The Gift of Silence (or what 48 hours at a sign language weekend taught me about rest)

Hello all! Today I have a more meandering blog post for today, on a topic that I think is going to be really interesting to explore. Recently (meaning about six weeks ago, depending on when you end up reading this post) I spent a weekend at an AOW. For the uninitiated, AOW stands for Auslan Only Weekend. Essentially, it’s a weekend for students and Deaf people alike to come together and communicate only in Auslan (ie, the sign language that is the first and/or preferred language for culturally Deaf people)*

Despite the obvious terror of going somewhere I wouldn’t be allowed to speak my first language (English), and was expected to communicate in a completely new language that I’d only been learning for five months, I loved it. Was it hard? By golly gosh, yes it was. But was every single minute of it a wonderful learning opportunity? Yes, it definitely was. I loved that weekend with all my heart and I was almost in tears when I left.

And after I got home, it got me thinking about my experience at that weekend away. I came back tired, but refreshed. Which was a novel experience, because I almost always return home mentally and physically exhausted from being away. I have a chronic illness, and continual fatigue and pain is part of that particular parcel, and I often experience flare ups after being out of the house for a whole weekend. The mental, emotional and physical stress of these outings if often too much for me. So why did I come back from this one feeling “good” tired, and mentally refreshed?

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