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Feeling Welcomed

posted Oct 29, 2017, 11:34 AM by Christine Merrill
I've been thinking about what the wonderful people in the branch have done that has helped me feel so welcomed, despite my language deficiencies. I thought these things might be worth writing down, because most of us are in situations where someone doesn't speak the predominant language so well. So when you're in that situation where there's one person who doesn't speak English so well, here are some things that might help make them feel welcome.
  1. I love how people always smile and say hi to me, acknowledging that even though we can't talk so well, I'm still a person.
  2. A lot of people have gone out of their way to have a little conversation with me: ask my name, how old my baby is, how many kids I have. It's a 30 second conversation that take 2-3 minutes because I am so slow, but it helps me feel successful. Interestingly, when I was very first learning, that was about all the conversation I could handle. More than that, and my brain started to panic. 
  3. People talk really slowly to me. Thank you so much. I'm still getting a feel for how signs fit together in a big picture, and I just need some more time to process what has been said. I can tell they're using small words, too, even though there are plenty I don't understand still. 
  4. When someone says something to me, I'll repeat it back to them a lot of the time to make sure I got it right, which, again, slows down the conversation but keeps me from just watching with a glazed over look on my face, having lost the conversation 5 minutes ago. They always smile and say such nice things when I get it right!
So there you go - don't talk too long, acknowledge their presence, talk slowly and be patient while the person works the sentence out!