American Sign Language
Love it and miss it. I'd always been interested in signing. As a child, I tried to teach myself from books, but I just don't learn that way. Especially when movement's involved. I really need to be *shown* to grasp something. I was able to teach myself the alphabet, and that's about it.
Then my Junior (I think?) year of high school, I had a schedule mix-up and learned about a new sign language class that hadn't even been advertised. There was a new deaf boy at school, and his interpreter agreed to teach one ASL class a day. I signed up, as it fixed my schedule conundrum perfectly – and I was stoked to finally have found a teacher. (Local classes at the time were expensive). Me and the deaf kid, David, ended up becoming best of friends (for a dozen years, actually), I picked up signing super-fast and even surpassed the class from hanging out daily with David, and the teacher encouraged me to consider interpreting as a career (after I signed the Grateful Dead song 'Ripple' for our big project). That's what I went to college for, for one whole year. David and I also worked together after I came back from college, and I often acted as an interpreter for him.
I have lost my skill since David moved away. For a while I was working with Deaf developmentally disabled folks, but they really signed on a child's level and it didn't keep up my skill. When I encounter Deaf people, I'm fluent enough to hold a conversation. I get lost easily now, though. It's funny, because it's kind of like different accents. The words are (usually) the same – different regions have different signs sometimes, especially slang – but each signer has their own way of moving, and now I have to ask them to go slower so I can follow along. I got so used to signing quickly with only one person, I had that problem even when I was still seeing David every week.
David, however, mostly used SEE, or Signed Exact English. He was physically deaf, but he was raised in a hearing family and so he was not culturally Deaf. There's actually a big difference, but that's not the subject I was asked to expand on. The point is, David signed mostly SEE, and ASL is different. American Sign Language is more like Spanish, really, as far as word order and stuff goes. ASL drops words like 'is', 'the', 'and', putting '-ing' and '-ed' on the ends of words, that kind of thing. It's like writing, really – show, don't tell. Ha ha. Not exactly, but hard to get across my meaning if I can't show you the difference. For instance, someone signing SEE would say each word in this sentence: The airplane is crash-ing. Someone signing the same thing in ASL would make the sign for Airplane and show it crashing into their other hand. Technically it would be “Airplane crash.” ASL has it's own syntax, which I always had trouble with. Verbs and subjects switching around and stuff. I tend to do ASL signs in English word order, if that makes sense. My classes were all ASL classes, but I was immersed in more SEE when I chatted with David (although we were definitely not purists. No need to sign/spell 'the', 'as', 'it', etc. Mostly just English word order). What I do would actually be considered Pidgin. I can still hold my own with any English-speaking D/deaf person though, as long as we go slow.
For those who didn't know, each country has their own sign language. I believe the US and Canada both use ASL, which, rather than being closer to British Sign Language like our verbal language is, has actually evolved from French Sign Language. There was an attempt to make a Universal Sign Language, but nobody really knows it, that I know of. Another neat little fact about sign language – long ago (don't remember when – that year of college was so long ago, lol) Martha's Vineyard actually had the first sign language in our country. Apparently there were many deaf people born there back before travel to the mainland became common place, and the entire island was bilingual with their own sign language. This wasn't common knowledge, though, and when someone decided to finally start a school for the Deaf, it was France they turned to. Someone there was already having good success proving that Deaf people were not, in fact, deaf and dumb, and that is why our sign language was born from French sign language.
Wow, that was really longer than I meant it to be. I might not have gone into the whole grammar & ASL/SEE/British/French thing if anyone other than kali_kali had asked. :D
For a while there, I was really interested in the SCA. I very much wanted to get involved. We apparently live in the Barony of Hawkwood. Josh and I attended a couple local meetings, started reading and planning our personas...and then life hit. We haven't really done anything with it in at least a year, and I honestly doubt I'll get back to it any time soon, what with everything that's been going on. Maybe I should update my interest list.
Shams of Tabriz
Oh, what I wouldn't give to find my Shams! What would I give, you ask? Why, my head, of course!
The minute I heard their love story I started looking for him, even knowing how blind that was: Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.
