The Life Cycle of an ASL Student

You’ve discovered the magic of ASL.

You’re the teacher’s pet in your class.

You watch ASL videos on YouTube like a fiend.

You even go to an occasional Deaf event. 

Trouble With ASL, Student, Class, Deaf Culture Problems, Spying on People GIF

 

 

 

 

 

(Well, no one said you actually had to go in and meet people…)

You know you’ve found your life calling.

 

But it hasn’t always been this way. You’ve paid your dues and survived the life cycle of an ASL student. It’s been a hard road getting here.

Remember your first day of class, when you looked like this…

And facial expressions didn’t come easily…

…at all…

Trouble With ASL, Student, Class, Deaf Culture Problems, Write Everything, GIF ASL Facial Expressions

 

 

 

 

…No matter how hard you tried.

      

Two hours into your class’s “Deaf Day”, you resorted to writing everything down just to achieve basic communication.

Remember the first time a Deaf person signed to you…

…and uncontrolled panic took over…

…and you couldn’t even remember how to sign “HI”…

…so you resorted to your “fail safe” sign.

When you watched two Deaf people chat, you looked like this…

Trouble With ASL, Student, Class, Deaf Culture Problems, Write Everything, GIF ASL Facial Expressions GIF ASL Hard to watch conversation 1

 

 

 

 

And when you finally understood enough to try to join the conversation,

…you always felt like you were interrupting.

And you were terrified some Deaf person would do this…

…or this…

…so when you didn’t understand, you tried to fake it…

 

…and silently prayed for someone to come to your rescue.

Then, of course, there were those moments when no amount of faking would work…

…and you wondered why you took ASL in the first place.

You wanted to give up…

…even though you finally conquered one facial expression.

 

But then, the magical day came, when you understood your first Deaf conversation…

…and it took everything inside of you not to do this…

…or this…

…or this…

(Though you did do a happy dance when you were alone.)

 

 

So now that you’re over the hump and improving day-by-day,

though you may still have a long way to go before fluency…

And there may still be times that you still need to resort to your “fail safe” sign…

…you do it with a lot more confidence…

…and you feel like you’ve conquered the hearing world…

.and entered the Deaf world.

Why You Should Hire History Majors     10 Reasons Why Deaf Cherish ASL

[The Deaf Dream organization has internships for Deaf and hearing ASL students to empower Deaf worldwide. Click here to learn more.]

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Why Companies Should Hire History Majors

We all know undergraduates with history majors are very unlikely to get employment. Forbes says history is one of the top 10 worst undergrad majors to get. Yet, we still choose history: our favorite subject, our love, our passion; and quietly hope that we’ll be one of the lucky ones who actually score a job.

The thing is: companies should hire history majors. In fact, they’re crazy not to! Here are 6 of the many reasons to take a chance on one of us lowly history undergraduates.

1. History majors love things others hate.

History majors are used to digging through dusty books in the library that have never been checked out before. We live in the creepy archives under our university. When our classmates were falling asleep in 8th grade history class, we were eagerly taking notes. Stick us in the mundane job, we’ll love it!

 

2. If a history major doesn’t know something, they research until they do know.

Why Companies Should Hire History Majors Research History Graduates

What company wants an employee who runs to the boss every time there is something new? History majors are quick learners. We are used to hard, mind-numbing research concerning every topic under the sun. But that’s a good thing, right? Companies want independent thinkers in employees who are willing to go the extra mile to learn a new skill or procedure.

 

3. History majors get really excited about little things. (Even when no one else does.)

Why Companies Should Hire History Majors, Enthusiastic about Nothin

Imagine combing through documents for days and finally finding a primary source that you can use to prove your thesis. Sound exciting? No? Well, to history majors, it’s huge; like break-out-into-the-hallelujah-chorus and dance like fat Monica huge. Call us crazy, but we have trained ourselves to get excited about nothing. Every company needs that kind of enthusiasm in an employee.

