I just returned from a glorious 2 weeks in Kos, where I managed to get a nice tan and write about 12k words on my novel. Doesnt sound very difficult does it?
Whilst there though, I met a family. This family are one I will always remember and inspired by. And here’s why.
The mother and father of the family were both deaf. Now I fully understand that being deaf is difficult but not impossible in daily life as a rule. I myself did my stage 1 in British Sign Language some years ago, and would love to learn more (as soon as I have a little more time on my hands). But being deaf in the UK where people at least understand the written word if they cannot understand you, is slightly different than being deaf abroad. Am certain there are deaf people in Greece who speak Greek sign language, but this is totally different to BSL and wouldnt be understood.
We all expect a form of language barrier when we go abroad. Some people, myself included, make an effort to learn the basics before going, and some people don’t. The staff in the hotels work so hard and generally speak russian, german, english and often a little spanish or french.
I was extremely impressed at how the deaf couple communicated with the staff members, and found myself staring (very rude from a sign perspective though I did apologise). After a day or two, the father and I made eye contact and I signed a simple hello, how are you. To say he was ecstatic to see that I knew a little of his language was an understatement. He shook my hand, patted me on the back and proceeded to ask where I was from and tell me his history. His wife, also emotional, gave me such a hard hug I almost lost my breath.
I guess the main theme behind this blog is a little mixed. Inspiration – you have to admire and be inspired by someone who goes abroad with a disability, especially one that means a double language barrier, and still succeeds in having a fabulous time (with the help of a dune buggy you speed demon you!) – and when, as a writer, am I not inspired by something 😉 but also I recognise a little more the difficulties people face on a daily basis.
Don’t get me wrong, I know we all have difficulties, and some are worse than others and have to be dealt with daily throughout life. I suffer with depression, and am not ashamed to admit there are days I simply do not want to get out of bed. But, and here’s the but (there’s always a but right?) I force myself out of bed and do my best to force the feelings back – l try and get through the day as best I can because at the end of it there is always a new day where I will feel differently. My brother is severely disabled and has to cope with these difficulties on a daily basis. One of my good friends, who was not even in her forties at the time, has had major surgery that even now makes her life a struggle. My husband suffers depression and, along with another good friend, acute bouts of anxiety.
I could go on and list the difficulties every person I know has to make a point, but I think the point has been made. We all have difficulties – and we all cope with these difficulties cos lets face it, what else can we do right? So next time you see someone struggling with something, either someone you know or a complete stranger, spare a thought for their difficulties. Give them a smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling – a smile costs nothing after all. And when someone smiles at you, smile back.
You never know, you may just help each other through the difficulty for that day.