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Showing posts from November, 2017

Giving Thanks

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For many Americans, the celebration of Thanksgiving is complicated and full of paradoxes.  On the one hand, Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for the harvest season and for having food and shelter, and a time to come together with family and friends to appreciate each other's company and health.  It's a time for generosity and understanding.  It's a warm and cozy celebration of togetherness in the midst of the world's craziness.  On the other hand, however, the holiday seems unjustified when considering our past and the events that led us here.  Although we like to think of Thanksgiving as a peaceful time of good company and good food, it also unfortunately represents the large-scale genocide of Native people on this land, the tragedy and warfare that tarnished America's beginnings, and the disagreements that people have always had because of cultural differences.  It makes me stop and wonder, for what are we giving thanks?
Awareness of cultural diversity …

Hawai'i Vacation Part 2: O'ahu

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O'ahu

Our final destination of our Hawaiian vacation was the island of O'ahu, where were stayed in a boutique hotel in Waikiki.  The location couldn't be better!  We had gorgeous views of the beach from our upper-level hotel room and we were within walking distance of dozens of shops and restaurants.  I did some window shopping at the high-end stores in Waikiki, sampled the famous cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company (I'm hooked!), ordered a macadamia nut latte, enjoyed a fresh poke bowl and pineapple boat for lunch, and bought some gifts and souvenirs, all within walking distance of our hotel.  Across the street, right along the beach, there was a huge banyan tree where birds congregated.  I couldn't believe how loud it was with birds chirping and talking to each other in the tree!  Once again we were blessed with gorgeous sunsets over the ocean.  

We only had a few days on O'ahu, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would considering how populated and…

Hawai'i Vacation Part 1: Maui and the Big Island

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We just returned from an unforgettable family vacation to the Hawaiian islands!  We have been planning this trip for almost a year, since Ady was just a few weeks old.  One of Jaycob's ambitions was to compete in the Xterra World Championships, a strenuous and elite off-road triathlon on Maui, and when he registered for the race last December we decided to plan a family vacation around the event.
We visited three of the islands during this trip: Maui, the Big Island, and O'ahu.  I learned that each island has its own personality.  Individual islands also have their own unique geographical features, and even within each island there is a large variety in geography, climate and vegetation.  What amazed me most about Hawai'i was its fascinating ecosystem and its isolation from the rest of the world.  Hawai'i is incredibly unique because it is so far from any other land mass and so young (relatively speaking) compared to other regions.  In fact, the Big Island is actually s…