Sunday, October 31, 2004

A Week in Washington DC

For those of you who have been wondering what happened on my trip to WA D.C., I thought I'd copy the long post Jaymie put on her website. It tells the story.

The conference was really good and it was great to connect with people. Best of all was connecting with Jaymie. We had a really good time together but the whole trip was kind of interesting.... Mazen was good, but she didn't sleep well (which meant that I didn't sleep well) and Jaymie was up with me too. It was a crazy week, but we still had an amazing time.

Here goes.... Warning, it is a long story, so if you get tired of reading it, just scroll past to the pics and on to some other posts. I will say it is an interesting one though!!!

Monday, October 04, 2004
I'm Back!

I just returned from an interesting week in Washington DC. I was there for the CIT (Conference of Interpreter Trainers) 25th anniversary/conference. It was my 2nd time attending the conference and I enjoy it every time, but this year was somewhat a bit weird. I can't explain why I mean weird. I guess I just can't. But, it doesn't mean it was a bad thing.

I had an overnight lay over in Minneapolis before heading to DC. Since my friend, Barbara, was going to the conference as well, I thought I'd fly a day earlier to spend a night with her and her husband and baby in their home (in MN), then fly with her and Mazen (her 7 month old adorable baby) to DC the following morning. We arrived to DC just fine. An old friend of mine, whom I met at Gallaudet University 17 years ago, picked us up at the Ronald Reagan National Airport and transported us to Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center (where the CIT conference was held). It was a sweet thing of her to do that, but she was 9 months pregnant! Bless her heart.

Our first night in the hotel room was really an horrendous experience. First, as soon as we walked in the door, we smelled something foul such as a spot of vomit or sour milk on the carpet. We couldn't find exactly where it was, so we called the house keeper to come in and she only brought Febreeze to mask the odor. It didn't do very much, but we thought at least it was something and we hoped the smell would go away eventually, but it didn't. Then we found out that the TV was broken and one of the lamps (the one that was hooked up to the TTY) had no light bulb! How did the hotel expect Deaf people to know that the phone was ringing without the lamp flashing!? Then we found out that the shower's water pressure was very light and we hardly could get enough water to rinse the shampoo out of our hair. Wait...the worst is yet to come. You're not going to believe this...

We went to bed very late and tired. I started to toss and turn in my bed because I kept feeling itchy all over my legs and arms. I couldn't seem to fall asleep because I kept jerking in reaction to the itches on my body. I thought it had to do with my nerves not getting enough rest the night before and sometimes when that happens, your nerves twitch. After an hour or so of toss and turning, I couldn't stand it anymore, so I got out of my bed and shook my PJ's and slided my palm across the matress a few times and that was all in the dark. I couldn't turn on the lights because Mazen (the baby) was sound asleep and I didn't want to wake her, or Barbara, up. After I got back into my bed, I felt something crawl across my chest and I thought, "Okay, maybe that was a loose hair, so just go on to bed and don't think about anything right now."

Wait...don't guess anything yet!

The next morning, Barbara and Mazen were already dressed and ready to go to the first workshop and I had overslept. I was so tired, so when they left the room, I got up to shower so I could meet them. By the time I was done and just about ready to leave the room, they returned so Mazen could be fed (she still breast feeds). So, I decided to wait for them and we could go to lunch and the next workshop together. During that time, Barbara noticed someting moving on her bed and we found out it was a bug crawling across the blanket. We picked it up and squished it to its death in a tissue. Then she noticed another one on a different place of the bed. That's when I realized the reason to my itching all night, so I ran to my bed and pulled the sheets off and saw a bunch of different sized yucky reddish crawling things that looked like ticks. I freaked out and just was sick to my stomach, just thinking that was what I was sleeping with all night the night before. I ran to the bathroom and checked my body for any bites. None were found. Barbara was worried about her baby. She called the front desk and told them to send someone up there, and after the second call there and no one showed up, we were fed up so we went down to the front desk ourselves. Everyone there panicked and called the senior manager to meet us in the room. He did and he looked on my bed and saw some more crawling and he was really embarrassed and apologized over and over for the terrible experience. He told us that our 4 nights of stay at the hotel would not be charged and that we would be transferred to another room. He also told us to bag all of our clothes (every single article, including our hair scrungies and the baby's car seat linings, etc) to be laundered so we wouldn't have to worry about bringing the bed bugs home with us. It was also paid for by the hotel. The hotel personnel was extra nice to us ever since that night and did everything we asked them to do.


The new room had everything needed, clean bed and sheets, more pressured water (not much, though), and a lamp that worked! We were able to relax in that room since. However, we were never able to sleep at all the rest of the week...

