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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Movin' and Shakin', From Hand to Toe

Thursday, I was off to a bad start. My stomach was hurting a little bit, the electrician showed up late, I may or may not have been tired from partying hardy at karaoke the night before, and I ended up waiting for 45 minutes for a darn colectivo to take me to the university. I was getting antsy, frustrated, and I could feel my blood pressure rising to uncomfortable levels. I finally got to my class (45 minutes late, right about the time they were wrapping up), only to find another teacher in the classroom. All that, and the class's normal teacher didn't even show up. Well, lesson learned: in Argentina, American big deals are not big deals. I should learn to calm down...

The upside of me actually making an effort to get to class was that a few of my students invited me to go out that evening to a fiesta de ingreso (welcome party) that some organization at the university was hosting. Around midnight (because that's when you start getting ready to think about going out in Argentina), they came and picked me up, and we went to a vecinal, which seems to be like a community club...or something along those lines. The dance was a good time in general, but I felt like an old man for getting tired around 3 AM. Man...I don't understand how Argentines dance all night like that. 

Additional Commentary: the DJ played a disgustingly-high amount of Black Eyed Peas, and there was a stretch where cuarteto, one of Córdoba's traditional dances, was played almost non-stop. I need to learn to dance cuarteto, and to convince myself that it doesn't all sound the same.

So, the night was good, and all was beautiful. I woke up early the next morning to head over to my referente's house to do laundry. She was nice and made me a delicious lunch as well (chicken, shredded carrots, red onions, and laurel in some kind of delicious sauce). Then, I headed to the university on my free day for my first day of lengua de señas argentina (Argentine Sign Language).

watch this; it's fun (watch it on YouTube for
annotations which explain what I'm doing)

Some of you might hold the notion that sign language is sign language, and that there's only one type. WRONG. Around the world, there are well over one hundred different signed languages, some of which having their own dialects (just like spoken language). I'm learning Argentine Sign Language because I've always wanted to try learning a signed language, and these classes are free!

I got to the classroom a few minutes early and no one was there. I waited for around ten minutes, and girl showed up. After twenty minutes or so, another girl showed up. The total number of people in my class was four. Four. 

The class was wonderful. We learned the alphabet really quickly, and then learned some basic introductions. The class, part of the profesorado en educación especial, is geared toward future special education teachers, so we did focus a little on Deaf culture and why it's important to be able to teach to non-hearing students. I thought this might slow us down, but the small class size really kept things moving. The instructor, Sandra Amor, made us act out little scenarios to get us comfortable with being expressive (I'm not a good actor, but I'll work on it in the name of signed languages and linguistic hotness). Long story short, I love LSA, and I don't even care that this takes away my 3-day weekends.

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