Thursday, July 28, 2011

Signing At The Zoo

I have been having another lazy weeks. I  have not written anything for my blog for three  weeks. Seriously, I need to write more.  Last Saturday, I went to  Binder park Zoo. It is a large zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Signers and other deaf awareness (SODA) student club at Lansing Community College were having their last event for the year. There were  a lot of sign students  that  came to the event to learn signs of  animals.  It was my first time to visit that zoo.

The zoo has a lot of animal and habitat. It  has a section which is called “Wild Africa .”   It  presents about African wild lives, culture and other things. We  took a ride on a wheeled tram to the wild Africa.  When we got to the Wild Africa,  I was surprised to see a lot of African cultures materials  such as; house hold stuffs and animals. My Friend Trent Wade joked with me  welcome to back to home.

In  the Wild Africa,I got a chance  feed a cute giraffe( picture below) . They have giraffe food for sell. So if you want to feed giraffe, you have to buy the food.I bought it and fed giraffe. It was freaking awesome. These tall animal which have tallest throat, I think also have long tongue like 12inch. I wished I could have some of those giraffe as a pet. During our Wild Africa tour, some  sign language students  learned how to sign giraffe.  

After the zoo, we went to a restaurant in Marshal, MI  because we were hungry after all day at the zoo. Unfortunately, I could not eat the food that I ordered;It tasted so horrible.  I had to pass it way and  pay for it. What made me unhappy about that restaurant was that, we could not find a place to sit as a group. They had an outdoor  tables, but it was raining and as soon as we sat on the table, it started raining. I would never go back to that restaurant. I paid for a food that i did not eat.

After an  enjoyable day at the zoo, I decided that my weekend fun was not over. Despite that I worked whole Friday night and only got a little sleep  before the Zoo,  I went to my friend birthday party and had fun  all night. I got back to home early Sunday morning. I could say that  last weekend was one of those good weekends for a while.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Making Friends In Sign Language

Many people try very hard to make new friends. Some of us can make friends easily while others may struggle. Lately, I have been wondering how easy it is to make friends through sign language. A few days ago, I was at a deaf coffee chat in Troy, Michigan. While chatting with some friends, a conversation arose regarding how easy it was to make friends through sign language. I always thought that, I was the only one having a hard time making friends with non sign users. However, I recently learned that making friendship through sign language is much easier than making friends through spoken language.

I remember when I took sign classes at college, I used to make friends very easily and was able to get to know my classmates quicker compared to my non-sign classes. I could get to know and be friends with most of my classmates in one class where as I would make zero friends in five other non related courses. I thought the reason I made friends in sign class was due to my deafness and, therefore, the ability for me and the other students to know the same language and be able to communicate with each other. However, I realized that was not the case; there are other reasons why it would be easier to make friendships through sign language.

First, sign language is a visual language which means there is integration between two sign users. For example, when someone is signing you absolutely have to pay attention to them to catch all the information. Your mind and your eyes would focus in order to capture the signs that person is signing. You have to be face to face and make eye contact with that person which will help you to recognize the person’s face. Thus, if you meet with that person again tomorrow you will easily recognize them.  In addition, you would feel more comfortable talking to them via sign language as opposed to spoken language.

Secondly, asking personal questions and getting to know somebody is not hard in deaf culture.  When deaf people meet, they start asking names and other things easily without worrying about what the other person may think of the questions. If you go to deaf events such as coffee chats, you can easily start meeting with people. Things that you will be asked upon showing up to deaf events could include your name, where you live, where you work, or what you are studying. It is these kinds of questions which assist people into getting to know each other faster. This kind of behavior is normal in deaf culture. However, in hearing culture, you might feel very uncomfortable to be asked questions like these when you first meet with someone at events.

Finally, deaf culture seems to be friendlier compared to hearing culture. Although sign users in general tend to be friendly people; they are willing to answer your questions honestly when you ask their names or other personal questions. They would not feel offended when you want to get to know them by asking questions because deaf culture emphasizes real communication. When attending deaf events, you wouldn’t feel worried not knowing anyone there as long as you knew sign language. You can literally start chatting with people as soon as you come into the event as if they were your friends for years.  What might surprise you is that a lot of hearing people don’t realize that deaf culture is such great way of life. I believe that if hearing culture was a more friendly culture, then there would not have been all of these misconceptions about deaf people and sign language. Maybe it is time for everyone to learn sign language and about deaf culture. That way, both cultures could feel friendlier and more comfortable with each other.