Poor Mazen was sick. One night, we had to take her to the E.R. because she just wouldn't sleep for a couple of nights straight (and even during the days to nap either). Barbara couldn't sleep either because she was always up and trying to get her baby to go to sleep. Poor thing. I felt so bad for her and Mazen. Mazen would just cry and cry. Barbara said it was unusual for her to do that and she was worried that something was really wrong with her. She called her pedatrician hoping to get some answers and all she got was a suspicion of an ear ache and that we needed to go to a doctor before they flew back home. Well, at the E.R., the attending doctor found nothing wrong with her and at the end of the office visit, it came to a conclusion that it was the medications that Barbara's been giving to Mazen. It was keeping her wired up. So, she stopped giving her medication and she was finally able to sleep. Not much, though.

We missed so much workshops because of this and that that popped up, which diverted our attention. We were disappointed a little bit, but at least we were able to tour the campus. I went to Gallaudet University for a year way back in '88 and seeing the campus again was refreshing because a lot of the buildings were renovated and new buildings were added. It was beautiful. I took some pictures, so you'll see them following this post.

The banquet on Saturday night was not so good. The food is usually wonderful, but that night it was awful. The presentations of award giving, thank yous, and the like went on for seemingly like forever and we became bored with it rather fast. Finally, when the performance was about to begin, we decided to head back to our room to pack up for our departure the following day. I was to leave at 6:30am to catch my 8:30am flight. Barbara and Mazen's flight wasn't until later in the day, but she had so much to pack, so we decided to do that.

Once that was done, it was close to 11pm and Mazen was finally down. We hoped she'd stay asleep throughout the night, but unfortunately she didn't. She ended up sleeping with her mommy the rest of the night. I got up early to get ready to leave. Just as I was ready to leave the door, Barbara opens an eye to look at Mazen (sleeping quietly closely to her bosoms) and looks at me. I stand there, feeling sad because I was leaving my friend again. I hate it when we separate. We are like crossed fingers friends and it's always hard when we leave each other. She used to live in California, but now she lives in COLD Minnesota. I wished she wasn't so far away and I also miss not being a present part of Mazen's life.

We hugged and I kissed Mazen on her head softly and said a quiet, "Good-bye and ILY" to Barbara and left. My heart sunk. The shuttle bus picked me up on time and brought me to the airport an hour before my flight. I sat in the airport wondering what a weird week it was. Not becuase I wasn't with Barbara, but because so much had happened and it distracted us from a lot of things we wanted to do together.

I'm glad to be home. I know for a fact that Barbara's more than happy to be home to her husband and dogs. We enjoyed whatever we had in Washington DC.

posted by Jaymie 10:30 PM
At the Kellogg Conference Center at Gallaudet University, where we had the CIT conference and stayed in their hotel. This is the left side view. See below for the right/front side view of the center.
Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:29 PM
The right side view of the Kellogg Conference Center Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:28 PM
The historical front building of Gallaudet University. It is known as the Chapel Hall. It was built in late 1800s and still stands erect to this day. It is mainly used for administration offices, but back in the old days, it was where the men's dorms and classrooms were held. On the left side was where the chapel was held. Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:27 PM
A famous statue of Thomas Gallaudet (the founder of the first school for the Deaf in America, and the father of Edward Gallaudet - founder of Gallaudet University) and Alice Cogswell (the first deaf person Thomas ever met). Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:26 PM
The eerie "coffin door." This door has a legend that stayed with Gallaudet University for so many years. Gallaudet was established in the late 1800s. Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:25 PM
Chapel Hall Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:24 PM
The side view of the Chapel Hall. Posted by Hello

posted by Jaymie 10:23 PM
The university's president's residence. I. King Jordan is the university's 8th president since it's establishment and the first Deaf president ever. As of today, King has served his 17th year of presidency. Posted by Hello

Man! I miss Beebs.

Barbara and Mazen in front of the famous statue of Thomas Gallaudet and Alice Cogswell.

Next to the college's mascot, the Bison.

In front of the Chapel Hall, which is one of the oldest buildings (built in late 1800s). The building is in front of the university and a very beautiful one.

Mazen listening to her father talk and sing to her. She was sooooo cute doing that and I just had to take a picture of that.

A first! This is the first time Mazen fell asleep in my arms. It was at lunch time and It was a great feeling having her sleep in my arms. I felt close to her. Unfortunately, someone made a loud noise and woke her up, so her nap wasn't a long one.

Mazen in her banquet dress. She looked so beautiful! She's a princess.

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