April 26, 2017

The Christianville Spirit: Insulting Our Inteliigence

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Makes You Wonder
April 26th, 2017-TCS # 542

Hej, My Readers! That is The Swedish Greeting for Hello, said just like “Hey” only with a Swedish Twang to it. So, I have Special Needs. That is really No Surprise but, Sometimes, I need things “Adapted” or “Edited” to help me in Whatever I need to do. Edited, actually sounds nicer. I realize that Yes, I will need certain things Edited throughout My Life, but How Much is too much? Well, My Mom and I had an unplanned discussion about that. My Mom and I always have the Best Discussions that just come out of No Where. So, She told me of an App that allows People with Special Needs to Talk to one another. A Special Needs Facebook, if You will. For The Record, Anything I say in This Newsletter is Respectful but, also Honest, so I do not mean to Offend Anyone either Reading this or Know What what I am talking about. Just thought I would mention that before I get too far into This. Anyway, so, I check this App out. I gave it a little preview, see The Screenshots, Video, and Read any Reviews. My Mom told me that She thought that It is a Good Idea, but also has Problems. Because There was not a Way to screen the Users for Safety Concerns. Because We see The Good in People and Trust Everyone. I was not impressed with it Either. You see, although It is Harsh to think about or even Say, Often, Special Needs People are treated like a Child or An Overgrown Child, If You are a Young Adult like Me. Basically, Too Much Adaption or Too Much Editing, to make it seem like Special Needs People are just not smart and assuming that They need things in Literally Baby Steps (and, Yes, with Certain Things, We do!). I read the description of The App and I felt that it was written as if Telling a Child that They are “Special” and that This App could help them communicate among Other “Special” People and Their Families. Making the Word, “Special” to mean that You are Standing Out and VERY Different than Everyone Else. And, It is Okay to be Different, but not THAT Different. The Video to encourage people to download this app was the Song, “Can You Tell Me how to get to Sesame Street?”. Very Child-like Song. Later, It mentions that You can see what Friends are up to, Communicate, and Basically Everything that You can do on Facebook. Then, at the End, It mentions that It has all the Photo Editing stuff in it that You could dream of. After reading The Beginning of The Description, and At The End of it, It mentions The Photo Editing, like I was thinking, “Most People, not even Me, know how to do all that!”. This is Really Confusing and Sends a Mixed Message. We need something that protects us in The Areas that We need it and Don’t Insult Our Intelligence.
Anyway, The App aside here. I explained to My Mom that, Sometimes, with Respect to The Maker of The App, Some People have The Most Brilliant Idea in Their Head and Once It is out of Their Head, Getting it off The Ground is Very Challenging and Maybe did not come out the Way that They had hoped. I think, that is an Issue with Really Anyone. Heck, I have that Problem myself. I get Brilliant Ideas for Things, Put them on Paper, and They don’t turn out the way I wanted or It is hard for Me to get it off The Ground. Now, not to Single People out here, But There are People with Special Needs that need to have things in Easy Mode. I understand that. But, To Me, as PTLSer, It is an Insult to My Intelligence. I preach this all the Time but, It always need Repeating, PTLS Family Members, Your Child is Much Smarter than You realize! Too often though, That  is the Most Common Issue with PTLSers and Even People with Special Needs in General, People do not realize how Smart that We are. Now, Yes, We may need help with Doing Certain Things like Cooking, Grooming, or Things to Accomplish Something that We want to do. Even though Your Child may not speak very well, We are Very Smart inside, soaking Everything Up and Know More than You Think. So, Often Teachers, Doctors, and Yes, Even Parents, don’t give us enough credit. We are Limited and Thought to be Less than Others, Every Time You say, “My Child has Special Needs”. All in all, Basically, We want to be treated like Everyone Else, with Respect and Sensitivity. We do have Limits that need to be Respected, but at The Same Time, Don’t Treat us like a Little Child. 

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. We may have Special Needs, but We are Very Unique!