 

4. History majors have amazing memories for detail.

Call it a stereotype, but it’s true. History majors have incredible memories for dates, names and events. Whether or not we remember our father’s birthday is irrelevant, the point is we are capable of remembering enormous amounts of work-related information.

 

5. History majors are creative thinkers.

If you think all we history majors do is pull facts out of a book and write them down, think again. To stand out in our field, we must come up with a unique perspective on subjects studied over hundreds or thousands of years. For example, you can’t just write your thesis on the events of the Peloponnesian War or even on the weapons used in that war. You have to somehow find an unknown fact that thousands of historians throughout the ages somehow missed. No big deal.

If employers want creative thinkers, look to history majors who have to provide new perspectives on well-worn topics. We live outside the box.

 

6. History majors are loyal employees.

We’ll stick with your company no matter what…yes, probably because we know we’re lucky to have a job at all…and we’re desperate enough to stay at one job forever. But, the point is, if you want an employee that won’t leave the second they can, hire a history major!

10 Reasons Why Deaf Cherish ASL

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Sarcophagi, Harems, and Dancing in the Streets

I’ve done more in the last couple of weeks than the majority of my travels this year. So I decided to be a little lazy and throw some of the random activities into one blog post for those of you who enjoy posts with little flow. 🙂

1. Sarcophagi

Efe and I looking at the incredible sarcophogi.

Efe and I looking at the incredible sarcophagi.

My Turkish family recommended I go into the Museum of Archeology. To be honest, I kind of went to the museum simply to please them. No offense to America, but our archeology museums tend to be FULL of arrowheads, pottery pieces, feathers, and perhaps a weapon here and there. I was SHOCKED to walk in and see rows and rows of sarcophagi in the museum. What blew me away even more was that they weren’t covered in glass! They were standing in the open for me to examine closely. Even saw some mummies incased in glass from thousands of years before Christ! My little historian’s heart was in heaven!

My little heart was bursting with excitement! :)

My little heart was bursting! 🙂

MET A DEAF FAMILY IN ISTANBUL

2. Harems

Every wall covered in intricately painted tiles.

Every wall covered in intricately handpainted tiles.

I don’t know why, but my travels seem to take me to harems or brothels. From China to Germany to India and now Istanbul, I’ve toured quite a few. 🙂 These were, by far, the most exotic and luxurious harems I have ever seen. Located in the Sultan’s palace, the walls were COVERED in hand painted tiles that went on for ages. Rooms and rooms were coated in carpets, couches and elegant decor. The ceilings were perhaps my favorite part because of the untouched details.

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[A funny side note: I TOTALLY got lost in the harem and couldn’t find my Turkish family who were waiting outside wondering where I’d gone… Eventually, they found me wondering around one of the many courtyards. 🙂 ]

The Sultan's Palace

The Sultan’s Palace

RAMAZAN DINNER WITH MY TURKISH FAMILY

3. Moses’ Staff and David’s Sword

It was pretty cool to go into some of the palace and see some religious relics. I was able to see Moses’ staff that divided the Red Sea, King David’s sword, and a myriad of relics from Muhammad. Whether they are legitimate or not, the point was they have been passed down from generation to generation for quite some time and were exciting to look at.

HAVE A DREAM?

4. Underground Labyrinths

Before I try to explain these, let me just show you a picture:

One of the most awe-inspiring experiences in Istanbul.

One of the most awe-inspiring experiences for me. It goes on forever and the lights make it surreal.

This is Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern: huge underground caves/aqueducts where water was kept and filtered for the entire city. It was built around the year 500 AD by 7000+ slaves of the Byzantine empire. It was SO cool and all I could think was that I wanted my family there with me to take it all in! 🙂

THE DEAF DREAM

5. The Christian-Muslim-Cathedral-Mosque

Standing in front of the Hagia Sofia.

Standing in front of the Hagia Sofia.

