Today, I am volunteering again with the “Get Artsy with Multi Cultural Kids” program under the auspices of “Hands On Greater Portland” volunteer organization. They, Hands On, offer long term as well as one time volunteer opportunities. Last week, I waltzed in to the Get Artsy program for the first time. This week, I am leading the activity. With my background in Special Ed and All Things Children and Crafts (my title, not an official group), this is a perfect match. Hope everyone today has fun. I am excited!!!!
I had the good fortune today of volunteering to do crafts projects with the children of refugee families. Anyone who knows me, knows I am very outgoing and will chat it up with anyone. (Can you already smell the faux pas on the horizon?).
Amongst those of us who were volunteering was a class of adult English language learners. I have always dreamed of being a TESOL teacher because 1) my parents are non native English speakers 2) I have flubbed *mightily* in other languages and 3) I really like to encourage people.
So I took under my wing, so to speak, the gal who could barely speak more than 10 English words. All the other volunteers – some native speakers, a few that were not – spread out amongst the various tables. As we waited for the kids to arrive and for our crafts projects to begin, I really wanted to make a connection with the gal who was so clearly terrified.
Geez, where was all that French I had had in HS? I couldn’t fall back on ASL or gesturing. German didn’t work. “La vasche qui rit” was right out. So somewhere along the line, I wanted to let her know that I’m a first generation American, and I understand going between cultures and languages etc. “Mon mere et mon pere…English…gesture the number 2…language”. Deer in the headlight. Probably thinking, “Why are you flashing a peace sign at me and why is your mom of the masculine persuasion?”, which didn’t dawn on me till later.
Fast forward to the group gathered at our table – terrified French volunteer gal; young boy whom I asked if he preferred to talk or liked quiet, since I was babbling away, stated that he liked quiet; a local native speaker volunteer who was trying all his slaughtered French phrases and trying to discuss theatre and playwrights with terrified French gal; chatty and sweet boy of local origins and THEN – a young boy, of African or Caribbean descent – who joined us. Whom I was told did not speak English. Whom I was told was visiting for the summer and didn’t live in the community like the rest of these kids.
I gestured to him and assisted him with his project. And then it dawned on me – wait – maybe he is from a location where they speak French. I already connected the volunteer at my table with the group leader of this whole shindig who just happened to be from Switzerland. They had a nice chat in French and I was quit happy to not understand a thing – or very little. So I said, “Français?” to the volunteer and the boy who spoke no English to see if they could connect. No good. It just didn’t work. Figured he was just shy.
BUT THEN, after about 10 minutes of trying to make connections amongst my fellow crafters – the little guy responded to some input. He had said things earlier but so quietly I didn’t catch it. WAIT – what? You speak English while I’m gesturing and getting French gal to chat it up with you? Consider me punked :) His English was just fine.
Today’s volunteer gig was SO much fun, even if it did stretch all my resourcefulness on trying to communicate amongst various people of such diverse backgrounds. Once a terp mindset, always a terp mindset. And I don’t mind being silly or creative – and failing miserably in the process – in building bridges. In the end, creating a project together and wanting to spend time together requires no language other than a heart connection. And THAT we did. Viva La Fun!
What do you call a post that has several latest happenings but no really good title? Just throw everything into the stew!
This lovely panoramic shot of Hawaii Island, from our stay there last week, is from Pete, master photographer! It was gray and rainy the whole time except for this particular day in the picture and the day we left, of course :) But it was all fabulous. It’s Hawaii; how could it not be?
My introduction to glass blowing. Absolutely, totally, tears in my eyes from bliss, loved it. It’s a new calling. More photos on my Crafts Blog HERE
Last but not least, I sold my first EVER blanket today from my soon to be opened Etsy shop. Again, more photos and such on my Crafts Blog HERE
I have slogged through the deepest valley. I have ascended the highest peak with my bare fingers. My life has flashed before mine eyes.
Oh wait – it was just the 10 day yoga challenge (completed in 13 days, at that) – but truly, it felt that challenging most of the time. But I did not give up and neither have my fellow yogi classmates. We rock. And to think that 4 years ago, I could barely walk around the block after 2 spinal surgeries, 6 weeks apart. HOORAH.
You know you’ve been sweating a lot when your clothes, towel and wash cloth are completely drenched and there’s nothing left with which to wipe your face. Perhaps a neighbor’s towel? “Mind if I wipe through?”
Here’s my reward, even though I don’t like chocolate all that much. And three days of Bluegrass Bliss are now on tap, together with the KAH (kick ass husband) who has been out of the country for 10 days.
The 3 things that don’t normally bother me about the yoga studio – heat, humidity, and smell – hit me like a tidal wave tonight. Considering I have very little to no sense of smell, that’s saying something. But when there are only 15 minutes between the last 2 classes, and the ocean of humanity undulates towards me, I just go with it. Or at least try :)
Tonight’s gems – 1) practicing with different teachers brings about new info and insights.
2) Afternoon extreme fatigue + chocolate covered espresso beans by the handful = let’s not puke in class, ok?
A most beautiful tribute to folks with ALS at the finish line of the Hawaii Ironman, first presented by a competitor who had ALS but did not survive until the following year, was to lie down right before the finish line and continuously roll over sideways until it had been crossed. Since tomorrow is my 10th day of the 10 day challenge – I will be rolling to the finish, UH HUH!! I had not practiced for months before this challenge and then suddenly started going almost everyday. Do I hear the sound of champagne corks tomorrow night at 8:00:00pm???
Hoo boy – day 8 just about kicked my rumpus. I guess every fourth day is hard. I have now so successfully moved around the studio that the teacher even exclaimed, at the beginning of class, “Wow, you’re way over there” – something to that effect. Yep, I was in a fall into the window, watch the cars go by kind of place.
Still no word from either of my buddies, but hey – it’s day 8 of a 10 day challenge. They still have plenty of time, right? :) At least an awesome teacher is now my buddy-in-law. How cool is that?
Day 8 is done. And it’s fun to track all this on the fitbit. Heart rate usually peaks at 140. Energy peaks about 10 minutes before class :)
Get your rumpus to the yoga studio, MD. Yes, there are 100 different things you could do. But just do it. Don’t argue. You’ll thank me later.
I hate when I lose arguments with my wisdom self :)