Monday, September 22, 2008

Guest posting today....


Come check out my post at Light Refreshments Served today ( http://lightrefreshmentsserved.com/) . They asked me to write about my experience with the Deaf culture. Long before I was the lady who knew all about adoption, trans-racial families and Down Syndrome, I was the lady that knew sign language. Not just any signed language, I knew BRITISH Sign Language. A language that is TOTALLY different than American Sign Language and is pretty much useless if you don't live in the UK. I served a mission for my church in the UK learning and using British Sign Language. In our church you don't choose where you go, you just sign up (missions are optional; girls go when they are 21 and boys fo when they are 19). You often don't know much about where you are going beyond the fact that it will be an adventure and you are willing to do your best. For more information about what missions are, you can go to http://www.mormon.org/.


I shared a few mission experiences, but there were MANY more that I couldn't share in the short amount of space that I had over there. Here are some more things that I DIDN'T share:

--how the sign for "very" is quite similar to the sign equivalent of the "F" word. More than one missionary thought they were saying that they were "very, very" something or another and really were saying that they were "f*@&ing f*@*#ing" something. Poor missionaries, but unintentional swearing is almost ALWAYS funny.
--one time we thought that we had a really solid baptism. We had taught the lessons to a deaf gentleman (and it had taken him over a year to decide to get baptised). He was so happy on his baptism day, he bought us a statue of the Virgin Mary (not something that we worship in our dogma) and told us how happy he was to be a "Catholic Mormon". Something clearly hadn't quite sunk in somewhere along the way.

--the sign for "baptised" looks very similar to the sign for "bury". We usually got a quick "NO" when we asked people if they wanted to be baptised. They thought we were asking if they wanted to be buried on a certain date. Frankly, I would say no to that too. People must have thought we were c-r-a-z-y.
--On the same vein, when I lived in East London, we would knock doors and ask people if they knew anyone who was Deaf. More than once we were sent to a house where someone had recently died (and once during the actual wake!!!). Then we realized that the East London accent has folks usually drooping the "th" sound for an "f" or 'v" sound. So, they thought were asking for someone who was DEATH. Apparently in East London they don't bother much with grammar either (because that clearly makes no sense either). I am surprised we didn't get more than strange looks.

--I met my husband while we were both missionaries. We didn't date each other out there (missionaries don't date while serving..well, they aren't SUPPOSED to....). We got reacquainted when we got home, but now I have to forever tell people that is how we met and then explain that missionaries really don't date, but that we met later, etc, etc, etc.

--I still use BSL to this day (that us why at the beginning of this post I said it is ALMOST useless if you don't live in the UK). There is a family in Palo Alto that moved to the US from England and they are deaf. When I see them in Walmart (always in Walmart) they sign with me in BSL. I am getting rustier and rustier as time goes by, but if I want to brush up, I can just head for Walmart and at some point I will see them. Weird, but true.

--I never taught my kids sign. Even with all the baby sign craze ("It's Signing Time with Alex and Leah" anyone? anyone?), I just didn't do it. I guess I was too lazy. The irony? The whole family needs to learn sign now b/c we will use it with Gracie. Kids with Down Syndrome have a harder time learning to talk and often ASL is a good bridge for them. So it is a matter of getting the big kids (and husband) up to speed so we can talk with her as she learns to talk.

Writing that post got me thinking about mission stories. I have a few more I can pull out of my hat, but I am going to go clean out Lauren's room. It is time for the Last Resort again in our house...... dum, dum, dum.......

24 comments:

benevolent lurker said...

What a sweet post!

One little thing about Mary, though: it sounded a little like you had the impression that Catholics worship Mary (it's OK; a lot of people think this).

We don't worship Mary, but we venerate (honor) her. We honor her as an exceptional woman chosen by God to serve an amazing purpose.

(Considering all the misperceptions of LDS faith, I guess Catholics should feel lucky this is really the only one we have to explain frequently!)

Betina said...

WOW. Bek. You are my kindred spirit. I didn't know you were all about Deaf culture. I learned ASL at BYU and participated a lot in the Deaf Branch there. I lived at the ASL house in the "Language Housing" before my mission, and though I served Spanish Speaking in DC I did get the chance to teach in ALS a few times. After I was married I worked for several years with New MExico School for the Deaf in their 0-3 home intervention programs. ANYWAY. All that history to say that now you are one of the top 3 in my list of cool people I've met online.

Like you, however, my skills are diminishing. Sigh.

benevolent lurker said...

Hi, me again. Catholic lurker. I just realized my last sentence was unclear and I want you make sure y'all know that I meant that considering all the misperceptions about the LDS faith that other people/the public at large have, Catholics are lucky we have mostly just this one thing to explain...

I just realized that my sentence could have been read to mean something about misperceptions withing the LDS faith itself. Not what I meant!

Phew. ;)

Christy said...

I served my mission in Mexico and it was a major factor in us getting to be parents to Eva. Her bmom's family grew up where I served. I know that isn't the only reason I was supposed to serve a mission--but it sure came in handy!

Bek said...

