After we chatted with the folks, they cooked us dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs. I feel like I always say this, but by the time it was dinner, I was really hungry! Its weird for me to eat on a regulated schedule because at school I eat whenever I feel like it. Sometimes I will eat breakfast at 11am and then lunch at 3:30 and then dinner around 7. (actually, that's a typical day in my books lol.) I had a great time chatting with Jen and the new folks and learning a little about what they are up to here. The weather has cooled down considerably, so instead of just a tee shirt, tonight I had to thrown on a light jacket. Oh no! Well, cooler weather awaits me in CA and then I will go back to TN and freeze my little tailfeathers off in the snow. Yes. Thank you very much. I have LOVED being in the balmy, humid air! Ahh! Its like a renewed breath of life! Oh man...! My hair and skin are so happy here, but my allergies are not all that keen on whatever is blooming around here. I am excited for school tomorrow as we have a modified day and will go to the rainforest to play the hand bells! Woo so excited to see another part of this beautiful island!

That 2 hour nap is wearing off and I will sign off now. Stay tuned to an update tomorrow night! Tomorrow is my last full day in PR! I will be so sad to leave! There are wonderful people here!

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