Archive for September, 2008

My Whine-Fest

September 29, 2008

I’m in denial about the upcoming midterms week. As far as I know, it’s now the middle of June and I’m mowing my backyard, getting increasingly sunburned in the process. But… *sighs*, one can’t fantasize too much when one has a Spanish midterm tomorrow. Yep, you read that right, my first midterm is tomorrow! I’m feeling a bit unprepared since I overslept for my Spanish class quite a few times (it was not my fault, blame the alarm clock!) and missed a bit of vital information. I’ve also got some project due dates coming up, add a little bit of a cold, headaches, and plain ol’ fatigue, and you’ve got a recipe for major stress, also known as a disaster. That’s the typical college student life for you.

Anyway, you might ask, “Why are you taking Spanish if you’re a secondary education/English major?”  Well, seeing as Spanish is the second most used language in the U.S.,  I thought it couldn’t hurt to learn it. After all, I might be able to use my ability to read and write Spanish in future teaching situations. 

But I am regretting taking Spanish, I know it’ll probably look good on my resume and might be able to help me in the future. But this class wasn’t required for me to take, so instead of Spanish, I could have used the space to take another class that is required for my major. I guess I’ll learn from this when I’m registering for classes for next semester.

I’m currently taking 5 classes, or 17 credits: GSR 220 (Black History), ENG 399, HIS 111, PSY 322, and SPA 111. My most challenging class is probably ENG 399. We study literary theories and apply them to dystopian books like “1984” or “White Noise”. But this is one of the few classes I thoroughly enjoy. Spanish is another story, I dislike any subject that requires me to memorize things in order to understand something.

Ok, whine-fest is over. I gotta get back to learning how to conjugate Spanish verbs.

Cheers,

Heather

I Am Not a Morning Person

September 29, 2008

Okay, I admit it. I fail miserably when it comes to early morning fire alarm drills (when I say “early,” I mean between 2am and 6am). I have already shared about my first fire alarm drill where I almost left my roommate asleep in bed as I fumbled around our room, ran into furniture while trying to get ready (not even thinking to turn the light on), and almost walked out the door without her.

I do not know which is worse: almost leaving my roommate or what I did this last time.

Saturday night, I went to bed somewhat late (about 1am). I thought I was going to get a nice, peaceful night’s sleep before church Sunday morning. I was wrong. The clock strikes 5am and I am sleeping like a baby. Just to let you know, I sleep with earplugs every night in order to block out all the dorm noises, but I can still usually hear my door open, my alarm clock buzz, and the fire alarm ring.

Next thing I know, my bedroom light is on and some strange guy is standing in my doorway, holding up my student ID. He signs, “I’m taking your ID.”

I sit up in bed, confused and dazed. “Ok,” I sign back. Not even hearing the alarm or noticing the strobe-flashing lights, I stare at the guy trying to figure out who he is, why he wants my ID, what he’s doing in my room, and why he’s signing to me.

I think, Well, at least the guy is standing by my door. That’s good. It means he doesn’t want to hurt me. How did he get in here anyways? And why does he want my ID? I guess he can borrow it if he wants, but it would have been nice if he knocked on my door and asked first. Why does he keep signing to me? At least I understand what he’s saying, lucky for him. Here we are at this hearing college with thousands of hearing students, and I sleep through ONE fire alarm and he automatically assumes I’m deaf. Go figure.

At this point, I know that the fire alarm is going off, but I still don’t know how to react to it. I am still sitting in bed, staring at the guy and he signs again, “I am taking your ID, OK? You can pick it up later.”

I repeat his statements with questions, “You’re taking my ID?”

“Yes.”

“I can pick it up later?”

“Yes, you can pick it up later downstairs in the RA’s office.”

“Downstairs in the RA’s office?”

“Yes.”

