Hey everyone! I know it's been a few weeks since I have made an update post, and I apologize for that. The last couple of weeks has been hard with being sick and also hurting my wrist. Now that I am feeling better and I have started to get back in the routine of working with "Maya", I can finally get to writing an update. I have several different topics/events to talk about so I will just go ahead and get started :-)
About 3 weeks ago I was able to go to a Deaf event! I found out from a girl who is taking local sign language lessons that there was locally made movie which was translated into the local sign language. It was after our Sunday gathering so I took a taxi over to the theater and made my way in. I walked in, and it was SO cool!! There were SO many Deaf people there! While I didn't understand anything in the movie, I'm so glad I went! I was able to communicate some with some of the Deaf people sitting behind me before the movie got started, so that was awesome! They were taking selfies, and I offered to take the picture for them. That started our brief conversation. It was funny because I think it was a similar introduction conversation that I have had hundreds of times with the American Deaf community! Question 1 - Are you Deaf of hearing? Question 2 - Do you have any kids? Question 3: are you married/have a boyfriend? Other than answering those questions and me telling them I was from America that was all we talked about since we couldn't communicate much. Even though our conversation was short, I LOVED being there around other Deaf people!
After the movie I hopped in a taxi and asked to be taken back to the town where I'm staying. The driver didn't speak english, but I was thinking that as long as he could take me to the town and drop me off at the main road I could walk back to the house. I noticed that as he drove where he was taking me was not familiar. For a second I was thinking how not smart I was to get in a car with a guy I didn't know and didn't speak English. Not gonna lie, I said a prayer for safety! After a few minutes of unfamiliarity I went ahead and called my host family and they told him where to take me, so he turned around and took me where I needed to go :-) Apparently when I told him where to go he didn't actually understand. Made it home safely and again was very excited about seeing so many Deaf people!
November 4th! My Birthday. Last year I was so busy studying for my Masters degree comprehensive exam that I didn't do anything to celebrate. This year, with being in a new country, living with a new family I honestly didn't expect to do much, but it was a GREAT day! I slept in, and just hung out in my apt in the morning and relaxed. Then the two buys came down and wished me a Happy Birthday. I got dressed, and went upstairs and "Brittany" had made me some homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls! I had told her that in my family that growing up we always did birthday breakfasts, so thats why she made it for me :-) After breakfast we took the bus into town and I was able to walk around and look at the sea. I hadn't been able to go to that part of town and get that close to the sea yet, so it was really cool!
We then went and had a late lunch and got pizza (my favorite food)! Later "Brittany" invited a friend over from the school I'm working at and we did a movie night. I ended the evening before going to bed by opening up the birthday cards that were given to me before I left. It was so special to have the cards from friends back home! All in all it was a nice relaxing a fun day with the family, new friend, and a bit of home!
We eat a lot of meals together which is really nice. One day I was looking online for pomegranate recipes since we have a tree in the yard. I found a recipe that is sautéed pomegranates with egg. I made it one morning for myself and I loved it! I decided to make it for the rest of the family so one night I cooked and invited the family down to eat with me. I made the sautéed pomegranated and onion with eggs, my dad's has browns, and toast. It was all SO good, and it was really nice to have everyone down in my space to eat :-)
The evening of the pomegranate dinner my throat started hurting pretty bad. I went to bed early, but I woke up still feeling sick. I ended up staying in bed for almost 3 days. Saturday evening I started feeling better, so I went out to dinner to someone's house with the rest of the family. Then church on Sunday, and school on Monday with "Maya". Since I was still kind of in a mode of recovery I think I over did it because I woke up on Tuesday morning sick again and had NO voice. I seriously was straining and could only speak up to a soft whisper. I again stayed in bed for the next 2 days, and spent more time resting on days I didn't spend all day in bed. It was rough. After almost two weeks of being on and off sick, finally this week I have been feeling better, but still struggling with sinus headaches in the afternoon/evenings. I think I got sick because I stopped taking my allergy meds when I got here. I had assumed that when I got out of DFW I would not struggle with allergies anymore so I stopped taking all of my meds. I am now back on everything, but like I said I'm still getting headaches so that's not fun.
In the midsts of all of this, the day before I started feeling sick I was playing outside with "Brittany" and "Maya". We were playing following the leader and trying to teach her the concept of 1st 2nd and 3rd. We had just started playing, and it was my turn to be leader so I started doing the soldier walk, and put my foot down wrong and rolled my ankle. When I rolled my ankle and fell, I went to catch myself with my hand. It bent my wrist too far back and I heard a crack. By the time I realized that they pain was not subsiding it was early evening and it was too late to go to the hospital to have it checked out. Luckily I brought my wrist braces with me so I wore that to keep it stabilized. The next day it was still hurting so "Brittany" took me to the local clinic to get it x-rayed. It was an interesting experience to say the least! We walked in, and were escorted to the x-ray room. Then our escort brought the radiologist back, and while "Brittany" went to go pay, I was taken in and given the x-ray. When the pictures were taken and money had been paid, the radiologist handed us the pictures and said there was no break, and that was it! At first I was still worried it was broken, but it is getting to feel better so I think it was just a bad sprain. All in and out of the hospital was maybe 15-20 minutes and it only costed $20, and I also now have a good souvenir, an x-ray of my hand and wrist! The two weeks that all of this went on with being sick and having my wrist hurt was hard. I was discouraged and frustrated that I wasn't doing well, but I'm SO grateful for all of your prayers and messages. I'm SO glad I'm feeling better finally!
School with "Maya"
With all of that going on, the biggest part of my time here has been working with "Maya" in school. There have been some good days, and some hard days. Some days I get back home and I'm ready to spend more time with her, but then other days when we get done with school I just need to be alone and decompress. We go to school on Monday Wednesday and Fridays from 8:45-12:30, and most days by 9:15 she was already asking when it was time to go home! After talking with some people from school, and with a good friend back home who teaches Deaf Ed, and I knew that I needed to make some kind of behavior and schedule chart for her. So last week I went to work making her a schedule and behavior chart and this is what I came up with. So far it has been working REALLY well!! It helps her see what needs to be done for the day before she goes home, and for every activity she and I do a self check to see if she has been sitting well, paying attention and working with a good attitude. If she gets less than 4 bad marks for the day, then she gets a reward when she gets home. Anyways, it is helping really well, and I hope that it will continue to do so!
I love how it has been so easy to fit into the family here! The kids and the parents are so great! It has been a huge answer to prayer to fit in well here and feel comfortable so quickly. It was one of my big worries coming here, but the Father has been so good in allowing me to fit in with the flow of the family quickly and easily. One of the big things that I have been intentionally working on with the family is signing all the time and not only when they are talking to "Maya". It is challenging for me to do it too, but I think we are getting use to trying. We also try to have a sign language lesson twice a week, and also the family is learning to sign at least the chorus of a song for church on Sunday to "Maya" can see more people than just me signing the songs for service. It's so cute seeing her sign along when her family is signing!
"Brittany" and "Maya" will be leaving in two weeks to go back to the states for ac couple of months to finish up the rebuilding process of her trachea. Please be in prayer for them as they are getting ready to leave and be away for the holidays. I am praying through what I need to be doing during that time. If I should come back to the states with them, or stay here when I have more time to meet and invest in the local Deaf community. Please be praying the Father makes in clear where I should be and what I should be doing during this time. Well, I guess that is all for now. Thanks for reading and keeping up with my journey! Love you all!