Thursday, March 27, 2008

Turkish Delight

English, no suprise there, but wait ... there's also French, Spanish, German, Greek, now Turkish and in a few months Korean. Those are the languages that my writing has been translated into over the years. I got a real thrill this morning when a Fat reader Gün Osborn sent me one of my posts as it looks translated into Turkish. I looked at the letters and couldn't pick out a single word but felt a thrill none the less.

I forget, I wonder if WE forget, that our community is international, our concerns universal, our struggle everywhere. I know I do. When I first moved to Quebec, where I lived for ten years, I was quite startled to see a kid with Down Syndrome in Magog speaking French. He opened his mouth and out came ... French. It was weird that that surprised me. Of course he would speak his mother tongue, but somehow it took me aback.

Too, the time I was in Amsterdam and one of the guys who worked in the falafel store had an intellectual disability and there he was speaking Dutch and doing Dutchly things. He was struggling to make our order for 50 falafels (yes 50 - we were particularly hungry that night, so hungry that we walked weaving back to the hotel, laughing over the slightest thing ... in the morning we'd eaten 49 ... which was because we found one had fallen under the bed) but anyways there he was speaking Dutch.

This blog has a feature where I can, through sitemeter, figure out where readers come from in the world. The first time I did this and saw readers spread across much of the world I was in awe. And now this morning Gün Osborn sends me a little treat. Very very cool. But it set me to dreaming about what a powerful impact we could make as a worldwide community. As people who, around the world, demand justice and peace and gentleness for all children, for all people - including our brothers and sisters with disabilities.

I know this sentiment is trite ... but trite as it may be it's never been actually tried. I just know that parents of kids with Down Syndrome in the Ukraine will have similar stories to tell as parents in Richmond B.C. - and I know from travelling in a chair that there is a universal 'AAARRGG' over accessiblity and attitudes towards wheelchair users.

Pipe dream or not, it was nice to be reminded that we are everywhere, and to those readers in Turkey that are about to get a shot of Chewing the Fat ... Welcome.


Kei said...

I love that the importance of your words are universal.

Reading your blog today brought something to mind: I remember when we told my mom William would have Down syndrome. She said they didn't have that in Japan when she was growing up. I assured her Down syndrome was not biased and that there are Japanese people with it. Perhaps it was not accepted when she was growing up and the kids were sent or hidden away. The Japanese exchange student our family hosted several years back said she remembers having kids w/Ds in her elementary school, but she didn't really know anything about it. I found her Japanese websites so she could learn about it, and I was intrigued to find out more myself, and see that the families do indeed go through many of the same things we have in raising a child with Down syndrome. After her 10 month stay with us, our exchange student returned to Japan and decided she would go to college to become a Speech and Language Pathologist after seeing how much Speech therapy helped William.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

It is my pleasure to have your words on my blog. I have also posted them to some DS lists that Turkish parents use.

As you said so rightly, where ever you go in the world, human nature is more or less the same and people with disabilities and their families face similar kind of misconceptions, bigotry and sometimes bullying. But... they also share a community with members from all over the world where they can share, brag, vent and learn from each other. That feeling, in itself, is amazing.

Gün aka Turkish Delight :)

rickismom said...

Well, I haven't translated any of your stuff, but I have given over verbally many of your ideas and stories to other parents here (giving credit to you as author. I live in Israel.
My daughter (who has DS) is one of the first in our community to be included in grade school (now she is in Jr. high). (This is not for lack of kids with DS; we have many, but parents are often unaware of what is possible. And if the parents HAVE heard, often an "experienced" educator will tell them that it is a pipe dream.)
It is places like Downs Ed of England that help me realize what is "normal" for a child with Down syndrome. It is your site that helps me envision the type of attitude that I would like staff to hold.
-Rickismom, who is still on the yellow brick road towards Oz, but who knows that she is not a "Don Quixote" it is an acheivable aim

rickismom said...

By the way, Dave, you know that its your fault LOL that supper burned tonight. I got some copies of your books (a relative bought for me), and found JUST SAY KNOW too interesting.....

elizabeth embracing life said...

I Love this line from "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe"

"perhaps you'd like some Turkish Delight..."

Your blog reminded me of that. Hey there is Love in every language.

Susan said...

What's a falafel?

rickismom said...

Susan, "falafel" is a round flat bread stuffed with fried balls of mashed chick peas, and salad

Unknown said...


I read your blog once in a while and I'm from (and in) Finland. Twice I have translated a story of yours into Finnish and posted it on our local down syndrome mailing list, naturally with a link to your blog.

My 4 year old daughter has down syndrome.


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