This morning, our proctor group met up with Holly since Lizzy was not in yet. We all walked to breakfast together and after eating, like the usual, I walked with Hummd and Arnold to class. Our professor had us read for the entire first few hours before lunch. We had to finish up on the Hmong book by Anne Fadiman, the "Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down". Ms. Talley cut some chapters for us in order for the class to not fall behind on her schedule, so by the time that we left for lunch, I was only a few chapters away from ending the book. We had to leave for lunch a little earlier today since we had to retake our class photo for VSA's term book (a year book but for a term) and there was a preview day for other students so everyone in VSA had to eat upstairs.
At lunch, not only did I have amazingly seared salmon with sweet, but also sweet, buttery mashed potatoes to go with it. Lunch was different today since Hummd, Arnold, and I sat with a majority of our classmates and Gwennie sat with hers. In addition, I taught Hummd how to sign the alphabet in American Sign Language. She is currently learning how to sign a song too! A proctor was patrolling around and we caught her attention with the whole signing. She told us that a few of the other proctors (including herself) had taken ASL (American Sign Language) at Vanderbilt too, except she was only proficient in it because she took it for only a semester.
|So proud of Hummd for getting her alphabet memorized and finally|
signing the letter 'B' correctly (as seen above)!
I was excited to go back to class and continue reading because the book was getting even better (it was good already). Before finishing off on the book, Ms. Talley showed us a short video of the real Patch Adams giving a speech about his institution and himself. Then, by 1 PM, we read again for another hour. For the last hour, the whole class was split in half for two groups to debate on the American and Hmong customs and which side was more justified in their actions towards Lea Lee.
I was in Group 2, and some of the points that we brought up were a combination of alternatives and reasons why western medicine would have suited Lea Lee better. For example, when another cultural group comes to an American hospital for services, they have to be ready to accept the terms and be in compliance with the doctor(s) since they are requesting help in the first place. However, both sides had agreed that there was a language barrier and most of the issues that had occurred originated from it. There was really no totally right or wrong side in the debate, but there were definitely lessons learned after this book was published in the Merced community (as well as other parts around the country).
|The main points that were appointed during the debate.|
During study hall, we watch a film on the whole Lee family. Lea continued to live in her vegetative state until 2012 (around 30 years old), which surprised all of the doctors that had predicted that her time left would only be a few months. The video showed a lot of Anne's explaining along with Lea's personal doctors, Neil and Peggy Earnst. There were personal appearances by some of Lea's family members like her mom, brother, and sister. Her siblings said that they were used for translating between her parents and doctors, but in the video there was a professional translator present for their mom. Lea herself was not shown in the video (which was the part that I was hoping to see the most). It was a very emotional film that showed the cultural struggle that Lea's parents had faced, but did not understand, and Anne's book showed and continues to show everyone that the same issue is very common, not only with the Hmong.
Finally, to the point of the day that I was looking most forward to, was my henna class! Our instructor had taught us how to do basic designs like spirals, dots, circles, leaves, petals, flowers, and eventually the steps in putting them together. The class is really based off of your imagination and what you can do with it when you have the herbal mixture in your own hands. She passed out a cone full of the plant mixture to each person in the class and showed us how to cut off the tip for the best consistency.
|Preview of my henna! (With inspiration from google |
After Arete class, we had dinner, which was interesting because our group of friends had shared half of the long tables with the group of proctors. We were actually the last ones to leave at dinner, but it was not so bad because we all had a good time with good food. A proctor came around to guess our names, luckily she got all of them correct, but we still shared some laughs on the previous wrong names that she thought was ours. She thought my name was Stacey once, but once she learned that it is actually Katherine, she remembered ever since.
There was free time until 9 PM, which was the proctor meeting, so Hummd and I got together again and worked on our blogs while jamming out to music. We were playing some songs from the same artist and another proctor that was walking down the hall had heard it and thought that she was going insane because she was listening to the same artist the whole day. Once I had learned that Hummd was already done with her blog, I played some of my marching and symphonic band's music for her.
At 9, Lizzie was back for our group meeting, so the whole group was together again! Tomorrow night is proctor night and my group is going to Lucky Belly to eat at. Then, on Saturday there is a SOFT (Sign Out Free Time) night plus, which means that there are extra activities in addition to going out to eat somewhere outside of the campus. The V-House is hosting an open mic downstairs at the basement with some proctors performing with a game room (Super Mario Smash Bros Tournament) and there will be hot chocolate, water, and other refreshments. Today ended on a good note, after going through my first week here at VSA (Vanderbilt Summer Academy), I am getting even more comfortable in my dorm, classes, and environment. Personally, I do not like reading, but because of reading for an hour long everyday during study hall, I have gotten used to reading so much, and now I developed a habit of reading books. I am still very grateful for the ILC and everything that they do for the students of WCCUSD, like giving me the chance to be involved with such an amazing program like VSA.