“Ok,” I sign. At this point I knew I needed to get out of bed and leave the dorm, though I could not process why I needed to. I was also still a little perturbed that the guy was refusing to speak to me and only signed. Well, on the bright side, I guess its a good thing he’s taken ASL classes and knows ASL. I mean, what if there really was a Deaf student that went to this college and didn’t wake up during the fire alarm? At least he could communicate with him or her. At that, I fumbled around my room, putting my shoes and jacket on and gathering up my phone and keys.

Walking carefully down the stairs (I hurt my knees a few weeks ago playing soccer), I still tried to figure out why the guy was signing to me and why he wanted my ID. It was during my walk down the stairwell that I came to the realization that the guy was an RA, he wanted my ID to put down that he had to wake me up during the alarm, and he was signing because HE was Deaf (not because he thought I was, though he may have thought that as well).

However, I still thought I went to a hearing university until I walked outside and saw all the people who live in my dorm, and they were all signing to each other. I looked around me, bewildered, and thought, I know these people (sarcastically to self: what a novel idea. I know who lives in my dorm and who I take classes with). And, I know they are all Deaf. Well, except her and her….Ohhhhh, duh, me! I go to Gallaudet University! Gallaudet is a Deaf school which means that most of the students are Deaf. Geez, I am really out of it!

We did not wait outside for long. The alarm soon shut off and we were soon allowed to go back inside. I went in the RA office and grabbed my ID (the only one sitting on the desk. I felt like such a dud, being a hearing person and being the only one to not hear the fire alarm). Then, I went back to bed for a few more hours of restless sleep.

I laid there awake for quite a while though, thinking about what had just taken place. I thought it seemed kind of funny but, at the same time, I also felt horrible about it. It was funny in that I was completely out of it for so long and that I had all kinds of crazy thoughts swimming in my head.

However, I felt horrible that I had experienced so many negative feelings in my subconsciousness. I love signing. I like conversing with people in ASL. I love Deaf people and I have greatly enjoyed going to Gallaudet. But, in my subconscious thoughts and behavior, I was associating negative feelings with signing, deafness, and Deaf schools. That is what upset me and made it hard for me to fall back asleep. I did not understand where those feelings came from and I still do not know the answer to that question.

I will not let that get me down though. Let me just say that I prefer my consciousness to my subconsciousness, and I will not worry whether this fire alarm experience was better or worse than my first one. I will simply think about the utterly ridiculous and funny aspects of both experiences and hope and pray that there are no more early morning fire alarms.

No Fear

September 29, 2008

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7, NIV

I am playing soccer this year for Gallaudet. I have played soccer almost all my life–from first grade until I was a junior in high school–and now I am playing college ball for the first time. All this said, I have played every position on the field (except goalie) at some point or other during my life. Its kinda funny….I started playing forward in first grade and slowly made my way back to sweeper by my junior year. Now, I am working my way back up the field and playing outside midfield. 

Because of playing all these positions, I have experienced playing both offense and defense and being a midfielder now means that I must play both offensively and defensively. I have noticed something about the way I play my position. Perhaps I do this because I am slightly injured, but maybe not. I have noticed that I tend to play more defense than offense.

My point? Because I play defensively, I never take risks. I play in a way that reflects the saying “better safe than sorry.” I do not play to win; I play not to lose.

I think this kind of negative thinking carries over to my spiritual life, too. Instead of having faith like Jonathan and proclaiming, “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6, NIV), I say, “Perhaps the Lord will NOT act in our behalf. If He doesn’t, then what will we do? Let’s play it safe.”

I take the spiritual defense, not offense. I do not take risks. I do not overcome my fears or insecurities and take the offensive. For example, perhaps I see someone in need, but, because I am shy around people I do not know, I do not help that person. That is me not taking the offensive. That is me committing a sin of omission (as opposed to commission). That is me not trusting what God can do.

