Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 3: CSPAN, the Congress, and Chamber of Commerce

Today was really interesting! I’m exhausted at the moment, though, because I was on my feet for the most of the afternoon and evening, and lugging a seriously HEAVY bag around. I had tried to make use of my laptop during the seminar but it wasn’t really a successful idea because I found that for today’s events, taking notes on paper was simply more efficient for me. Oh well. I’ll try to pack lighter next time.

It was very entertaining to actually be part of the CSPAN audience in real-life. It was kind of surreal to acknowledge mentally that I am watching something that is going to be shown on TV in front of millions of people. Simply put, I was just glad for the interpreters. It’s important for deaf people to be visible and for the hearing world to see sign language so they may acknowledge the existence of deaf people and our language.

In the afternoon, we had a tour of Congress. The building itself is beautiful and so representative of American democracy, values, and governance it was a honor to step inside. However... Maybe it’s because I’m a local girl, having lived in the shadow of the Capitol for four years as a student at Gallaudet University. I wasn't that satisfied with the volume of information I heard from the docent at the Congress. I wanted to hear more advanced information about the Congress on the caliber of The Washington Center’s lectures. Listening to basic information about the building didn't satisfy me but seeing the breathtaking beauty of the Congress itself was more than enough! The best part of the tour was passing the entrance to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

We then had a reception at the United States Chamber of Commerce. We had an excellent speech about media by Bob Schieffer, who is a well known journalist at CBS and the moderator of the third presidential election debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. I enjoyed the speech very much; the food was tasty; but standing in Chamber of Commerce... It was kind of inevitable that my mind drifted off to Bill Richardson at times.

Walking to the Metro station to get home, I literally got so excited in front of the hotel that the Obama family is staying until they are moving in the White House permanently. My camera ran out of battery so I looked for a picture off the internet of the hotel itself, and found these two. The labor union AFL-CIO is giving the Obama kids a very warm welcome and I found their sign very – in deaf slang – “touchy” (as in, heartwarming, touching, special, aww) :-)

The Hay Adams Hotel, where the Obamas are staying at until they move in the White House.

The AFL-CIO's welcoming message to the Obama kids.