I went to the Starbucks on Friday 3/6/2020 from 5 pm – 7 pm. I got there early because I was nervous and wanted to make sure I got the address correct. Everyone working there knew all the deaf people who come in. They do this deaf night on the first Friday of every month. I was so nervous because I don’t feel entirely comfortable signing to other people. I was so worried about doing the wrong sign and not properly putting it into ASL format. I was the only new face there. Everyone was super helpful and very understanding. I wrote down and showed them that I’m studying ASL at the college with Kellie-Marie. They got very excited that I was learning it, and I wanted to know more. I feel if I can attend these deaf events, meet people, and make friends, I can learn better at doing ASL and it’s format. There were a couple of people who are hearing there whose relatives are deaf, and one is also learning to be an interpreter. The other is an interpreter. She was delighted that I was there and that I wanted to be more a part of deaf culture. She said, “not enough people spend enough time around the deaf, so they don’t end up learning ASL to it’s fullest.” I have to agree with her on that. I think that’s what’s been my problem, and I haven’t emerged myself into the deaf culture to thoroughly learn it. I’ve only been learning the surface of it without taking the initiative to learn more. I find the culture and language to be beautiful, and I want to be able to talk to everyone hearing and not. I’m learning to be a library Technician, and I want to be that person who makes everyone feel included.
While there, I saw several signs I recognized. I found it interesting that when at school, I struggle with reading fingerspelling, but while I was there, I was able to pick up on it. I think in class, I’m overthinking it, and while I was at Starbucks, I just let it be and tried to relax. I found most conversations were about politics. I honestly don’t know much about politics since I don’t follow them. I should follow them a little so that I can have something more to talk about. The translator said everyone’s been anxious about coronavirus going around.
Along with the inclusion of the deaf in every society. There were two people there that work at the Spokane valley office that are advocates for the deaf. She said that their main office is in Vancouver, WA and that they have an office in the Valley over here. Everyone showed me their name sign, which I thought was terrific. They showed me the sign for coffee since we were at a coffee shop. I recognized the sign for live/life and the sign for death, paper, pen, food, drink milk, change, transition, and a few other signs I can’t think of. One person asked me if my eyes were getting tired of all the watching. I said I’m usually a very quiet person who watches what is going on around them. So, my eyes weren’t too bad. But I was touched at his and everyone’s kindness. They were so welcoming and kept telling me not to be nervous. I think another reason I was nervous is that I don’t know how to bring up conversations and keep them going. I’m not good at small talk, and I, in general, struggle with communicating. I’m going to keep going to the deaf events that are open for the hearing. I want to make friends and meet new people.