Take Jonathan as an example. He comes up with the worst military strategy ever invented by man and then says, “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf.” His strategy is this: let’s (meaning Jonathan and his armor-bearer) climb up a cliff in broad daylight to where our enemy is waiting, expose ourselves to them, wait for them to say they want us to come to them so they can kill us, and then we will walk up to them and defeat them (1 Samuel 13:23-14:23 whole story). With God’s help, they did defeat the Philistine army despite this horrendous plan.

If only I had so much courage.

After coming to this realization in church this morning, I hope that I will learn how to play offense in both my spiritual life and in my life of soccer. Perhaps, by applying this positive thinking to my soccer strategy, I can more easily see the correlation with my spiritual walk and apply it to that as well.

Mark Batterson, the pastor at NCC who I got this message from, talked about how, oftentimes, we think of the Christian life as boring and dull. That is because we play defense all the time. However, if we play offensively, life is going to turn into one major adventure. We will face more and more difficult challenges over time and we will experience the Christian life in a whole new way.

In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman:

Chorus: “Saddle up your horses! We’ve got a trail to blaze. Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace. Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown. This is a life like no other–this is the Great Adventure!

“Started out this morning in the usual way, chasing thoughts inside my head of all I had to do today. Another time around the circle, try to make it better than the last.

“I opened up the Bible, and I read about me. Said I’d been a prisoner and God’s grace had set me free. And somewhere between the pages, it hit me like a lightning bolt. I saw a big frontier in front of me, and I heard somebody say, ‘let’s go!’

Chorus

“Come on and get read for the ride of your life. Gonna leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind. And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored. This is what we were created for!

Chorus

“We’ll travel over, over mountains so high. We’ll go through valleys below. Still, through it all, we’ll find that this is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see. The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams!”

-“The Great Adventure” lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman

A Dead Roach

September 27, 2008

You never realize how far from home you are until someone tells you that there’s a dead roach in the bathroom and she doesn’t want to throw it away. Of course, she demands I look at it. Of course I demand not to and respond that I shall hold my bladder forevermore.

Okay, honestly, that’s besides the point. The whole point of this post is to reflect on home. I was talking to B’s mom about home and my relationship with my brothers. I am reminded instantly of the sibling rivalry I had with my youngest brother (who is almost three years younger than me). Family is such an important part of a person’s life, no matter at what period in life you go through. Sometimes I wonder how things would had changed if my parents didn’t support my decision to go to Gallaudet after they visited campus.

If you’re really serious about attending Gallaudet, it is something to damper your spirit if your family feels uncomfortable or awkward about where you’re attending. I’m thankful they didn’t, but at the same time, I think I would had gone on with it. I don’t know, this is random thinking.

Overall, school, contrary to Colleen’s lack of busywork, has gotten increasingly busy. Mondays continue to be my hard days and I’m relieved to have Wednesday and Fridays off. I’m taking eighteen credits, two major courses, working 10 hours at the library and now getting four hours working at Kendall School. My poor brain is near explosion.

I still don’t want to go near the bathroom. God. *makes a face*

Stop the World! I’m Sick!

September 26, 2008

I hate that school doesn’t stop when you’re sick. On Sunday night, I wasn’t feeling so great. On Monday, I was feeling kind of iffy, but it was okay if I ignored it; I even went out with friends on Monday night. On Tuesday I woke up and I was sick. My ears react strangely to pressure anyway because of the accident, well, the pressure that was on them Tuesday morning was unbelievable. But I had a presentation in one of my classes that I absolutely had to give. So I went to school, gave the presentation, and came home. I e-mailed teachers and classmates to make sure I would know what was going on.

On Wednesday, I was still sick, but I had to take my car in to the mechanic, it had an appointment and it really needed to be taken care of. They paid for a rental car because they were out of loaners, and the nice lady who rented the car kept trying to shake my hand, and I kept pulling mine back and saying “no, I’m sick!” She felt bad that she kept forgetting, it was kind of cute. I bought popsicles and soup on the way home and stayed in bed all day; once again, I e-mailed my teachers about it.