April 19, 2017

The Christianville Spirit: A Cruise of A Lifetime-Part 2

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Makes You Wonder
April 19th, 2017-TCS # 541

Happy Lynee Week, My Readers! Lynee Week?! I thought There was only a Lynee Day. I got the Idea from My Uncle Craig who names The Week of His Birthday, Craig Week. So, Why not, The Week of Lynee’s Birthday be Lynee Week and The Day that She passed will be Lynee Day. Just to avoid Confusion There, Folks! Anyway, on to This Week’s Newsletter and It’s going to be a Good One. So, First of all, There were Two Things I forgot to mention about The Cruise and Then, We will talk about Something Real that is relating to that. So, First Off, If You have not read Last Week’s Newsletter about The Cruise proper, Please Read it Now before You continue reading this one. I forgot to Mention that I went on a Ropes Course on the Top Deck of The Ship. Me, Edward, and Marvin all did it. It actually was pretty scary but, We figured that Why not try it out?! It took a lot for both of us to do it, We got to do it at Our Pace, and Got applause at The End. I forgot to also mention that I tried a bunch of Different Foods on The Ship, among them, Escargot; Braised Ox Tongue; Veal; Frog Legs; and, Mussels. I found The Frog Legs and Mussels to be the Most Gross. (Sorry Michael!) My Brother, when He was younger LOVED Frog Legs! The Best was The Ox Tongue because It tasted like Pork. I Blame Marvin’s Zen and His Curiosity about the “Rare Finds” on The Menu! And I will save the Best One for Last. Anyway, for Those of You wondering about If I have recovered or not from The Cruise, I can tell you that I have. I am still working a little but, Mostly Recovered. It took a Little over a Week. It took a Week to catch up on Facebook, Videos I watch, TV Shows, The News, and Of Course, My Normal Everyday Life. I actually left ALL of My Electronics behind! Yes, I can not believe that either! I had never done that, not since I have ever had Electronics. I will tell you though, It felt really good, not having any Electronics with Me. 
But, anyway It felt like I had forgotten what things looked like, What has going on before and while I was Gone, Feeling like Everything was Changing (and, Construction on My Street during The Process, did not help at all), and Finally, Processing Everything that I did, Places I went, The Fun that We have on The Trip! But, This is where I feel that I should be Real about. 
So, Imagine for Me, something in The Mind of a PTLSer. Now, Up until This Point of My Life, I had never been able to Explain Being Overwhelmed and Why It takes so Long for Me to Recover from Something that Typical People would consider “Fun”. Now, I want to make Clear that I could not have gone with any Better People! And, Yes, I had Lots of Fun! It was Unbelievable, UnBelizeable! (We went to Belize, We can say that!) They made sure that between Edward and Myself, that We were doing Alright as well as Taking Steps and Provisions to keep us from Getting Overwhelmed or It being too much. Believe Me though, There are Times in a Cruise when It can get Overwhelming, even if You don’t mean it to be. Anyway, on to My Analogy!
So, Imagine that on a Vacation, Trip, or Event, that You have given a Plate of Food, One Item is The Past, One Item is The Fear of Unknown, and One Item is Things You that You do not Understand. Now, Said Items vary in Size depending on The Event in Question. It may be in Large Quantities sometimes, No Big Deal other times. Every Day, You eat the Item and When You do, You have analyze each Item, as well as Each Bite, and Then Digest Each Bite. Well, Imagine that You are eating all This Food at a Lightning Go-Go-Go Pace instead of The Slow Pace that You are used to. Does not sound Easy does it? It sort of reminds me of All of The Food that I ate on The Cruise. I could count 7 Things in various sizes that I ate, literally in a 5 Hour Period. Then, Again, Do as The Romans do, I wanted to try Everything. The PTLS Family Members, SueVa and Marvin who took me on The Cruise asked me a Very Thought Provoking Question. When was The Last Time that I went on a Trip without ANY Family Members and/or Going to a Family Members’ Home? Well, The Last Time I went on a Trip that I mentioned in Last Week’s Newsletter was with My Brother and We flew to Ohio to Popi’s (My Mom’s Dad) House to drive up north to a Cabin for Spring Break in Northern Lower Michigan and that was back in 2004. But, Actually, There was a Time I went somewhere without Any Family, just Friends from School. It was when I went to Camp Classen back in Elementary School, Back in The 90’s. It went Way worse than The Cruise, Way Worse! I did not have a lot of Fun at Camp. I had to deal with Bullies, who One Night stole My Underwear while I was showering. They thought it would be Funny to lock me in The Bathroom (Toilet, for You folks Around The World) on The Bus while We were at a Rest Area. There were supposed to be Adults watching Us! And, Yes, They helped, a Little a bit. I have forgave The People in Question for doing that. So, Perhaps, that did not help with The Anxiety about going on The Cruise, on top of previously going on a More Overwhelming Cruise. All in all, The Best for Last Thing that I forgot to mention was about Our Cruise Director, Schwartz. He was a Really Funny Guy! He believed that all of Passengers on “The Lovely and Beautiful Carnival Breeze” was Family. So, After Every Announcement, He would end with “Love You!”. By The Middle of The Cruise, He would say “Love You!” followed by either “Love You More!” or “Stop It, I Love YOU More!”. I, of course, would respond to Him, Pointing upwards “Love You!”. I did get to talk to Him for a Short Time. By The Way, If You want to go on a Cruise and Hear Him say that, Ride on The Carnival Breeze, as He will be on it for Several Months. 

