About 12 years ago...
When we found out my son was deaf I was in a pool of grief for 3 days. The person I thought he was didn't exist. I had never meet a deaf person and now I was meeting one for the first time. I was terrified . As the days went by I read enough to move away from the sadness. I came across "Welcome to Holland". If you have a deaf child you know what this is. It felt like this women knew exactly how I felt. I had planned to go to Italy and the country I landed in was not the same as my friends. This women's words gave me comfort. We had landed in Holland.
What I didn't realize is we had landed somewhere more exciting. I am sure Holland is nice but our country is amazing. We landed in a place that would change all of us forever. It is not slower paced than Italy and much more flashy. The pain went away and we forgot our dream of Italy very quickly. Our country is more like India, it has famine and disease. It has oppression and ignorance but with that it has beauty, brilliance.
If you travel a lot you begin to realize the only way to know a country is to befriend the locals. They can be your guide to the riches of there culture which makes the country beautiful. They can help you avoid the famine by sharing there food at first and helping you learn to grow your own. They can fortify you to avoid disease and teach you their art. We landed in India and never looked back.
We sent postcards to our friends in Italy and Holland. The friends in Holland where curious about India and often wanted to visit but for the most part were to afraid. They felt safe with the windmills. They admired the Rembrandt's they could never hang in their homes. Our friends in Italy were more adventurous they visited often, learned our ways and shared theirs.
Five years later when his sister was born we landed in Italy! We had dual citizenship and she showed us the culture of this new country with ease. They were very different but very much the same. We enjoyed our bi-lingual bi-cultural tribe.
Life in India and Italy is very busy. My daughter is in Spanish immersion so she is tri-lingual. She grew up active in the local deaf school coming with me when I volunteered teaching cooking, art and acting to the elementary children. She came with me when I taught ASL to children and their parents. She was cast in plays along with the deaf children. She fights back fingers flying when her brother picks on her and shares giggles with him in the back seat on long journeys.
India has been exciting and exhausting. It is hard to convince people that it is the right country for use but after years of struggle and joy we are very comfortable here. We realize we don't need to convince anyone because he does it naturally. We don't have time to compare notes with our friends from Holland because India is to fast and flashy. I am sure Holland is nice but we don't have time to visit.