Built as a Eastern Orthodox cathedral in 537, the Hagia Sofia was then converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral and then to a mosque. As a result, there are Eastern Orthodox paintings of Mary and Christ next to Muslim calligraphy! Where else can you see something like that? I LOVED IT!

Efe and I inside the main hall.

Efe and I inside the main hall. Behind us on the ceiling is a painting of Mary and Jesus. Also Arabic calligraphy for the mosque.

Also, there was a place where you can get good luck or blessings by seeing how far you can twist your thumb in a hole in the wall. My Turkish siblings and I did it together. 🙂

Trying to rotate our thumbs to get good luck.

Trying to rotate our thumbs to get good luck.

6. Swimming in the Aegean Sea

Swimming in the Aegean Sea!

Swimming in the Aegean Sea!

A week or so ago I woke up, found out we were going on a drive, grabbed my camera and a swimsuit, and 3+ hours later found myself on the Turkey/Greece border. Haha, maybe they spoke in Turkish rather than English when they let me know exactly how long this trip would be. 🙂 I just went with the flow and took lots of pictures in the meantime 😉 It ended up being a GREAT trip. They have a farm there and so we stopped by to check on their new calves. Then we made our way to the Aegean where I swam in the beautiful salty, turquoise/teal sea. The sunset was incredible.

Incredible Sunset

Incredible Sunset

7. Dancing in the Streets

After Ramadan there is a 3-day holiday or Bayram. On one of these days I walked to the bank, met a Deaf Turkish family, and also watched a huge group of people join hands and begin dancing in the street. Everyone is so happy for the holiday and it was awesome to watch people who didn’t know each other previously join the circle and dance, clap, and laugh together. My friend Melissa got this great video below while we stood in the crowd and watched:

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Met a Deaf Family in Istanbul!

Had the most INCREDIBLE day! As of a couple of days ago, I am now staying with my friend, Melissa, from the LDS Turkish branch. We went to find a bank this afternoon at Taksim and as we were making our way through the crowded streets, I met a Turkish Deaf family!!! I know the Lord helped us meet–it was a life-changing experience for both Melissa and I.

Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey

Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey

Like in India or Singapore, I was in the right place at the right time. The husband (Iskender), the wife (Hanife) and their 15 year old daughter (Sibel) were visiting Taksim Square from the Asia side for Bayram (the state vacation after Ramadan) when I passed them in the street and stopped to meet them. It was one of the most friendly receptions I have ever had in my travels. We were instantly dear friends and sharing laughs, hugs, and kisses together.

Sibel, Hanife, Me, and Iskender together on a street at Taksim.

Sibel, Hanife, Me, and Iskender together on a street at Taksim. They were a wonderful Deaf family who welcomed me so warmly to Turkey!

We talked for a good half hour, took pictures together, taught each other ASL and Turkish Sign Language then gave many hugs before parting ways. However, within 10 minutes we met them again in a different part of Taksim. They invited Melissa and I for a drink at a restaurant as a “gift” or “welcome” to Turkey! I was so touched as we made our way to the top floor of a restaurant and shared Sprites, Fantas and fruit juices together. 🙂

We became so incredibly close within the hour or so that we knew each other. They told me how they met and their story. What was SO obvious to Melissa and I were that they were SO in love with each other. They have been married for many years and have 3 1/2 children (one on the way in 2 months!) and they kept praising Allah that they met. The husband repeated many times how much he loved his family and that they would be together until they die.

Taksim Square

Taksim Square

The spirit was so sweet as we spoke of such uplifting things. I asked Sibel about her dream to attend a university and study computer sciences/coding. She was so enthusiastic in her desire to learn and I cheered her dream to change the world in her way! I hope that The Deaf Dream may be able to open some doors for her dreams in the future.

IMG_8479

Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey. I’m the girl at the base of the tower in white shirt and gray shorts 🙂

We went to Galata Tower, ate dinner at a beautiful restaurant, enjoyed Taksim Square and even saw the infamous Gezi park.