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. As Our Cruise Director, Schwartz would say “Love You!”

April 12, 2017

The Christianville Spirit: A Cruise of A Lifetime

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Makes You Wonder
April 12th, 2017-TCS # 540

Welcome Back, My Readers! Although April is not My Favorite Month, Happy April to You! So, Where was I last week? I write My Newsletters every week religiously! Well, Actually, I have quite an Amazing Feat to Tell You about. I Went on a Cruise. For The First Time in like, 14 Years. 7 Days, 4 People traveling together. Going on The Carnival Breeze to Roatan, Honduras; Belize; and, Cozumel. All without My Mom (Well, Actually, without ANY of My Parents!). Now, I know You are expecting a Traditional Cruise Story, but This is what I believe to be a Very Real Cruise Story. So, a Little Background Story. So, Last Time I went on a Cruise was a lot. Lots of Activity, Go-Go-Go, Do This, Do That, Do This!, and Yes, a Little Recklessness in there too. And, Yes, This Cruise had all the Activity, Things to do constantly, and A Ton of Food, but This Cruise was presented in a Way that Yes, We can do Some Things but, We also have to have some Moderation and Calming in between. On Top of that, It was Done with People that Knew Me well enough to want to Take Me on a Cruise, It was A Wonderful Gesture and Understood Me well enough to Help in The Case that I needed it. So, This Family (A PTLS Family) and I had discussed Several Times about A “PTLS Cruise”, a Mini-PTLS Vacation before or after The PTLS Conference. Well, One Day, They offered for Me to go on a Cruise saying that They will provide The Transportation and You just have to say Say Yes or No. At First, I thought I’m not sure, I went on a Cruise before and It was VERY Overwhelming. I came back more stressed than before. I Am not Sure! Eventually, after some Comfort from both of Them and My Mom, I figured that I would be Stupid to say No. Even after I said, I would go, I was Very Anxious because I knew about All The Activity and Craziness that was Involved in a Cruise. My Mom and I had Several Discussions that How One Simple Experience in One Thing or Even, One Place; Can effect your impression of Said Thing. So, To Me, A Cruise meant that You were running a Mile a Minute doing XYZ and Getting a little Trouble in there never hurt, Right? I am believing that It took a Good Heart-to-Heart with My Friend, Deb (“The Famous Deb”) to convince me that I should go on a Cruise with Them. The Biggest Anxiety that ruled all of Them about going on a Cruise, was The Fact that I was going without My Mom. If I did this, It would be The First Time I went anywhere without My Mom since 2004, when I took a Trip with My Brother to My Mom’s Dad, Popi’s House back when He was around. After I formally said that I was going on The Cruise, I did not know all of the Things that I had to do Mentally to prepare for an Adventure like This, It took Many Meetings with The Family, Talking about Concerns and Questions, Talks with My Mom, a Few Meltdowns, and Preparing My Mind. Now, As The Cruise started coming closer, I got more Anxious. I Want to Make Sure that We have Planned What We are going to do for Excursions! It was One of Those Times, for lack of a Better Way to Describe It. I turned into My Grandma Honey, Got to have a Plan a Month in advance! The Man of The Family, “The Father Figure”, We’ll call him until I say their names, was like “Relax, Everything will be Fine. We will Plan as We Go”. Looking back, I am very Glad I followed His Lead. Anyway, A Day before