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sign language

Gerardo Osorio

April 21, 2020

 

Quarantine boredom sparks interest in useful skills

By Gerardo Osorio

 

As our days in self-isolation progress, we are running out of things to do. I can’t hang out with my best friend, I can’t go to Walmart and walk around, and I can’t go out to eat. Obviously, I know all these precautions are with good intentions, so I don’t mind. However, I am getting a little bored. As much as I don’t really enjoy school, it is nice to be so busy that your days are planned for you. 

Personally, I had a routine locked down. School every day, speech practice Monday night, and Tuesday and Thursday mornings, musical practice every night except Wednesdays, work 5-10 on said Wednesdays, and homework until 1 am every night; and when I had time, hang out with friends. Sure, it was a little hectic, but I appreciated the routine. 

Now,, my days are basically staying in my room for 27 out of the 24 hours in a day. Just kidding, but I am here a lot. I occasionally leave to eat, use the bathroom, and sometimes work, but other than that, I don’t have much to do. 

With all that being said, I have found some interesting hobbies to take up. I started off with knitting. Yes, I am a seventeen year old guy who started knitting. No, I am not ashamed. However, I quickly got bored with that. I then moved on to painting, but after realizing I only had lime green paint, I put that idea on hold. I also read a couple books, but I also got bored.

After a couple days, I started binge watching Netflix shows. One of these shows had a deaf character, and I thought it was cool how a lot of his friends adapted to his needs by learning ASL. 

A couple years ago, I learned a couple words and the alphabet in sign language because I watched a different TV show that featured deaf characters, and I thought it was really cool. However, I never learned much more. 

After watching this new show; however, I really thought about the deaf community. As a person whose first language isn’t English, I understand what it is like to have someone know the language you feel most comfortable in. 

I remember first coming to school and feeling scared because I didn’t really understand English, but I made friends because a couple other kids spoke to me in Spanish. Now that I know English well, I try to do the same for others. 

Last year, we had a new student from Mexico, and she wasn’t saying much her first couple days. I introduced myself in Spanish and told her that if she needed help with anything, she could ask me. 

I thought of both those exchanges and  how much knowing a second language helps. For instance, at work, I can help people when they need assistance in Spanish. I continued watching the show, and I finally knew what I could keep myself busy with-learning ASL. 

ASL stands for American Sign Language, which is used in the United States and Canada. After some research online, I found free courses through Gallaudet University. 

Although it has only been a week or two since I started, I already know some very useful information. For example, I now know some components to a conversation like introducing myself, asking the state of someone’s hearing and asking other questions.

Although I don’t know anyone who is part of the deaf community, I think if I work to master ASL, it will serve me in the long run. I plan to work with people in the future, and I’m sure I am bound to run into someone who is deaf. 

I know if I were deaf, I would really appreciate it if someone made the effort to learn my language. One of the things I try to live my life by is trying to make everyone feel included, and I think this is a great start. 

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