It was the perfect day.

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Ramazan Dinner with my Turkish Family

I’m having an incredible time here in Istanbul! One of the best parts about arriving in July is that I’m here for Ramadan month (or “Ramazan” here in Turkey). It’s a month long fast (July 9th-August 7th) where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and then eat through the night in preparation for the next day. It’s the PERFECT time to be in Istanbul!

My Turkish "little brother" holding some of the special Ramazan bread only offered in this month.

My “Turkish little brother” holding some of the special Ramazan bread only offered in this month. It’s the softest bread you’ll ever eat!

On July 27th I had Ramazan dinner with Funda (my Turkish “mom”) and her extended family. Everyone was SO welcoming (of course, Turkish people are so kind and the perfect hosts!) and we were in a nice apartment high above the city so I got to watch the minarets light up as the sun set. We gathered around the table to watch the TV which would announce and start prayers at exactly 8:25. As soon as the prayers were said, the entire family began to eat. I was mesmerized by lit minarets, the worshipers and prayer “singers” on TV, and the incredible view of Istanbul. My heart was so happy as I dug into the incredible feast.

Two Ramazan desserts. On the left, a dessert made of tree sap. On the right, a pudding made of crystallized milk and chicken breast. Interestingly enough, my favorite dessert here!

Two Ramazan desserts. On the left, a dessert made of tree sap. On the right, a pudding made of crystallized milk and chicken breast. Interestingly enough, it’s my favorite dessert here!

I knew there would be a lot of food (this is Turkey), so I prepared myself ahead of time and ate a lot to show my gratitude for the meal. The family members recommend food and Funda’s mom dishes everything onto my plate for me anyways, so I don’t really have the option NOT to eat a lot of food. 🙂 It’s great! Before I finished, the entire family stood up and left the room to walk around and smoke on the balcony. I thought I was just a slow eater (which normally is true). It wasn’t until some time later, when someone brought out another dish of food and called the family back to the table that I finally put together the fact:

THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST COURSE.

Yep, sure enough, we hadn’t even started the main course with the meats and breads! I panicked, knowing there was no room left in my stomach…then ran around the apartment desperately hoping the food would settle before we started the next feast. Because it’s Ramazan fasting, everyone’s goal is to eat as much as possible while it’s night and walking around inbetween courses helps make room for more food. The family thought my dilemma was hilarious, (laughing as they continued to dish food onto my plate) and I did too; What a GREAT memory for my first official Ramazan dinner! 🙂

Sitting down to eat Ramazan dinner. I THOUGHT this was the whole meal, but was completely wrong. :)

Sitting down to eat Ramazan dinner with Funda’s family (only some pictured). I THOUGHT this was the whole meal, but was very, very wrong. 🙂

I’ve had several Ramazan dinners since that first night, but I still get giddy with the thought that I’m actually celebrating and worshiping God with some of my Muslim brothers and sisters. I’m having a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I cannot wait to experience more!

HOLEY MOLEY! I’M IN TURKEY!

—————————-

Just some fun facts:

*Ramazan is when the Quran was revealed by Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad.

*Ramazan does not come at the same time each year. It’s the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar which is a lunar calendar.

*In 33 years and 5 days, Ramazan will occur in July again. In about 10-12 years it will occur in the winter when the days will be very short; thus fasting will be MUCH easier. 🙂

Ramazan CalendarWHY AM I IN TURKEY?

Do you have a dream? Create a profile at www.thedeafdream.org to get some help to make your dream happen!

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Holey Moley: I’m in Turkey!

Dear Family,

Today was the PERFECT first day in Istanbul! I am so exhausted but just so excited for my stay here in Turkey!