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I have long been a fan of Rumi's ecstatic poetry. They spoke to me of love when my soul needed reminding. It was years before I learned Rumi's whole story, and learned that Shams y Tabrizi was the Beloved for whom Rumi wrote his verses.
Rumi was a sheik in 13th-century Persia. He was a respected spiritual leader who inherited his position from his father, but even at a young age he stood out and surpassed him. Shams was a wandering dervish who searched the Middle East for “someone who could endure my company.” A voice asked him, “What will you give in return?” and Shams immediately replied, “My head!” “The one you seek is Jelaluddin of Konya.” Jelaluddin Rumi.
Even their first meeting was ecstatic. Rumi fell to the ground in trance, and later said of Shams (and I'm paraphrasing here because I'm not online to look up the exact quote), “What I thought of before as God, I met today in the form of a man.” Their Friendship was deep and true, and they spent many long hours in sohbet – spiritual conversation.
Shams was best friend, teacher, mirror, Beloved...It's my understanding that their relationship was a deep spiritual friendship as opposed to physical, when it comes to 'Beloved'. Though who today knows? Shams changed Rumi's life and was really the catalyst for his self-actualization, though it came after Shams was long gone. Shams was the muse for what I consider to be the best written works to come out of humanity. Shams was a true friend in the very purest sense of the word.
What is it about their relationship that draws me so? I'm not sure if I can put it to words. I want a friend on such a pure spiritual level. They saw through to each other's souls, and it drew them together in celebration. The closest thing I ever had to that was my mother, and when I was losing her, I finally understood Rumi's works on the level that they had been written. It's not quite the same, as our relationship wasn't quite so pure or ecstatic! But close.
I've written on Shams quite a bit, though he sometimes gets lost next to Rumi. I finally gave him a tag of his own. If you're interested in learning more, I really suggest you check out both those tags. (They're relatively short.) They're more passionate than Romeo and Juliet, and wiser to boot.
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.
Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you've grown,
While there is significant variation in what is meant by "unschooling", generally speaking, unschoolers believe that the use of standard curricula and conventional grading methods, as well as other features of traditional schooling, are counterproductive to the goal of maximizing the education of each child. Instead, unschoolers typically allow children to learn through their natural life experiences, including game play, household responsibilities, and social interaction.
Learning through natural life experiences. This is the philosophy that Josh and I mostly adhere to. I started reading homeschooling books when I first became pregnant, and we really researched our options and, through mutual discussion, chose the route we felt best for our family. My belief is, if you make learning fun, kids will enjoy learning. School as it is today only stifles children's energy and passion.
I knew our unschooling methods would differ from the hard-core unschoolers, who don't want to push *anything* remotely school-like. I lean toward a unit study approach, which is the way I have always naturally been passionate about learning. We'll get into subjects like dinosaurs, space, pioneers, mammals, rain forests, countries, the human body...whatever the kids are interested in learning, we'll spend time researching those things and incorporating projects that include different skills.
We've started being a bit more “school like” in our methods, only because Eden really thrives on it. She prefers some sort of routine, likes doing work books, enjoys being graded and improving those 'grades'. It's more old school (har har) than I anticipated, but I still consider it unschooling. Why? Because it's child-led learning. If that's what she's into, that's what we do.
Since I was seven, I have considered myself a writer. Not always a very good one, but I tend to do it consistently in some form or another. I like words. Before I was a writer, I was a precocious talker, so I suppose it was a natural progression. I enjoy poetry, which is particularly challenging in choosing just the right word. I love a good word that just sounds nice. I tend to lean towards melodic words as opposed to choppy ones as far as favorites go, but any word that sounds neat usually makes the cut. I particularly enjoy a good play on words. I love creating new words (Rumilicious and slamdacious are the ones I liked so much that I use pretty regularly, as well as weet/weetastic, which I helped co-create. They are all just so fun to say, and capture the intended essence like no dictionary can do). With the proper choosing of one's words, and a person on the other end who really gets every nuance of what you're saying, a simple conversation can be a transcendental experience. I love words, they're great. We should maybe see other people for a little while though, looking at the length of this post.