14 March 2010, Sunday

We began our day by waiting for Jeremy, our taxi driver. This is a bit awkward for I do not speak Spanish and Jeremy does not speak English. But, we had directions to the church and Jeremy delivered us in plenty of time. Since we arrived early enough, we took a quick walk down the block to a large store … similar to a Super Walmart. Fortunately we remembered we had to get balloons for our lessons this week and we were able to find some.

Pastor Hector

Then, we returned to the church in time for people to gather for service. Hector knew an American was coming but he was not sure who Mark was … lol. When Hector and Belkis made eye contact with us, the smile on their faces was huge .. feels like meeting a long friend. We immediately began joking with each other just as we did when we met two years ago. It was nice to be in church but Hector did not preach this day, he had George, an immigrant from Russia, as his preacher this day. George preached about the Saul and David.

After church, we treated Hector, Belkis, George, his wife, and their two children to lunch. We had a great time just catching up in news. We went to some

Watching the boat on the lagoon

Cuban restaurant and the food was not too bad. Next, Hector took us for a ride around town showing some of the sites of the city, including a local attraction of caves. This was an interesting adventure despite the humidity we were feeling. At one point, you come to a boat which you have to ride across the underground lagoon. The boat is powered by a rope where two crew members pull on the rope to propel the boat across the water. Once on the other side, you have to return across the lagoon again in order to exit the cave park. Then, Hector dropped us off at the hotel as we needed to do last minute plans for the week.

We took a stroll to the local diner for a quick dinner and discussed our plans for the week. We had an interesting discussion regarding our experiences in the last 48 hours, well. There is a sense of being in a different country and a different culture. There are moments of uneasiness, moments of thinking ‘what are we here for’, and moments of enjoyment for meeting Deaf individuals and learning about the culture here. For the most part, we are finding the community to be very friendly and willing to engage us in conversation. We have learned some new signs and have laughed at some of our attempts of what we thought the signs meant only to understand that the signs we thought we understood were completely off-based. The learning process is a wonderful opportunity to reflect and build upon what we already know, further supporting Piaget’s concepts of assimilate and accommodate.

One of the funny signs we learned was “free”. This sign was being used constantly yesterday and a bit today. We had no clue what the signed meant and we could not figure it out in context. Today, Hector used the sign and we all jumped at him and asked .. ‘what is that sign’. Well, it means ‘free’. We were surprised for the conversation we were following yesterday did not seem to make sense with this sign in the conversation. If you know how to sign ‘cochlear implant’ with the crooked two sign, tap the side of your cheek once with one hand, and you have the concept of something being free.

The other sign we laughed at ourselves about was the sign for ‘wife’. Remember we met the Deaf Barber yesterday, who we now know has a name “Randy”. He kept telling us yesterday that we needed to meet his wife. Well, we mistook the sign for his wife’s name, Mare, to be the sign for wife. We felt pretty dumb when we realized that Mare was Mare’s sign name and not the sign for wife. DUH! Oh, well, some things are just harder to grasp at a times but we are able to laugh at ourselves and move forward.

We are all anxious about tomorrow and what the first day of teaching will bring!

Mark

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