Dear Benevolent Lurker--I am so glad you clarified. I think I actually knew that but didn't choose my words carefully. I just know that you see lots of Mary icon's in MANY wonderful churches (Catholic and others) but it is something that you never SEE in our church (we feel the same way about Mary...). So, to have this confusion made me realize that this man wasn't totally clear about what we had taught him (it was still cute and he was my very, very favorite person I ever met over there and I STILL have that statue...).

We also have our fair share of misconceptions..so I know how that is. Thanks for clarifying. I hope that it wasn't offensive, it was more of a "wow, we missed the boat" funny thing. :-)

Bek said...

Betina..we are practically twins. I am also ASL certifed (I was before I left for my mission). Now I do all the ASL stuff with the early start classes with the girls.

I think of you often. For those that haven't check out Betina's blog, she is another adoptive mamma, who also has a black daughter who also found herself PREGNANT (suprise!!). :-) Her kdis are even the same order as mine (girl, boy, girl, girl...).

Syd said...

Yeah, you are in my mission stories. :) I didn't realize you served an SL mission. I took a year and a half at UVSÇ after my mission. I only used it like once out in the 'real world'. I can still pull out some rusty Russian though...and I didn't teach my kids any russian either...but we do watch Alex and Leah..In Russian the word for Tasty and Boring are really close, so new missionaries would say dinner was boring after a good mean. Hee Hee. Do you like my run on, changing subject comment...I am exhausted...gotta go to bed...

Lisa said...

I just discovered you on light refreshments served. You are a fabulous find!! You are a wonderful story teller and I have already lost track of time reading some of your older posts. I gave birth to 4 kids and then when my brother had to give up his parental rights we were able to adopt his daughter. Thanx for sharing your stories--I will be lurking--
Oh and--I have never served a mission and I don't even know how to sign my name--but I LOVED your stories!

Lisa said...

This is why you should always proofread before posting--I Do know how to sign my name--like on a check or something--I am not illiterate--just an idiot--I DO NOT know how to do my name in sign language--

Ana said...

Great stories!

And if my husband gets the postdoc he applied for in London I am going to be counting on you to give me the lowdown and tell me how to live there when you are dirt poor (something I am pretty sure is par for the course for missionaries everywhere)!

Bek said...

Welcome Lisa...

Ana, not only have I lived there poor, so had my husband, our sweet friends the Tabers (they aren't poor...just hav a young family)..and our favorite Manny who married sweet Kimber and took her to London. My sister and her Australian husband are over there living too.. LOTS of advice.

Then I will move in because I want to go back there so badly. Lisa (from LRS and OH Judy) Lived over there one year while her husband was finishing school.... so we have you covered. Come to SF instead... PLEASE???

acte gratuit said...

I have a friend who just had a baby with Down's a few weeks ago. I'm going to refer her to your blog!

compulsive writer said...

Oh my. I don't usually find the F-word funny, but that is very funny!

(speaking of missions--Luke is in Shrewsbury. And he loves those English chips!)

Leisha said...

Speaking of strange looks, I'm suiting in the waiting room at the Dr. snorting & chuckling to myself. Thanks a lot. This post was priceless, I even did a British accent in my head to sound out what you were talking about "Dere's been a deaf in the family.,.". So funny!

Michelle said...

Loved this! I'm still waiting to hear your opinion on Sarah Palin (and everything else in the world). xoxo, m

Emily S. said...

Loved your post! I think that is so cool you know how to sign. Something I have always wanted to know how to do but probably never will. Headed over to read your guest post...

oodlesofoversons said...

Thanks for these stories...awesome! And now Darrin is dying to know who the elder is you married and I CANNOT for the life of me remember what your married name is...Can't seem to think of anything else but RJK! When Drew was doing the Early Childhood stuff I was really wishing I signed...

Amber said...

Had to come by and tell you what a great job you did with your post. Talk about fascinating and what an incredible opportunity you had!

dresselfamily.blogspot.com said...

wow, i miss it some times. I actually just signed a song for an activity in primary, i was choking back the tears. It seems like it was yesteday,and then in another way a million life times ago.

jmasay said...

Bek, I found your blog through Nellie's and I'm so glad. Your family looks wonderful. And I had forgotten that you had served in the UK with BSL. We lived in Canterbury, England before we moving to Palo Alto, and there was a deaf woman in our ward who, along with one of the elders, would teach BSL on weeknights. No kidding about it being quite different from ASL. But, I often felt that some BSL was more intuitive than ASL. Of course, the only thing I can remember now it how to sign "I Am a Child of God" : ) Hope all is well.

Suzie Petunia said...

I want to hear mission stories that involve Sister Oscarson. Any good ones? :)

Melissa said...

ya know, i still don't see that bake potato soup recipe posted anywhere. please post. i don't think i can go through an autumn without some yummy soup.

and, i remember you and derek "dating" long distance once he got home from his mission. laura little and i were quite impressed. aren't you so glad those days are over? I AM!!!

JILL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

Sister Kinsel,

WOW! Long time no hear...you never call, never write...I thought we were chums, just kidding! This is Scott Harrop. How the heck are you?

Don't ask me how I found you-long story. Sorry to post this on your blog. Didn't know how else to find you. Anyway, drop me a line if you can. I'm on facebook.