Yesterday I had a test in the same class where I’d had a presentation. So even though I was still sick, I went in for that. I had tried contacting the teachers when I woke up to ask if I could make it up later, but I couldn’t reach them, so I went in, took the test, and left again. I feel really bad for missing two classes twice and two classes once…I hate missing class.

Today I have no classes, and I am not going anywhere. I was supposed to work but I called out sick. I am actually feeling about 60-70% better than before, but my wife said I have to stay home! But really I just hate missing classes. I don’t care about work, it’s only money…but missing classes is a big thing for me! I hope my grades are not messed up because I missed classes…nobody has very clear attendance policies this year. Oh, except for my sociology teacher. If you miss no classes, then at the end of the semester you can retake one of the tests. So that is no longer an option for me. But I did well on the first one, so hopefully I won’t need to worry about that. Ugh…I’m tired of being sick though! And I really wish the world would stop so I wouldn’t have to worry about stuff. I want to get back to normal!

This year rawks

September 25, 2008

Hello,  just wanted to check in and give an update on my little life.  I haven’t been posting too much because there’s not much to post!  Everything is pretty much status quo this term.  I have a whole bunch of classes, seven to be exact.  One is a PE class, so it doesn’t really count, but the point is, lots of school work!  Amazingly, it hasn’t been too stressful so far. *knocks on wood*  I am also still swimming along on the swim team.  I initially thought I’d have to quit because of how much time it takes, and the fact that I am a lousy swimmer.  (see previous blog)  However, I am enjoying it quite a bit, and although I don’t think I’m getting any faster, I am definitely able to keep up with the workouts most days.

I am busy every day, but have a routine pretty well established with enough time for just about everything.  I’ve learned that routine is key for me to be successful in school.  I’ve had two tests so far, and aced both of them which is good.

Like I said, nothing too exciting is happening, but I am SO happy.  I absolutely love my life now and am so grateful to be happy.  This time last year I was in the pits of homesick, heartachey depression and was ready to pack it all up and go home.  I’m so glad I kept at it! I’m almost sad that this is my last year here!

Ah well, cest la vie!  Until next time 🙂

Looking Back

September 23, 2008

You may not be aware, but just after I joined gBlog, there was a major crash with the database. We lost everything. Fortunately the Internet Archive saves stuff now and then, but it takes time for it to appear on their website. So I’ve just looked at their archive, and I discovered that my first gBlog post is now available.

I’m amazed how much has changed in my life since then. It’s been a little over nine months since I wrote that, and I have almost been “reborn”. When I wrote that entry, I was in denial about my hearing loss. My accident happened in October 2006, and at the time doctors told me that my hearing would return to “normal”. (I have had a very mild hearing loss for many years but it was never anything that I worried about, and I identified as hearing.) So I applied to Gallaudet as a HUG student, and I was accepted as a HUG. All this time I believed I was hearing, and I waited for my hearing to come back. I waited and waited for over a year. Finally, right around the time that I wrote my first gBlog entry, I began to realize…my hearing wasn’t coming back. I had been struggling with conversations with my family and with doing a good job at work (I’m an interpreter) and it was making me exhausted and cranky. And I realized…it was because I couldn’t hear as well anymore. So I finally decided to do something about it. I got a new audiogram done (last one was before the accident) and found out that I am now considered hard of hearing based on my dB loss. So in order to do better at work, I needed to get hearing aids. I tried to get support from Virginia VR but they recently changed their rules and they couldn’t help me. So I bought the hearing aids out of my own pocket, $5700!! They are Oticon Epoqs and honestly my life hasn’t been the same since. I can hear my partner’s voice now, I can hear my mother-in-law’s voice better, I can hear perfectly at work, it’s all just amazing. And to think that when I got my new audiogram, the audiologist said hearing aids wouldn’t help me! Well they DO…unfortunately they are the expensive kind, but they DO help me.