THE DEAF DREAM

This morning I left Germany and my wonderful “German family”. [I’ve been Au Pairing their 1 and 3 yr old sons.]  It was SO hard to say goodbye to those two cuties! They have been my buds for the last few months and I will miss the laughs we shared. This morning as I was loading my suitcases out the door, eating breakfast, etc, Nelson would wave “goodbye” or sign “love you!” every time I entered or exited a room. It was so adorable and pulled on my heart strings! He and Betty dropped me off at the train. I handled my emotions just fine until they started running alongside the train to wave, then I got a little misty…

IMG_7450I flew into Istanbul; a city that goes on FOREVER! My favorite part was seeing the minarets that make the city so unique; tall, skinny, pointy towers where song-like prayers are announced on loud speakers 5 times a day. There are mosques every few blocks: kind of like Christian churches on the Bible belt, Hindu shrines in India, or stake centers in Utah 😉 I realized on the plane I’m arriving during the month of Ramadan which is a month-long fast where believers only eat after the sun sets. It’s the perfect time to get a real feel for the culture here!

Not my picture, but perfect shot of the skyline of minarets. This picture is from www.beachcomberpete.com. :)

Not my picture, but perfect shot of the skyline of minarets! This picture is from http://www.beachcomberpete.com.

I flew into Turkey and met the family I am staying with at the airport. They were so warm and friendly—I really want you guys to meet them on Skype! A month and a half doesn’t feel long now that I know the family a little more. 🙂 They have been the perfect hosts and have SO many plans for my stay here to show me Turkey. They are so proud of their nation and I have been learning so much about the history since I came (being the history buff that I am, I can’t get enough! The dad, Attilla, even lent me some of his history books!) They live in a beautiful home with an incredible view outside the city, with the blue water in the distance. [My room is wonderful—they have beautiful real flowers in a vase, chocolates on the table, white slippers, and every kind of toiletry I could possibly use—I feel so special. :)]

10 WAYS TO TRAVEL CHEAPLY

The Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Black Sea surround Istanbul. My “Turkish family” told me that Istanbul is a bridge between eastern and western cultures. The cuisine is vast because of how many times this area has “changed hands” in history. The Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire, etc. all participated in making Istanbul such a combination of every culture! Oh, and guess what!?! Istanbul has a population of 20 MILLION. Holy cow!!! And I thought Ho Chi Minh City of 7 million was huge. 😀

Not my picture, found on google images :)

Mosques and Minarets of Istanbul.

Anyways, after a swim in their pool and a traditional Turkish dinner [the food is amazing here!!! grape leaves and meat, handmade noodles and tomato sauce, infamous Turkish yogurt!] I was able to meet some of the extended family. Just picture “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”—everyone was so friendly and I got lots of kisses. 🙂 Funda’s mother was so sweet and reminded me of Fotoula’s mom so much! Everyone is SO welcoming here; they are wonderful hosts. I want to be like them when I have a home someday: truly make guests feel welcome and appreciated. Then Attilla, Funda, and Efe (their son) took me to downtown Istanbul.

WHY AM I TRAVELING?

We started driving right as it became sunset and the roads were EMPTY. Why? Because Istanbul’s 95% Muslim population had all finished their fasts and were eating. 🙂 The minarets lights turn on to show it’s sunset and then the festivities begin. As we drove downtown every restaraunt/roadside stand was packed with people. Everyone was eating and dancing, celebrating the end of another day of fasting (17 hours a day for a month is incredible!) Attilla does Ramadan as well, so he was telling me all about how happy everyone is at the end of the day and the worshipping they do during this month. It’s fascinating!

Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge (Not my picture. From flickr.)

We parked and started walking, I couldn’t turn my head fast enough to see everything! It was hilarious because every time Attilla would see a Christian church, he would turn to me and say “Destiny! Church!” 🙂 Saw a mosque, a synagogue, and a church all on one street; quite a unity of religions here! There are so many people, all very happy and enjoying their nighttime of eating. Attilla informed me that many people eat until 4 in the morning, sleep a few hours, then wake up for work the next day. Wow, I respect their devotion!

