Thursday, December 24, 2015
The woman at the market
It's Christmas and we are doing what we do when the country we live in doesn't feel like Christmas. Snow and cold weather is essential to a good Christmas, in my mind, so if we can't have that, we like to escape to someplace completely different. This year we are in Thailand. All of that is just a side note to set the stage for the real story that I want to tell.
This afternoon we were at a market, enjoying the great bargains on all the "designer label" things. We really had a great time, Chad was in his element dickering away at prices. The kids enjoyed poking through all the stuff and finding their treasures. We stopped to get some bubble drinks before we hopped into tuk tuks to go back to the hotel. While we were sitting around a table, a woman approached us. She was clean and neat, dressed nicely and had a genuine smile that shone out from inside of her. She held out her hand with little trinkets in it and gave us a card in English explaining that she was deaf and selling these items to support the deaf community. We began to look through the trinkets--an elephant, a globe and a deaf hand in the symbol of "I love you." We all looked to Maddie. Slowly at first, she signed something. The woman's smile got bigger and softer and her hands began to fly. Maddie told us that she didn't get it all, but back and forth they went, signing to one another. The woman pulled out another trinket to show Maddie. It was a cross. She pointed to the cross in her hand and then to her heart. I didn't need to understand sign language to know what she was saying.
It was beautiful to watch Maddie communicate in ASL to this Thai woman. Maddie got the trinket with the hand on it and promptly put it on her purse. Sometimes it's not the activities we do along the way, but the people we meet.