Institut National de Jeunes Sourds de Paris and Musee d’Orsay

I slept uninterrupted all night Monday night and I feel slightly better for it. I’m still struggling with this time change. I’m wide awake late into the night and dragging in the morning.

I don’t like it.

I’m typically so awake and productive in the mornings. Hopefully I’ll acclimate soon.

So today, we skipped the classroom and went straight on a tour of Deaf history in Paris. I was so glad to learn we wouldn’t be sitting again all day.

First, we saw where Abbe de l’Epee lived when he had the first little school in his apartment.

We then saw the Roch church where l’Epee is buried.

Roch church is located adjacent to INJS, the first free public school for Deaf children in the world. I know it has a more relevant connection but I was too busy marveling at the beauty of it to pay close attention to the narrative (something I regretted much when one of our test essay questions was to describe the connection of Roch church).

Finally, we arrived at the residential school, INJS (Institut National de Jeunes Sourds).  I had been looking forward to seeing the school from day one.

We toured the grounds and learned the history of the school. We saw the original buildings, the additions, and the new modern vocational school. We walked in the history of the Deaf World.

It was incredible!

But nothing, not a single thing we’ve done on this trip so far will top having lunch with the students at INJS. It was all I could do to finish my lunch! We spent the entire time conversing in ASL/LSF, showing them how to sign things in ASL and they showing us in LSF. They were so curious about American culture. I will remember these students faces forever. We had like an hour for lunch but it felt as if it was over in less than five minutes. The friend I’ve been seeing so much of Paris with and I didn’t want to leave and told the program lead that a half a day at the school wasn’t nearly enough and that next time he should just skip the hotel and put the group up at the school instead!

After lunch and leaving the school (under mild protest) we went to the Musee d’Orsay. The musee d’orsay was the original train depot in Paris. It sat derelict for some time after the trains moved to a larger station and was eventually turned into a museum.

I enjoyed the building and some of the statues but truth be told, I’m not really an art person so wandering through yet another museum for hours was a bit of a buzzkill after the highlight of INJS. Regardless, I did my best to enjoy it.

I saw Monet’s and Picasso’s and Renoir’s so I officially have ‘culture’ now. 🙂

For dinner we ventured to St. Michel, near Notre-Dame, and found a fantastic restaurant. I decided since I was randomly suffering GI issues anyways, I was going to throw caution to the wind and enjoy my dinner. I ordered a crusted goat cheese appetizer, a filet mignon with a sweet sauce, and chocolate mousse.

I really dislike sweet sauces on meat. They do the same thing in South Africa and I think that is just an abhorrent thing to do to a perfectly good steak, but I still enjoyed the meal. The appetizer and dessert were out of this world and I may decide to eat there once more before leaving Paris! Oh, and no negative GI side effects, which was surprising but I’ll take it!

After dinner we hit a few souvenir shops and then spent the entire ride home and a good bit of time standing outside the hotel chatting. By that time, I was with only two other people; one Deaf and one near-native signer. I didn’t do much joining in the conversation but I was really pleased to see how much I was able to follow it even when they quit going slower for my benefit.

This trip has been such a fantastic opportunity for me and my skills are benefiting even more than I anticipated. I was told the immersion experience would greatly improve my ASl but to see it actually happening has been wild.

I know I sound like a broken record but I am just so grateful to have this opportunity!

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