A little while ago I mentioned that I'd got my groove on in front of a bunch of people I barely knew and danced like Mr Bean. As life would have it I have left you all hanging on the edges of your seat as to why I would do that. The short answer is: Auslan. Au(stralian) S(ign) Lan(guage).
For quite a few years we have both been in love with this beautiful language and the amazing subculture of the deaf community. Back in Adelaide we had discussed a number of times the thought of studying Auslan to enrich our own lives, communicate with the deaf people we come across and to eventually provide a service to the deaf church that exists in Adelaide. But the timing was never quite right.
Then our godson came into the world with about 10% hearing. He has a Cochlear Implant now and as he develops he will hear more and comprehend better but in teaching him his family and carers are using sign language as well as sounds and pictures. We will be ready to talk with him and sign with him - whatever he needs. When he's ready, we'll be ready too.
We have so many reasons to learn this language and we know that time is not found it is made so this year we signed ourselves up for the first module at Tafe. We have spent the last 8 Thursdays nights making fools of ourselves acting and miming the craziest things, learning so many new words/signs I can't sleep after class for the whirlwind my brain is in, laughing like mad people at learning 'the naughty signs', learning to freely express emotion with face and body, being moved by stories of what is like to be deaf in a hearing world, having 'no spoken english' classes and
loving, loving, loving it so much!
Yes, it's hard. And going to the Deaf Dinners with actual deaf people is completely nerve wracking but our teacher (who is deaf, with hearing aids so she can hear a tiny bit, and speaks because she spent years in speech therapy) is amazing. She is so patient, encouraging and good at teaching us. She has a wicked sense of humour too which helps keep class fun! And our classmates are fabulously entertaining
and great to learn with.
Even aside from learning the actual language the whole thing is a blast and I feel so privileged to be able to do this. The challenge and the push it is giving me is so rewarding. The skill I am learning far exceed the language and the language is so much more than I imagined it would be.
I love it!
And it's also pretty cool that Joel and I have an almost secret language to communicate with!
The very gorgeous Johan, our Godson, at a cafe in Adelaide in January 2011.