Sunday, January 29, 2017

Biking Across the Bridge

Chance has tried to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge each time he has visited San Francisco. The first time he went was last year in January.  He went with a school group and his brother was with him. Part of the itinerary for the trip was that all of the students would bike across the bridge. Chance and his brother were ecstatic.  When the day for them to bike across arrived though, the weather was bad so the bike ride was canceled.

Chance was then looking forward to biking across the bridge when our family went to San Francisco as part of our vacation through California. We looked into biking across the bridge, but in the end we didn't have enough time to bike across the bridge and do the other activities we had planned on.

When Chance went back to San Francisco last week for school again, he was determined to bike across the bridge. He had friends and a teacher who were excited to bike across the bridge as well. As it turned out, Chance was the only one who actually biked across the bridge. Some of the kids got tired before they got to the bridge and stopped. (It's about a 5 mile ride each way from where you rent the bikes to the start of the bridge.)  Some of the kids biked up to the bridge and turned around, but Chance was determined to bike the entire bridge and he finally made that item on his bucket list a reality. CHANCE HAS NOW OFFICIALLY BIKED ACROSS THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE!

Then he left his camera in the little pouch attached to the bike. He called the bike company and they said they had found it and would hold it for him. He got to the bike shop just as they were closing for the day. The girl on duty was apparently really attractive, but she told Chance that he would probably never see his camera again because they rarely got items back that had been left in the pouches. Chance explained that he had called earlier and and had been told his camera was being saved for him. The attractive girl looked in the drawer and was surprised to find Chance's camera sitting there waiting for him.  Alas, the bike rental store was closing so Chance could not continue talking to the cute girl and besides, the other students were waiting for him. He did get his camera back though. The camera that crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge with him on his third try.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Third time's a charm

Chance leaves for San Francisco in two days for an in depth study of Chinese culture. It may seem that Chance was just in San Francisco......that would be because he was there just last year at this time.  Chance and his brother had such a great experience in San Francisco back then, that they wanted the whole family to go back to see it.  So we included two days in San Francisco during our family vacation last summer. For anyone who is counting, Chance's trip to San Francisco next week will be his third in the span of a year. His destiny must somehow be tied to that city.

The focus this year is different than it was last year. Last year Chance rode a train to California and then flew home in an airplane. This year Chance will fly both to and from California.  Chance will be immersed in Chinese culture, language, religion and of course speaking Mandarin.  It will be good for Chance to have people around him who can answer him in Mandarin. He speaks to us at home in Mandarin all of the time. We just don't know what he is saying. For fun, I will sometimes respond in Dutch. Then neither one of us knows what the other is saying. It will be fun for Chance to practice his Mandarin while eating Chinese food.

The weather forecast calls for lots of rain while Chance is there. But the temperature should be much warmer than it is here. We are anticipating snow. Chance will have tales to tell us when he gets home. He says that since this is his third time visiting the city, he is much more aware of what a good souvenir is and where to spend his money. Chance is very frugal with his money. He is a working man now and he has earned all of his own spending money and paid for half of the trip. He is particular where he spends that hard earned cash.

View from the Golden Gate Bridge

Lombard Street in San Francisco

Chance on the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco

Ghirardelli chocolate shop

Friday, January 06, 2017

Advantages of having deaf children

Enjoying the warm weather in Arizona by climbing a palm tree

 We spent part of Christmas break in Arizona.  It was much warmer there than it is at our house. We went to the park and laid out on the grass. Our grass has snow on it, so it was a real treat to go outside without our coats and just enjoy the nice weather.

We were visiting family and hanging out with cousins. If we loaded everyone in the van to go somewhere, three people had to ride in another car so we could all fit and have seat belts. My sister and I wanted to have some "girl talk" on our ride to the park and I was trying to figure out which child should come with us. Then it struck me....Chance could come with us because he can't hear anything if he is using his headphones! I know, I know, teenagers in general can't hear anything else if they put in their headphones, but having two teenagers, one who is deaf, and one who is hearing, I can attest that the deaf one hears less.

Chance was the perfect kid to ride with us so we could talk freely. Chance already had his headphones ready for the ride and when I suggested that he ride with us and "not hear" what we said, he shrugged and happily agreed. I think it was a win win because our car was going to be more peaceful since it didn't have lots of kids riding in it and Chance could just sit back and relax.

It is true that Chance could have cheated and slid his headphones down just enough to hear what we were saying, but if you are a 16 year old boy, you really don't have an interest in what your mom and her sister talk about while on a drive to the park.

Now I know that if I need a child to ride in a car with me and not hear what I am saying, I can just invite Chance, because he can't hear anything if he has headphones in or takes his hearing devices off.