SEMESTER AT SEA

Then Attilla and Funa surprised me by getting in a boat and taking me around the harbor!!! It was incredible with the lights, especially the Bosphorus Bridge. I had a total “I’M IN TURKEY!!!” moment standing on the deck, seeing the castles from the 1400s, looking at the neon lights, watching the minarets light up, passing the docks full of people celebrating, and looking at the nearly full moon reflecting off the water. If I could have flown you guys to Turkey, I would have done it in a heartbeat. I wanted my family here so bad to share in this incredible experience!!! I’ve also noticed that most of these moments happen while on the water 😉

My first night in Istanbul on a boat in the harbour!

My first night in Istanbul on a boat in the harbour!

After the perfect boat ride, it was 10:00 prayer time. There are announcers at the top of every minaret singing prayers, but to see everyone start worshipping was breath-taking and I couldn’t help smiling from happiness as I stood and observed their devotion. Wow, I am actually living in Turkey! I am going to learn so much about this faith, this culture, and myself in the next month and a half!!!

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?

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When traveling, sometimes you just have to trust people.

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
14 June 2013
 
Had an incredible, crazy day. Saying thank you prayers for safety and just so content with my life! Cassie and I went on my first ever Vietnamese motorcycle to downtown for lunch with Spencer. It was AWESOME!!! Didn’t really feel scared, but was more excited to ride. 🙂 We flew with the other thousand motos around us. I’m so glad I went with her though, she was careful and cautious for my sake. 🙂 As we crossed a huge bridge with the denghys below, I had a “I’M IN VIETNAM!!!” moment. I’m so blessed to be here, especially with Cassie!
 
Riding on a motorcycle with my friend Cassie.

Riding on a motorcycle with my friend Cassie.

We had delicious food and sugar cane smoothies. I bought several pair of “Ali Baba” pants in Cambodia when I was here last year, but have worn those clear through! So Cassie and I went shopping and I bought several. Everything is so cheap here that I can actually afford to shop for the first time since April!

French architecture in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

French architecture in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Afterwards we drove around, looking at famous French buildings. To be honest, I didn’t necessarily want to go inside the buildings. They are remnants of a colonial era and personally, I am more interested in Vietnamese culture than their captors/colonizers/whatever we want to call them. So I just enjoyed being on the bike and seeing more of the city than I did last time.
 
 Afterwards, we went to a school where I would meet Khiem and his organization for the night. She dropped me off once I met a Deaf man from the organization and I hung out with him until others showed up. I was reminded again how different Vietnamese Sign Language is compared to American Sign Language (or rather, reminded how much Khiem really does know a lot of American Sign Language 😉 ). It was perfect because I had time to chat and re-learn some Vietnamese Sign Language before others showed up.
 

WHO IS KHIEM?

 
I didn’t know until I arrived in Vietnam, that for the first time in Vietnamese Deaf history, a group of Singapore Deaf would be visiting their organization! And as “luck” would have it, I was in Vietnam for this historical night. (Though I don’t believe in luck 🙂 ). It was awe-inspiring to see all of the Vietnamese and Singapore Deaf learn from each other, play games together, and laugh ’til our sides hurt. The energy in that stuffed school classroom was incredible—the Singapore group is traveling around Asia meeting Deaf and performing their cultural dances. The Vietnamese group also prepared and performed dances as well. I got a ton of film and cannot wait to make a video for The Deaf Dream!
 
Vietnam and Singapore Deaf group (with me on the far left in pink skirt).

Vietnam and Singapore Deaf group (with me on the far left in pink skirt).

The best part of the night for me was to watch Khiem direct and encourage those in his group. He is SO proud of his organization and it’s obvious that he has dedicated his life to this group. It inspired me to be better and do more.
 

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It was fun to interact with the Singapore group because our sign languages were more similar. I met some amazing people in both groups: so many Deaf Dreamers that are making a difference in their communities despite the stigma around deafness.
 

WHAT IS THE DEAF DREAM?

