This morning (it’s Sunday here), we went to a church that has a Deaf ministry. Because American Sign Language (ASL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan) are each languages completely different from English and from each other, it was a bit of a challenge to communicate with the Deaf at that church. However, I learned the Auslan manual alphabet and a few signs before I came, and many of them knew a little of ASL fingerspelling, so we managed to communicate with only a little trouble. Australian and American Deaf culture seems very similar--I felt very comfortable chatting with them.
Those who don’t have an interest in signing, pardon me while I ramble for a minute--feel free to skip over the next two paragraphs. ;-)
I find the two-handed Auslan manual alphabet quite awkward, but I learned it pretty quickly. Of course, being able to do the alphabet in order and actually using it to spell or read a word are totally different things, but I actually did okay. Just a few of ASL and Auslan signs are the same, and quite a few are the same or similar sign but completely different meanings (which can be a bit confusing).
The two interpreters at the church were volunteer interpreters who didn’t have interpreting training. They did a lovely job. I found it interesting, but not surprising, that it seemed they were using the equivalent phenomenon to a mix of what we call Pidgin Sign Language and Signed Exact English-- which is ASL (or in this case Auslan) signs being used in an English grammatical structure. It’s a common contact language used by hearing or non-native signers who are not yet fluent in ASL.
The church was having a special celebration this morning--it was the twentieth anniversary of an American couple’s Aussie ministry in that church. At one point they set off a huge explosion of streamers. There was a Deaf and Blind lady who has a dog guide, and they actually had to take them out of the sanctuary before they could set off the streamers. I guess legally there can’t be any animals nearby when they set it off.
The guest speaker was from Scotland and he had a wonderful very strong accent. His sermon was on how all Christians are champions and we must never give up. We can’t be “to’l plonkers”, that is, losers, hehe.
After church we picked up Chrissy and went to the outdoors Heritage Market and wondered around the shops of homemade products and little knickknacks. This lovely water wheel is there, so we paused for a pic by it.
There is an Asian Noodle shop in the market that serves gluten free noodle dishes (Chrissy is a celiac). It was delicious! I got a egg noodles with chicken and vegetables, with a light hint of peanut sauce and coconut milk. The servings were huge and I barely made a dent in mine. Will have plenty leftover for lunch tomorrow! Norm was a “guts” and ate all his. ;-)
There were a number of musicians scattered around, and we stopped to watch and chat with an Aborigine, playing a didgeridoo. It makes a fascinating sound! A didgeridoo is the long wooden pipe with a bulb shape at the end, like you can see in the photo. The musician actually can breath in through his nose at the same time as he’s blowing on the didgeridoo, meaning he can play an unbroken stream of music.
The name of the instrument is an onomatopoeia. The traditional song played by has a melody that sounds like “didgeridoo.” He did all sorts of sounds with it, even telling stories with sound effects. He would tell us what the story was about, and then use hand motions with one hand while he played a melody with sound effects like a truck rumbling by, a horn, police siren, or animal sounds.
But best of all, lol, we found a lolly shop. Those who know me, tease me about how much candy I eat, so I had to get a pic in front of it. (I eat so much candy is that it’s one snack I can have without it making me sick--that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! LOL!)
After we got home, Chrissy had a rest as she was quite worn out from walking, and was hurting a lot. Tomorrow we’re renting a wheelchair for a few months, so that will make going out easier on her. While she was resting, Norm took me for a short driving lesson so I could get used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It actually wasn’t too hard, and I adjusted quickly. Chrissy has a small car, so that helped. Now I’ll be able to take us places if we need to go out while Norm is out of town or at work.
Here’s a link to a few more pictures: