So, I was at the 6th annual Knox Asian Festival on Sunday, a beautiful celebration with so many diverse visitors. My booth was right outside the food vendor area, and I saw some delicious-looking meals and smelled some wonderful smells throughout the day. There were countless intricate costumes representing various Asian countries and fascinating rhythms as various artists performed behind us.
This was my first time at this festival, so I had no idea how many interactions were in store for me. So many people are interested in learning another language, and we hope to supply that need in Knoxville. I was so excited to announce that we are now able to offer French, Spanish, Japanese and possibly Mandarin classes beginning in October!
To be completely honest, I did have two favorite interactions during the festival. One young teenager greeted me in ASL. She also signed a likely response and waited. I finally understood what she wanted and signed back, “I’m good.” It was a quick but humbling experience. I immediately wanted to know how to say more, but I can only very slowly sign my name. Once she realized that, she asked, “Do you offer ASL?” I had to admit that we currently don’t. I’ve wanted to offer this world language before, but now more than ever! Are you or do you know an ASL teacher? If you do, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can make it happen!
My other favorite interaction was with three young high school students. They excitedly approached me to explain their new mission. They are starting an Asian Culture and Language after-school club at their school. One young lady wants to teach language but was unsure where to start. I told her that we like to keep it practical around TLC. If I’m learning a language, I’d much rather know how to say, “how are you?” and possible answers than know how to conjugate “are” without being able to use it in a sentence. I suggested teaching simple phrases in context with a lot of listening and repeating. After all, that’s how we all learned our very first language, and it’s the one we know the best!
These were also my youngest interactions from the festival, and I am so very thankful that a heart-felt interest in learning other cultures and languages is continuing into the next generation. Thank you, Knoxville, for sharing your best side with me this weekend.