So with my hearing aids on, I hear pretty darn well. But I can’t call myself hearing anymore. I haven’t been hearing since October 2006. I just didn’t want to believe it for a long time. After all, the doctors said I would be okay, so I figured I just had to wait. I’m sure this has happened to many other people who became deaf suddenly…the doctors think you will be okay, but you’re not. I went to the Mental Health Center on campus to talk about how I felt being labeled hard of hearing, wearing hearing aids, asking for help if I need it, etc. And I am coming to accept myself as a hard of hearing person. It is still a learning process. My place in the DEAF-WORLD is a strange one. The other day I told my story to one of my classes and the teacher said “welcome to the deaf world!” and another student said to let her know if I wanted to talk. So it’s been almost 2 years since I became hard of hearing, and almost 9 months since I started accepting it. I still act hearing a lot of the time, because with my hearing aids I can hear well. I hear 100% normal when I am interpreting in VRS (I use my hearing aids and a headset with two ears instead of one), and I hear about 98% normal when I am interpreting in other situations. One day recently, I forgot my hearing aids before work and I had to turn around and go back home. I can’t work without them. I can communicate okay without them, because I am learning what they call “communication strategies” like lipreading, making sure you can see the person, body cues, context, etc. So without the hearing aids I can still interact with hearing people, but I cannot hear well enough to interpret. I would never interpret without my hearing aids, that would not be fair to the deaf person.

So yeah…I wrote that original blog entry December 10, 2007. Now it’s September 23, 2008 and I’m a new person in some ways, and the same person in other ways. I can say it now: I am hard of hearing. When people see me react to sound and ask if I am hearing, I say no, I am hard of hearing. Because that is who I am. It’s a scary road to travel and a lot of people have been suspicious of me as I go through this transition. “What do you mean you’re not hearing anymore?” and “How can you be deaf now?” they say. Well, I am what is called LATE-DEAF. That is who I am. I am late-deafened, I am hard of hearing, I wear hearing aids, I need you to get my attention first if I’m not wearing my hearing aids and you want to talk to me, I am a HOH interpreter (and I’m not the only one, I know several others!), I am a Gallaudet student, I am learning, I am finding my place, I am me.

Mental Note: Brown Cheese is BAD!

September 22, 2008

My roommate took me to Safeway in Wheaton, MD last Sunday, I had never been to a Safeway, heck, I didn’t even know what a Safeway was. So she graciously showed me around (thanks Dianne!) and we bought some groceries. I got some string cheese, because supposedly they’re healthy for you, and I am, of course, addicted to cheese. So anyway, today, I unwrapped one and noticed that it looked a little brown. Cheese is not supposed to be brown… right? I looked at the packaging and saw that it expired in July… 2008! I had already eaten about two cheese strings earlier and felt like an idiot since I didn’t notice the cheese was a rather odd color. 

Naturally I was also pissed! What kind of food store doesn’t check its shelves regularly?! I’ll probably continue to go to Safeway for my groceries, mainly because they’re cheap, and I’m broke. But… I will be checking the expiration dates from now on… lesson learned.

So here I am… rambling about old cheese and Safeway.

Things here at Gally are pretty good, I’m getting a bit unmotivated with homework, but then again, what college student doesn’t? I find myself looking forward to Enrichment Day, the one day in the middle of October where there are no classes, instead there are presentations and workshops for us to “enrich” ourselves with. Hopefully I’ll be “enriching” myself with some sleep.

By the way, does anyone know if you can get food poisoning from bad cheese?

Cheers, 

Heather

Going green

September 22, 2008

The word of the day: booked.

