Sunday, 18 October 2009

Day 37/99: Phones and deafness

So, I finally bit the bullet, braved the hour-long round trip to RadioShack and bought a US cellphone (I've adapted and instinctively say "cellphone" rather than "mobile phone", but I can still absentmindedly refer to it as a "mobile", and can't bring myself to say "cell"). It's quite nice - a fliptop phone, cost me $20, plus another $30 for 120 minutes of airtime (plus sales tax, naturally), so less than £34 in real money. It also lets me play sudoku on it. It'll be useful when Steve's here, and moreso in Washington DC.

On which note, I've now been to two of the pre-trip activities for my Deaf Education in Washington DC trip. I know the American Sign Language fingerspelling alphabet (radically different from British Sign Language), we all watched a documentary on deaf culture and cochlear implants (a lot of deaf people, especially the older generation, are violently opposed to them, because they don't view deafness as a disability - one grandmother described her deaf grandchild as having been "blessed by God" - and feel that 'treating' it destroys their culture and their language. The other side of the argument is people who claim that for a parent not to try and cure a child's deafness is abusive, and that they're being selfish rather than wanting the best for the child - it leads to social difficulties, some Deaf schools are appaling, and even the deaf-culture enthusiasts admit that it limits their job opportunities.), and a teacher at a local deaf school taught us some basic ASL words, so I can now make small talk with deaf people.

Interestingly, one of the other trip members (there are 13 of us, but no more than 7 ever seem to show up at once) is from Burma, and since that's a former British colony (I didn't know that - it's great when other people tell you "you used to rule us", and remind you where their country is) everyone's really into football and he was wearing an England shirt and jacket. It's a nice touch of home.

I'm also a Daily Princetonian columnist now! I wrote a guest op-ed opposing the proposed new Center for Abstinence and Chastity here, and it was so well-received that they've invited me to join their columnist team, even though applications closed a fortnight ago. If I write another good column next week (they have a team of columnists, so it's a fortnightly thing) they'll confirm me and I can put it on my CV. I'm quite tempted to offer to write for the OxStu or the Cherwell when I'm back...

Steve's just got here, and is reading my article and criticising my American spelling and tendency to say "elevator". Oh well...

1 comment:

  1. You've started to say "elevator"? Oh dear. Remind me to train that out of you when you get back. ;)