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Thursday, July 1, 2010

London: Meeting Tina (Funny Old Life)

While in London, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Tina aka Funny Old Life. We met on a Sunday afternoon at the Imperial War Museum. I chose this venue because I knew my son would be well entertained exploring the museum on his own while I had a chat with Tina.

I met Tina at the museum's front entrance. I already knew what she looked like from photos and that she'd be accompanied by her service dog, Smudge so it was no trouble to spot her. We went inside to the museum's cafe for a snack where Smudge was a big hit with the other patrons, young and old alike. He was very well behaved settling down on the floor while Tina and I talked.

As you may know if you read Tina's blog I Look So I Can Hear, she got a cochlear implant this spring. I was interested to learn more about how she is doing with it and getting to know her better in general. The two of us were able to communicate quite well. Occasionally we used a notepad when we couldn't understand each other but part of that was due to the different ways we use our common language English. For example, did you know that "getting the mickey out" means to make fun of someone?

After awhile, we left the cafe and visited a tranquil Tibetan peace garden located on the museum grounds. Smudge got to remove his little coat that marks him as a service dog and run free off leash. Soon he met up with another doggie that looked exactly like him but a bit bigger. The two dogs had quite a lot of fun exploring together.

Tina had some interesting stories to tell about her experiences with Smudge. The scariest was that he had recently fallen off the tube station platform. Yikes. The funniest stories were the ones where people misunderstood Smudge's capabilities. For example, once when Tina asked a man for directions, he bent down and told them to Smudge instead of her!

I really enjoyed hearing Tina talk about her interest in photography. It was marvelous to get to know her better and our time together was all too short. I truly hope our paths will cross again. Until then, we'll be keeping in touch online.

If you'd like to know more about Smudge, check out his blog Just Smudge.


Funnyoldlife said...

Hi Sarah!
The photos of Smudge are so cute. I miss him - I'm working in Dubai at the moment but I go home tomorrow. It was lovely to meet you too and hear about your job and how amazingly well you cope with your hearing loss. I am amazed at how tiny your HAs are, I couldn't see them and you cope brilliantly. Do shout me next time you're in London!

Anonymous said...

Shh. LOL

Not sure what a tube station is. I assume it is like a train station, since you in London?

Thanks for sharing.


kim said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I've been a big fan of tina's for a long time. It's so great you have gotten to meet the British bloggers we all love and enjoy.

Liz said...

I've never met Tina yet. But I first came across her on The Deaf Village forum, who made me feel very welcomed. She recommended when I decided to start blogging. I was already reading hers by then.

From the photos she seems really nice. I'm glad you both enjoyed your time together.

kym said...

You are so fortunate to meet two friends in London. Well, three...I can't forget Smudge!

What an adorable name...did either of you sign while together or when you had your visit with Liz?

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Kym,
Smudge is named for a little white patch on his chest. If you look closely at the 3rd photo, you can see it.
No, we didn't sign. England has their own sign language - BSL which I don't know at all.
I also met another blogger buddy which I'll be writing about soon.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi BigBenFactor,
Yes, a tube station is a train station.