After group pictures and the Singapore Deaf group left, we took lots of pictures with each other. 🙂 One of the most memorable experiences of the night was when the Khiem started passing out the school supply kits that they had received from the Singapore group. One young boy ran up and gave one to me. I was shocked and at first tried to hand it back, but quickly realized this was a gift from the entire group. I had a rush of emotion and promised to bring it home with me.
 
Khiem and I at the end of the night. He is so excited for school!

Khiem and I at the end of the night. He is so grateful for those who donated via The Deaf Dream! Thank you!!!

Afterwards, Khiem helped me arrange the bus. They told me my bus (#56) wasn’t working at 20:00 o’clock so he had me go with one of the students. He was so kind and safely walked me to the bus where he rode with me. It was dark and we were walking in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. This was the first of several “trusting moments” tonight. I had to trust in the innate goodness of people after doing my best to be in safe situations. I was praying, asking my Heavenly Father if I should get out of this situation but even with the nerves of walking downtown with someone who was a stranger a few hours ago, I felt at peace. There is a family bond in the Deaf world and as long as I’m cautious, there are times when traveling when I just have to trust people. 🙂
 
So we went on bus 150 but the bus ticket man said it wasn’t going my direction. [The ticket man was talking with a Vietnamese boy who wrote it in Vietnamese for my Deaf friend who then signed it to me in Vietnamese sign language—it was another fun/crazy multi-lingual experience! 🙂 ] I didn’t know how to get home so my Deaf friend (who told me to call him Nick since I didn’t understand his real name in Vietnamese fingerspelling :)] told me to come to his house first to get a motorcycle.
 

YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN VIETNAM WHEN…

There are times when it’s hard to write in a blog my feelings because they are thoughts that need to be carefully written. I write the following not to judge or incite pity, but instead to open minds to new perspectives on life and express my gratitude.

So for the second time tonight, I had to pray and trust again that I would be ok. I knew he had 3 other brothers in his family, but I was not prepared for their one room, tiny home down a skinny alley [I could not even stretch one arm out while walking in the alley.] The “kitchen” was a corner of the room with a bucket that served as the shower too. There was room for a small table that had a big computer on it that the brothers were using for school work. The room had a floor built between the floor and ceiling to create a second floor and one of the brothers was laying up there.
 
After their initial shock of having me show up, one of the brothers drove me home on a motorcycle. We stopped at a gas station because the tank was completely empty. He only could buy $1 of gas (20,000 dong) to get the spindle off the “E” mark on the tank. I felt so badly to use their gas but my offer to pay for my own gas seemed to be embarrassing for him and slightly offensive. He was a good driver (though I am glad he was NOT my first motorcycle experience as he drove much faster than Cassie and we were driving at night amid the semi-trucks) and we made it to the school near Cassie’s home drenched from the rain.
 
Again, I was praying to remember how to get home as it was night. But the Lord helped me find the house and I must say, I had a feeling of accomplishment when I walked in the front door of Cassie’s home! 🙂 I was grateful for the feeling of peace I felt the entire trip home (about 3 hours time) and am still in awe that I was able to participate in the Singapore/Vietnam Deaf conference today! The Lord is in the details, it’s obvious to me everyday!

DO YOU HAVE A DREAM?

One of the most rewarding part of traveling for me is learning to trust people. After I prepare, plan, and try to “be smart” while traveling the world, there are times when everything falls through and I just have to rely on peoples’ goodness to get me through. And guess what!? After all my traveling, I believe that 90% of people are good and help because they genuinely care.

When I’ve told people this percentage, most look at me like I’m crazy or start lecturing me about how I have to be careful to not trust too many people. And I totally understand where they are coming from. To be honest, there have been times in my life where I thought a majority of people were bad eggs. 🙂 But now that I have decided to give people the benefit of the doubt and have been placed in situations where I have to trust strangers, they nearly always come through! And more and more, I am able to believe in peoples’ innate goodness.

2 NIGHTS IN QATAR

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