Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Whole 'Nother Animal

I’ve just finished my first week of SLIP (Sign Language Interpreting Program) classes. The first day (Tuesday) was, of course, pretty much just orientation and telling about what we’ll be studying. There are 22 people in the class. I know about 75% of them from last year’s classes. We’ve each had the equivalent of at least two years of college sign language training, and each have passed a careful selection process. There is an age range of about 19 through 50s, and we have four guys (big number, actually). Each of us come from completely different background, from the two CODAs who grew up in a Deaf home, to those of us who have only been taking classes for a few years. This is my new family. I’ll be spending much of the next two years with them.

Wednesday we will normally only have one two and a half hour afternoon class, but yesterday we had a full day. The second-year students threw a party for us, to give us a chance to ask them any questions we might have. This group of students is making a special point to take us first-year students in under their wing. Besides just the traditional party, they are setting up a Yahoo group so we can contact them to ask for help with anything, and they’re going to set up get-togethers throughout the year.

Another tradition is for the 2nd-year group to give us a box. This is a box filled with useful little things like pain meds, hair bands, cough drops, lint remover, etc. Each year the 2nd-years give the box a “personality” and saying. Last year’s box was a hatbox with a pair of disposable underwear decorating it, and the word “DEPENDS”. The saying of that class is “it depends” (how you interpret something depends on context, ect, ect.).

This is a pic of our adorable box. Our saying comes from something one of our teachers likes to say: “Interpreting is a whole ‘nother animal!”

We have four classes this semester, and three teachers--two Deaf and one hearing. Deaf Studies explores traditions, language, and basically everything that makes up culture. (For this class we actually have two interpreters--the first day of class we students were rather surprised to discover that, since we all obviously have a pretty good grasp of the language. But the teacher explained that it’s easier to discuss things like that in our native language, and the class is about culture, not about the language, so she wants to make sure we get it all.

Our next class is Interpreting Process. This semester we are learning translation, which means that we will be doing things like changing written English into sign, or a video of sign into written English. In other words, we will be able to take time with the translation and keep going over it until we are satisfied, rather than real-time interpreting. We would use translation in our interpreting jobs for things like explaining a contract to a Deaf client.

Then we have Fingerspelling. Each week or so we have a presentation to give that must include at least ten fingerspelled words (or number sequences). We’ll be tested on our receptive skills, too. Our last class of the day (and the one we have on Wednesdays) is ASL I. We’re learning vocabulary for things like politics, science, and math. My college is unique in that their interpreting program continues to teach vocab throughout.

Today the effects of changing my sleeping schedule and the busy days caught up with my health problems. I didn’t sleep well and woke feeling very sick (not necessarily unusual). I was feeling a little better by the time school started, but that added to the smell of perfume and cigarette smoke caught up to me again by lunch time, and I got a headache. By the last 45minutes of class I was pretty much out of it. I’m gonna have to talk to the teacher about that last little bit, since I was doing good just to hold my head up, much less understand a foreign language.

Despite the knowledge that my health will be a continuing struggle during the program, I am really excited about this next two years. I’ll be working incredibly hard, and am already feeling like I’m a bit in over my head in knowledge, but this is going to be awesome. I love the language and the people, and I’m looking forward to learning about and loving interpreting.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Day with Friends and God

Well, I had my first chance to really put my driver’s license to work today, and go out with friends. A friend from school who lives several hours away was in my town today, with family events, so she invited me to tag along. Her family was so nice, and accepted me in as one of their own.

The day started at a Seventh Day Adventist church. It’s a new building, and I’ve been wanting to see inside it because it looks gorgeous and it seems like it would be a lovely place to have a wedding (no, I’m not planning a wedding! A girl can always dream though, right?).

Though I don’t agree with all of the theology of the denomination, it was a wonderful service. A men’s choir sang, accompanied by a wind instrument orchestra. The whole sanctuary trembled with the vibration of the instruments and deep voices. The most special part of the service was when my friend’s grandfather was baptized. He glowed with a beautiful peace and joy that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Right before the sermon, my friend and I left the main sanctuary and joined the Deaf section by the interpreter. It was great to get the signing practice, and to meet some new people. The sermon was good, too.

