Learning Curve

Posted by jennifer gibson on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Under: June 2018

Moving from a small, rural community to a large city was a big change for me in many ways. Ironically, it’s the same city that I grew up in, except that it has morphed into a metropolis over the last decade. It was virtually unrecognizable when I first drove in, I was surrounded by brand new tall condos, lots of superstores and restaurants. The streets looked different too, the landscape had changed over time. 

For me, it was a new beginning, a fresh start and exciting stage in my life. I know that this is what my mother would’ve wanted, there is something special about living in the same place that she grew up in. It’s like they say in Lion King, where we’ve come full circle in life. Living independently and looking after my fur-babies has given me the opportunity to really appreciate what I can do, especially as someone with a disability. 

In some ways, it’s eerily reminiscent of being in college all over again, away from home and my familiar surroundings. Although, this time I’m much older and wiser. I’m doing less sports these days to avoid the endless trips to the ER and broken bones. I’m living a slower pace that is a reflection of being mindful to myself. There has been a change in my soul that needs to be more grounded and spiritually attuned.

Everyday is a learning curve for me, whether it’s meeting my new neighbours, discovering cute shops around the corner or finding a local floral garden for photography purposes. Most of all, it’s the sounds of this city that surprise me the most. Here, it’s quite different from home, where I was surrounded by cows mooing across the field, the Canada Geese honking from a nearby pond and loud chirps of the tree frogs in my backyard. 

Since I’m living in a new environment, there have been sounds that I didn’t recognize.The other day, I was sitting by the window, doing Sudoku, when I noticed a repetitive pattern. Baffled, I got up and walked around the apartment, trying to find the source of the odd sound. Then, when I leaned closer to the window and looked up, I realized that it the was from the patter of large raindrops on the maple leaves. It sounded different here because it echoed between the buildings. 

Living here means that there is a constant bombardment of noise, from the wail of the fire trucks down the road, to the dogs barking in the neighbourhood, and metallic clanging of the construction crew beside our building. On top of that, there is another layer of sound, the soft hiss of the cars on the road, thumping bass of music nearby, and growling thrum of a motorcycle. 

Throughout the day, there is a wave of sounds, that changes as the day goes on. In some ways, it’s oddly comforting and familiar. I typically find myself cranking up the volume on Bruce Springsteen or Enrique Iglesias, to drown out the crescendo of the nearby construction. It’s not until I hear the loud blare of the horn signalling the end of the shift for those workers that I know it will become quieter to some degree. The cats have figured out what that horn means, it’s suppertime for them. Usually when I working at my desk and look down, I will find them sitting by my feet, meowing at me vociferously. At this point, I have to deal with the loud clatter of the plates, beeps from the microwave, and rush of water from the faucet. 

Even though rush hour is over and evening begins to fall, there are still sounds of activity from outside. There are usually kids playing hockey on the street, with the distinctive slap of hockey sticks on the pavement, to the loud booming music being played on someone’s patio as they relax with their drinks. 

I’m constantly surprised by what I hear, usually for the first time in my life. Growing up with basic analog hearing aids didn’t provide the rich learning environment that I have today. As a result, there is a gap of information in my brain that is trying to determine what I’m hearing in my surroundings. Today, I wear digital Oticon super power BTE’s (Chili) that process this source of stimuli for me and I never know what I will hear next. 

There is an ebb and flow to the sounds of this city that has it’s own distinctive personality. I call it Life. 

In : June 2018 

Tags: "hearing aids" oticon  disability 
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