How I Became Involved with ASL and Other Random Facts

When I was in about second or third grade, our class had two different guest presenters on languages. One was a young girl and her mother who spoke about Chinese, and showed us a few different easy, small characters translated from English words into Chinese, like "rain" and "dog." I don't remember anything from that day, other than that it existed.

The second presenter taught us about sign language. We learned the alphabet, numbers 1-10, and a few words. My tiny eyes widened and sparkled at this magnificent, beautiful language, and a signal went off in my brain that I was completely hooked from that day forward. I made it my mission to learn sign language, and that day memorized the alphabet and the numbers that were taught to us.

A few years went by, and during my final year in elementary school, which at the time was sixth grade, another guest came in and taught the entire sixth grade class some more sign language. Though I barely remember his presentation or the specific signs he taught us (I only recalled "hamburger" and "cool"), I do remember that I only became more intrigued.

That same year in chorus, we sang "I'm Your Angel," by R. Kelly, and I was completely psyched to learn we would also be signing the chorus! We were given handouts with the lyrics, and pictures of the signs we needed to learn for the lines of the chorus. I was so excited, I practiced every chance I could, and showed off my new skills to whomever would give me the attention. After one chorus practice, my instructor pulled me aside to tell me that I looked great doing the signs and that I learned very quickly. What an ego booster! (Looking back now, I realize that what we were signing was more like S.E.E. - Signing Exact English, but back then, I didn't know the difference.)

In junior high, I didn't get another chance to learn any ASL. Though it wasn't on the forefront of my mind, I still wanted to learn. But, at my young age, I didn't know how.

Finally, when I was a sophomore in high school, I had heard that starting the following year in 11th grade we had the option to take American Sign Language. What?! Are you serious?! I couldn't possibly be more excited. I didn't care what other classes I had to drop or what schedule changes I had to make, I was taking that class. So I did. I talked to my guidance counselor and pretty much demanded that it was not an option to miss this.

However it worked out, it did, and my junior year I had American Sign Language 1 fifth period. From the very first day, I completely fell head-over-heels in love with the language. From that day forward, I knew I wanted to make a career out of it. My senior year, I took American Sign Language 2, and went on to gain an Associate's degree in ASL and Deaf Studies. After obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Teachers College, Columbia University, where I graduated with a Master's degree in Teaching American Sign Language as a Foreign Language. I really couldn't imagine myself not having ASL involved in my life in some way.

Other boring facts:

I am 27.
I teach and tutor ASL privately.
I am a Team Beachbody Coach, helping others get physically and financially fit.
I love my pets more than I like most people.
I am not a very graceful person.
I have the best boyfriend in the entire world. Yes, I'm biased because he's mine, but I still truly believe he's the best man I've ever known.
I possess no talent for singing, but I belt it like nobody's business anyway.
I dance around when I'm in a good mood.
I love TOMS shoes.
I own more books than I have room for and time to read.
I own more shoes and stuff than I have room for... but I am not quite a hoarder.
I think dolphins are the coolest creatures on Earth.
I have five tattoos, but want more.
The only piercings I have are in my ears: three in the lobes and one cartilage piercing.
I love Scrabble and Words With Friends.
I am slightly obsessed with Shakeology.
I can't wait to be a homeowner.
I love Netflix.
I want dogs more than I want kids.
I want to travel the world.
I am deathly afraid of falling. I will therefore never, EVER go skydiving or bungee jumping.
The only insect I can't stand are crickets. And those nasty mutated spider-cricket things. Because they both jump. And they're disgusting.
That's not true. I hate mosquitoes too. But who the hell doesn't?
I love crossword puzzles.
I have to finish whatever book I'm reading, even if I hate it.
I love concerts.
I am dying to go to a PostSecret event.
Sometimes I like to draw.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a vet, and a singer. Ironic, huh?
If I'm watching a movie and people get hurt or die, it's really not as big of a deal compared to when animals get hurt or die. Then I get sad. And pissed off.
I am a tomboy at heart, but I still love to get all dressed up sometimes.
I really, really want to learn to play guitar.
I am attempting to teach myself Italian.
My favorite sport is hockey, and I will forever bleed blue for the New York Rangers!

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