We topped the day off with lunch at a buffet place with my friend’s family (they teased that I was taking the place of her sister, who was unable to attend). I haven’t seen her all summer, so it was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her.

Interesting Week

I was sick for about ten days (nothing like getting the flu and THEN getting a bad cold), and I’m so behind in blogging that I don’t know whether to skip some things that have happened, do it all in one post, or do several posts. LOL! I guess I’ll do a couple of combined posts.

Let’s see…interesting things started happening when I nearly fainted two Saturdays ago for no apparent reason. I think it must have been the start of some odd bug, ‘cause I didn’t feel well for about a week after that. On that Tuesday, my aunt and uncle who are home on furlough from Indonesia, and their son and daughter-in-law, came to stay overnight with us. It’s always great to see them!

Wednesday morning my cousins and uncle went out in the wee hours of the morning to go fishing. Later on, Dad and I dropped Aunt off at the doctor for routine tests (Uncle met her there). Dad and I drove on and I took my driver’s license test. Now, normally I can parallel park quite well. That day…well, let’s just say it took me about a half an hour to get out of the stupid parking space and the tester was struggling to keep from laughing. However, I did pass--just barely.

While we were out I tagged along with my dad and brother-in-law as they had their monthly lunch meeting. Then we got a call that something had happened during my uncle’s heart stress test (treadmill test), and they had taken him by ambulance to the hospital. Yikes!

They did tests and decided that his arteries and all were fine, they just needed to adjust some of his medication. Thank you, Lord. He had to stay in the hospital overnight, so we got to enjoy my aunt and cousins’ company for a bit longer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday Memories: Five Years Ago

Five years. Five long years. Five oh so short years.
Is America stronger? Has she stayed close to the God she turned to in the midst of her trouble? Only God knows.


Shock flows over me
Like a river
Numbing me with cold
With disbelief

Tears flow out of me
Like a river
Hurting me with loss
With pain

Fear flows over me
Like a river
Paralyzing me with terror
With unknowns

Anger flows through me
Like a river
Burning me with horror
With hatred

Resolve wells up in me
Like a river
Strengthening me with power
With honor

Hope flows under me
Like a river
Buoying me with faith
With calm

Love flows over me
Like a river
Comforting me with friendship
With care

Peace flows over me
Like a river
Assuring me with belief
With prayer

© 2006 Amy Michelle Wiley

It was a normal school morning. I rose around 7:15 AM, Pacific time. On the way to the bathroom, I heard a man's voice downstairs. I assumed it was my sister listening to cassette tapes for her correspondence history college class. I don't recall why I went downstairs instead of climbing straight into the shower. Perhaps to say "good morning".

The TV was on, an almost unheard of occurrence in the mornings at our house. Little did I know that for the next few days it would be on almost unceasingly.

Sis glanced at me. "Three planes just crashed into buildings."

I joined her on the couch. "It's nearing the End Times. A lot of things are going to be happening." Yet I still thought they were accidents.

"It was done on purpose. These were terrorist attacks."

There it was on the screen before us--the Twin Towers with smoke and fire billowing from gaping holes in their sides. I began to get the tiniest glimpse of what this day was. Before that day I was only vaguely knew what the World Trade Towers even were. My education of them began.

The news switched back and forth between the Pentagon and the towers. And then it happened. The first tower fell. I watched it. Live. Right before me.

I said a prayer for all those I saw die. But I wish I had understood. I wish I had prayed harder. I wish I had grasped how many souls were perishing right before my eyes.

The next hours, the next days, were numb. They were filled with horror and heartache. But they were also filled with faith and heroism. One memory that stands out, is how touched I was when the Queen of England asked for our national anthem to be played at the changing of the guard, in a sign of support. Another is fromweree day we wre asked to take a minute of silence or prayer. How touching, strengthening, it was to see cars stopped on the side of the road to honor those who were lost and hurting that day.

