Hello, my name is Smita and this is my name sign. I'm going to tell you about my first days here in America.
As we descended and landed at the airport I went into the passport office to show them my documents as a first-time visitor. And the people there could sign and would communicate using pen and paper. I thought that was really cool! I then walked over to meet my husband and his father. We were at Newark airport in New Jersey. And when we exited the airport, I looked all around and saw rows upon rows of cars! I couldn't figure out where were all the people - there wasn't a soul in sight! I asked my husband where were all the people and he suggested maybe inside the office buildings, working. It was in the afternoon, but I thought surely at least a few people would be walking around! But nobody at all? It felt like everyone died! So that was odd but interesting. And then as we got in the car and drove the long way home, my husband and his father would simultaneously sign and drive and it made me nervous! I really had never experienced that before. Whenever my dad would drive, we just sat quietly. But I guess people can chat and drive at the same time. Driving home to this small city, still nobody was on the road! Absolutely nothing! Not even any shops along the way! I couldn't help but think that there should at least be a few along the way... Not to mention all the houses along the road were painted identically! And still no people around, everyone's doors were kept closed. It was puzzling because in my country (India) we keep our doors open. We greet our neighbors and stand around and chat for a bit.
Anyways, upon entering my in-laws' house and meeting the family, I noticed their behavior was rather formal! I just wasn't used to it! For the first few days, it felt a bit awkward. But as I got to know them, I came to know their habits and I adapted as well. Another time while we were driving, I saw the toll booth up ahead. We had to pay and the toll booth woman started speaking with my husband. He told her he's deaf and that he signs and I was so surprised and amazed at how easy it was to communicate in this circumstance! When I first began meeting my husband's deaf friends, they were all very friendly but they communicate using American Sign Language (ASL), which was lost on me! I used to just sit there not understanding anything. And then my husband would give me an abbreviated explanation of whatever was being said. That is how I was able to begin picking up the language. To this day, I am socializing more and meeting more people. That's my story. Thank you!