I wake up this morning in a hostel room of six. I keep my eyes glued to my phone and I try my best to appear busy. In all actuality, I have only one thought: Please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me…
“Where you from?” A question common enough and logistical enough for backpackers to exchange, I am able to make this question out from the person standing before me. “Washington, D.C.” I reply, hoping that would be enough. Each time I look back down, however, another question makes its way through. Not wanting to be rude, and knowing he was just trying to be nice and make small talk, I respond to each one but not without a “what” or two with each question he asks.
“Well, enjoy yourself” I say, as I put on my backpack, smile, and head out the door.
I make my way through the bustling streets of Bangkok, scouring for food. I decide on a restaurant that I see sporting seats that are hidden in the corner of a lush garden. I’m enjoying my coconut shake and watching my favourite reruns of Full House when I hear, “hello, fellow backpacker, may I sit with you!?” It takes me a few times to understand, but as he points to my bag and the seat in front of me, this is the sentence I make out with the context I have. Once again I smile, and not wanting to be rude, I welcome him to my table. He asks the common questions, amongst some others that I can’t quite understand, and I wish for the encounter to be over.
“I ought to charge my phone somewhere a bit cooler” I say, as I once more pick up my bags and go.
This leads me to here, now, at a Starbucks writing this blog post.
One may read this and experience feelings of pity or despair. There are people who take this to great levels, and so that leads me to this story I wish to share...
*Two days ago*
I meet a person from India on a great spiritual journey. They discover me on the streets and bring me back to their shop and we talk. I understand about half of the comments and questions, but it is enough to draw my interest. They marvel over my presence, and offer to guide me in meditation for 5 mornings, free of charge. I accept, and the next morning I arrive at the shop for my first session.
They explain a great deal of things to me about the seven chakras and how they work, and fortunately for me they draw pictures of what they are explaining on paper, and it is much easier for me to follow. This is a splendid experience, and I take all of the information they share to heart. This is the sort of thing I want to receive from people I meet in my travels-- I love listening about beliefs from others (and the countless beliefs and spiritualities I encounter in my life have endless connections to one another which allow me to form and strengthen a belief of my own).
More on the *good* parts of this story in another post. For now I share with you the piece relevant to the one I write now.
After explaining what they know to be true of the 7 chakras and of life, and after I make my first attempt in meditation, we sit down for a bit and they tell me that they wish to help me in meditation to not only further my connection with myself and the universe, but to also help me in alimenting my deafness.
Not being one to speak fast, I take in my emotional reaction to what they are saying. My first reaction is fear-- fear that I could even possibly send my deaf(ness) away. My second reaction is defensiveness-- they have no idea what being Deaf has brought me.
I spend a few hours at my hostel thinking about what they have said. I meet up with them for dinner, and take up the chance to explain. I tell them that I take being Deaf as a gift rather than a curse. I’ve made some incredible friends who share the same language as me, and with these hands I am able to express myself in a way that is beautiful to me. It’s like poetry or music-- the expressions vibrate through all of me. It’s seen in my hands but it’s also seen on my face and the way I move. I wouldn’t ever want to rid myself of that.
Not really quite understanding, they say “oh, no, no. You receive it as a gift. I’m just wanting to help out of love.”
This morning, having still an appointment scheduled with them, I think about how I wish to be alone instead. Omitting the fact that they have a negative perspective on the Deaf experience, I think about the things I have learned in my time with them. However, I also think about the difficulties of conversing in the spoken English language for hours on end and I am already tired.
Not wanting to be rude, I….
No. I do not.
It is rude, only to myself, to put myself through these endless and tedious strains if I wish not to. Being quite introverted, I ask myself if this contributes to a greater exhaustion when going the extra mile in conversations with the majority of hearing people. As I ponder on this, I come to the simple conclusion that perhaps I’m lucky to be as introverted as I am-- for I have learned to enjoy my silence FAR more than the company of people I can’t quite understand.
Granted, conversations are of great importance… You learn from your interactions with others, and I sure did with the person from India, but you also learn from your interactions with yourself...
And at this moment in time, my introverted self does not want to put in the extra effort in conversations if they’re spoken.
This is part of a blog, if interested and want to read on please go to homelessnadventurous.com
This article was written and photo provided by Kiel Callahan
As this website has grown, along with its community, we realised that not everyone who travels has the time or ability to write an article. So to make the site more universal, we have created this space to allow people from all over the world to share their experience through media, no matter their language or background.