On September 12, 2001, I wrote this in my diary:

This is war. Evil has come--murdered hundreds of innocent victims. They have won this battle, but we must win the war.

I knew war would probably come in my lifetime. But I didn't think it would come today. I've always wondered when war came if I would be able to stand behind my country, knowing we were right in fighting. But now I have no doubt--today I have looked evil in the eye and stood firm.

America, lead on. We, the people, are standing firm, ready to fight. For we are One Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A hair off on the eyes.

As many of you know, I’m in my mid-twenties and I don’t have my driver’s license. This is because of numerous reasons, but primarily because I often feel too sick to drive, and because it’s more fun to write than it is to go driving. ;-)

This morning I went in to take the written test. Washington State’s driving test is one of the hardest in the US. They have questions like what the exact about of the fee for parking in a disabled spot without a permit ($250), and how many feet you should follow behind a school bus. I’m bad at remembering numbers.

However, I passed just fine!

The funny part came when I looked in the little black box for my vision test. There were four rows of a line of three rectangles, each containing a sequence of letters. The first row was blank. She asked me to read line 2. I read her all the letters in the second and third rows.

She told me there was another line. I looked. Nope. No more letters in line 2. We discoursed rather confusedly back and forth, her telling me to try moving my head around, etc. Finally she realized what I was saying, “The first row is blank.”

Quite firmly, “No. It’s not blank.”

We look at each other for a minute. Then a light seems to dawn on her. “Do you have vision problems with your left eye?”

Duh. “Oh. Yeah. I’m 20/400 in my left eye, and 20/20 in my right eye.” I hurry to add, “But my vision with both eyes is 20/20.” I grimace, “Will I have to get a contact before I can get my license?” I hate contacts.

She kinda grins. “No, it’s okay. You just need to tell me if you are blind in one eye.”

So, after the test, Dad and I decide to each get our hair cut. Dad took me to the place he goes to get his hair cut. (clue #1) He said they were really cheap. (clue #2) My hair cutter (salonist? Hair dresser?) couldn’t speak English well. (clue #3) I asked her to cut my hair straight across--she turned it up in the front. (clue #4) I had also asked her to give me a slight fringe of bangs. She forgot. (clue #5)

Now, after all that, one would think I would decide to get bangs somewhere more trusted, next time I got my hair cut. Right?

You would think.

She seems to have cut a random triangle of bangs in the middle of my head. No, I take that back. It’s not in the middle. It’s sort of off to the right side. After she was done, I tried to pull back part of my hair as I normally do, and it was blatantly clear that Something Was Wrong.

I showed her, and she took me back and cut a bit more of the other side. Now there were two triangles. Kind of. It was clear that she wasn’t going to fix my hair. I left. I didn’t tip her.

Uff da.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

more Zoo pics

Zoo Girls

Seven of us girls went to the Oregon Zoo yesterday. It was fun! I went with my oldest sister AJ, her three girls (ages 5, 4, and 1), and my friend Beth and her almost one-year-old. My nieces were so excited that Aunt Amy was coming to the zoo with them.

It was great to see Beth. She and I were nearly inseparable during our years of homsechool Christian choir, but we haven't seen each other as much as we would like since then.

Here's a bunch of pics! Some of them turned out really great.

<<"Hi little girl!"

Hehe, the gazelles come up almost all the way to the giraffe's ankels!

I posted this picture on another site and said it was me and my friends, Jezzy and Debbie (hey, we are a bit fruity and a bit batty--fruit bats seemed perfect! :-D Besides, they are cute.)

This Lorikeet posed for all of us to get pictures taken by him. So pretty!

Friday, September 01, 2006


I've been trying to make an audio post all day, and it seems to be going through fine on the phone end, but it won't show up on my blog. So I thought I'd try a post and see if it works on the text end.

Hopefully it's a temporary problem... I tried emailing audioBlogger, too, and the email bounced.