Monday, January 10, 2011

Southwards to Ka Lae

Tomorrow we will take a two hour bus ride to check out a new farm located near the southern tip of the Big Island, actually the southernmost point in the USA. The people there have gone to great lengths to preserve the native trees on their property which is admirable as many residents on the island choose to flatten their acres completely. The trees create a wind break in this particularly windy area known for wind farms and the freshest air in the world. I'm really looking forward to seeing a different part of the island and we'll be riding the bus through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Pretty cool.

This weekend was a welcome respite from our travel schedule, allowing me to catch up on correspondence (skype!) and giving us a chance to plan our next move. We've both felt pretty overwhelmed by the fact that we've been here on Hawaii for a month and have only seen a tiny portion of the island. It will be really good for us to move on to a completely different scenery.

I've been spending a lot of time this weekend following the news on the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Having spent much of the past two years traveling around and living in America, I have become much more interested in news here and abroad. There is something about the heated political atmosphere of this country that is way more engaging than that of Canada's stuffy parliamentary system. That being said, most of my Canadian friends are well-informed and unbiased thinkers who seek out many sources before forming opinions.

I, like many Americans, react emotionally to everything so it is a great resource to me to have friends like these who I can take a cue from and see the bigger picture represented by many perspectives and cultural influences. As a highly effusive, emotional person, I give thanks to the rational!

I reflect often on the subtle differences between the US and Canada. I've met many intelligent young Americans who are university educated and still react to the word "socialism" as if it's an attack on their essential liberty. Yet, we are often asked by Americans what it is like to have universal health care. My reply is always, "Awesome!"

I don't feel pride in my nationality, rather I feel fortunate for it. We recently acquired a wonderful friend with type 1 diabetes. He is so busy worrying about where the money for his insulin is going to come from that he doesn't have time to chat about politics. He is also one of the most open-minded people I've met in America. Sweet and unassuming and resilient, he is an example of what is most important; the value of human life.

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