 

I’m so booked with meetings, the organization that I’m involved with. Lately I’ve become the Education track director for the Green Gallaudet organization. Also I have been doing works for Homecoming 2008 and so far it is looking very sweet! I can’t wait to see the result of this event, all of our hard work we’ve putted in lately is not just enough- there’s lot to come! I also will be doing make-up for this year’s fashion week and I can’t wait to start on my portfolio because I would love to work for the M.A.C. someday. I also will be responsible for the Halloweek this year which requires lot of work. 

 

Eating meat is not good for me when I’m doing those stuff. I eat white meat three times weekly and that’s it, I’ve completely shed red meat away from my diet. I feel much more energized, I don’t call myself a vegetarian because I still do white meat. I can’t just give up chicken! They’re so delicious and tempting. Maybe a semi-vegetarian. Lately I’ve started my day off with raw breakfast then a salad for lunch then dinner- I treat myself to a sandwich or something small. So far it is all good for me and I’ve been feeling a lot more upbeat. Maintaing a healthy diet in college is important! 

 

Ok I have a meeting to attend now, until next time I blog!

 

Cheers,

-C

Two Presidents and an Arival Ceremony

September 22, 2008

Last Monday, a friend gave me a ticket to see the Arrival Ceremony forJohn Kufour, who is the President of Ghana, and Mrs. Theresa Kufour on the South Lawn of the White House. The welcoming committee? President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush.

It was amazing! Beginning at 8:55am (I had to get there at 7:30 to get a good standing spot), the military band played a few tunes then played “Hail to the Chief.” Everyone knows what that means…the President is coming! I was so excited. I had seen the President once before a few weeks ago, but I did not have a good view of him and only saw him for a short time.

After playing the National Anthem of the Republic of Ghana and the National Anthem of the United States (for which, by the way, President Bush placed his hand over his heart in respect and honor for the flag, anthem, and our beloved country), President Bush shared a few remarks about our growing relationship with Ghana and how we are helping Ghana financially, economically, and medically. Next, President Kufour gave a short speech in which he spoke of the many ways that the United States has helped Ghana and how he is grateful for the support we have shown them.

I enjoyed both speeches for their humor and positive outcomes, but I most enjoyed President Bush’s remarks about the upcoming elections in both countries, “Ghana is now in the middle of a lively election season” he says, “[There is] spirited debate…[close-cut] contests, (pause) which sounds kinda familiar.” Later, he said, “And so I welcome you here. Laura and I are looking forward to having you to dinner tonight. I promise not to unleash the dance moves that I first displayed in Ghana, in what was one of the most memorable trips of my presidency.”

I also liked President Kufour’s remark, “Ghana is very grateful for the friendship she is enjoying from the United States. And I, personally, am very happy and appreciate your friendship so far, and I look forward to a good and productive retirement, just as I wish for you, as you go into retirement.”

President Bush responded with a big grin, “Thank you, sir.”

Then, the President of Ghana said something that really touched me and made me sad. He said, “You have been good and I hope history will judge you well.”

When President Kufour said that, all that came to mind were all the wonderful stories I have heard about and seen with my own eyes that exemplify President Bush’s godly character and sweet spirit and then, in contrast, all the hateful, bitter, cruel things people say about President Bush.

I wonder what happened to the American people between 9/11 and now. What changed? In 2001, most everyone loved President Bush. He received countless emails, phone calls, and letters from Americans showing their support for his godly leadership. Then, something happened. Now, people go so far as to send him coffins. Tell me, why do people HATE Bush? If you disagree with his policies, fine; I can accept that. But hate him? What did he, in and of himself–alone, do that was so terrible?

As President Kufour said that he hoped history would judge President Bush well, I wondered if it would. I wonder if people will look back on this era and see the good that was done or just the bad that remains obscure even to this day.

At any rate, I loved the ceremony. I still cannot believe that I saw the President! Many thanks go to my friend for going through the immense trouble of getting me a ticket. What a neat opportunity!

Me on the South Lawn of the White House
Me on the South Lawn of the White House
President John Kufour and President George W. Bush
President John Kufour and President George W. Bush