The Cruise, It was Time to Pack. Thank God, My Mom was there to help! I had Everything that I needed, Sunglasses; Sun Screen; A Tuxedo for Formal Night (Held Two different Days); Swim Suit, but The Most Complicated Part for Me was The Clothes. I was going on a Cruise for a Week without My Mom and I would not have contact with Her for a Few Days at Sea until We reached a Port. It made me Very Anxious to do This! My Mom tried her hardest to help me remember what to wear on What Day and Eventually We settled on “Here are Some Nice Clothes to Wear in The Evening or If It gets Cold” but, also “Let’s get clothes that will Match, either way that You match them. You can Mix and Match if You want to”. So, The Night before The Cruise, We all met for Dinner, and discussed Any other Concerns or Questions that Either of Us had. Right before We go, I hop in The Car, My Mom comforts me and asks if I am Ready or Not and I said, “I am Ready as I will Ever Be”. By The Way, The Family in The Question that I went was PTLS Member SueVa, Boyfriend and “Father Figure” Marvin, and 10 Year Old PTLSer, Edward. Now, I had only hung out with SueVa and Marvin for a Few Hours at a Time and I was going to be with Them for 7 Days. The Morning of The Cruise, It was Very Early to get on The Road to drive to Galveston, I told SueVa, “We are going to Learn a lot about Each Other This Week” and She agreed, and said “If It is Good, then That is Okay and If It is Bad, We will work through It”. I also explained that “If You want to learn about Someone, You travel with Them”. I was Very Concerned about How They travel. Some People like to Jam to The Radio, Sing their Heart out! Some People like to Talk the Whole Way, and Of Course, Some People like to have it Silent and “Be with Their Thoughts”. Honestly, I would prefer a Mix of Talking and Listening to The Radio. So, After The Drive, which went Better than expected, We hopped on The Boat, Checked Out Our Room, Had Lunch, and Explored The Ship. Now, Picture with Me, a Room that is in The Best Way I can describe, “An IKEA-Sized Room” for Four People, with Three Adults and One Child. And, this Room is an Interior Room, so When The Lights were Off, It is Pitch Black except for The Small Lights next to The Bathroom Light Switch and The Light under The Door of The Hallway. Add in there, that You never spend the night with The People that You are with, nor a PTLS Family Member in General. You don’t know their Sleeping habits, Snoring, the List goes on. It was a bit Strange in The Beginning, but I got used to it. The Rest of The Cruise, was Really Fun. Like I said, We did Everything in Moderation and The Best Part, We did Everything together. So, In The Day, We would Get Food, Watch or Go Somewhere There was High Activity, then We would Slow Down and Walk around the Ship, Eat Food, or Watch a Trivia Game. There were Times when I wondered while watching something of a Low Activity Level like Trivia, Jenga-like Game, or Shopping Show (I really wanted to see The Excursion Show but, Brunch ran Late that Day.) “Why am I sitting here when I should be Outside soaking in The Sun?!” I talked to SueVa about it later and We both came up The Conclusion that If You went Outside (like on The Lido Deck), There would be a lot of Activity. As Much as We were Together, We were only Separated One Morning because I slept in a Bit and They went to Breakfast (We met up after I woke up) and, In The Evening, when It was Edward’s Bedtime Routine. That took time getting used to having Time to Myself in the Late Evening, but after a while, I took it by The Horns and I would