Personal Appearance: Part 1

As I am writing this I am sitting on the campus of Penn State University and waiting for the closing ceremonies of the Summer Academy. My adventure is half way over! [The Summer Academy was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.]

So far the most stressful thing of the whole event was realizing I half read the calendar wrong! I was thinking Career Day was Friday but in actuality it was Thursday. Gads! Fortunately my husband was able to get me to the campus in plenty of time.

I had hoped to have time to network but I only really spoke with one service provider, a woman who told me about the Centers for Independent Living, and her beautiful, sweet guide dog, Virgil. OK. That was two service providers but Virgil was not very helpful at providing information.

I promise to look up centers for independent living and write a page on that soon. And FYI, this woman is totally blind and working full time. Can be done with the right tools, skills and attitudes.

And speaking of totally blind, most of the kids are not. Totally blind that is. Many of them are congenital glaucoma or things I had no idea what they were.  Many causes and one result.

I met one kiddo with Stargardt’s Disease. Remember that is the early version of AMD. I promised him he would see someday. If there are any researchers out there, try to make sure I was not lying. I have faith I was not.

Anyway, for the most part, amazing kids with amazing attitudes and some of them have amazing plans. I met one who was depressed and fearful in the face of vision loss. Pretty good ratio. We grow ’em strong in Pennsylvania.

The presentations were small group. I never had more than three at a time and we got to chat. Not at all stressful or terrorizing.

I was able to walk to the hotel and, after checking out the downtown, spent a quiet evening with my BARD book. This morning I got up and wandered until I found a convenience market for breakfast. Then I set my GPS for the bus station. I needed to find it and confirm my information.

I don’t know about you, but I am horrid on directions. The only place I can quickly point out northwest or northeast is standing in front of my childhood home. Beyond that, clueless. I walked around in circles a few times but I did manage to walk across campus and find the venue for the closing ceremonies. Next I want to find the art gallery, the creamery and the arboretum. Wish me luck. 

Visual impairment on top of directional impairment can be, shall we say, interesting.

Tomorrow I can get a shuttle to the bus station and after that the real adventure starts. I have to admit, I am cheating. I am taking the bus slightly less than two hours and then being picked up. I have trouble spending seven hours in transit for what should be a two hour straight shot. Call me spoiled and I will agree with you. I am not doing it just for the experience. I already know it would stink.

So far my first adventure away by myself has been pretty good. Not sure now what I was anxious about. It has also been my first foray into “the land of the blind”. (How do you like that for dramatic?) Not all that nerve wracking either. Hoping to work some of the connections and pull some of the strings I now have. See where they lead. Maybe I can find some info for a page or two.

Gotta go. 15 minute until the ceremony!

written July 28th, 2017

Next: Personal Appearance: Part 2

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