go and take a Walk to Some of My Favorite Parts of The Ship or to Watch whatever After-Party There was after The Show that We watched. Other Times, It would be a Performance or even Trivia Game in The Atrium to watch. I enjoyed walking to The Back and Side of The Sip to Watch and Listen to The Ocean. Anytime We were Outside or on The Lido Deck during the Day, I would love to just sit and watch The Blue Ocean go by. My Favorite Places were Back of The Lido Deck and on The 5th Deck, Lanai. So, The Excursions followed Somewhat of The Same Theme of Activity and Calm. 
So, In Roatan, referred to as “Isle Roatan” (Pronounced “Row-Ah-Tahn”), All of Us hopped in a Taxi and took a Tour of The Island. We went to both sides of The Island, both East End and West End. East End is more Local and Poor, where as West End is more Upscale and Touristy. So, The High Activity was going to Mayan Eden where They had a Monkey Park and a Canopy. I personally, did not want to do The Monkeys so, I took The Zip Line option. The Zip Line was Something that I wanted to do on This Trip, It was The Whole Reason that I wanted to go to “Isle Roatan”. But, Once I got to Roatan, I figured that If We were going to Zip Line, then We were, but If not, that was Okay too. I got more comfortable driving around Roatan in The Taxi. To Say that The Zip line was a Challenge, would be an Understatement. However, Marvin gave me The Option to do it or not, and He gave me The Support I needed to do it. At The Beginning, due to Liability Reasons, I had Sign My Life away (without My Guardian, Mom to look over It) which gave me Anxiety. Once I got going, My Anxiety was Okay, that until I started spinning and I was sure if I was supposed to or Not. and My Hands went Everywhere to reach for The Brake which I had to use My “Strong Hand” which was not that Strong. The Low Activity part of Roatan was going to Local Restaurant that Marvin loves to go to and Eat an Authentic Honduran Lunch. Believe It or Not, Several People eating Lunch together recognized Me asking I was who I was. Marvin, SueVa, and I joked around it later saying “You can’t even go on a Cruise without being Recognized!”. 
After Roatan, was a High Activity Carnival Excursion to Lamanai Ruins. All of Us actually climbed The Tallest Pyramid that was The 3rd Tallest Building in Belize. It was Very Hot that Day, like 95 Degrees with Humidity. The River Boat going out to The Ruins and back was a Nice Break from The Heat. Every Now and Then, There was a Breeze in The Air that really helped cool us off. 
On The Final Port Day was Cozumel. On this Day, We took it a lot more Easier than The Day before. We took a Taxi Tour of The Island and The Mayan Ruins. We visited a Beach Resort; Punta Sur; Lava Rocks (We were Very Careful about that!); and, I wanted to go someplace Local to Eat Lunch, and We asked The Taxi Driver for a Suggestion and He took us a Very Local Place. We were the Only Tourists that were at This Place. It was actually a Restaurant in a Neighborhood. After that, We went back to The Pier and Hopped on The Boat. Once We were back on The Boat, We People watched a lot and Did My Favorite Thing... watching The Ocean. All in all, It was a Big Deal for Me to do This but, at the Same Time, I was with People who understand PTLS and How It Works. SueVa found a lot of Similarities between Edward and I, like Humming and Riding The Glass Elevator over and over. SueVa also learned a lot about Not Only Edward but, Adult Life with PTLS.

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. Vacations are seen Differently through Different Eyes.