Haifa, Israel — Israel is a country that is beautiful from all angles. My time here has just begun, but I am already in love with the architecture, the land, the history and the passion of the people who live here. No matter what your political leanings, you can’t help but admire the spirit and strength that is tangible at every turn, from the smallest alley market to the grandest temples to the local bar. And the people are incredibly welcoming. They just want you to know as much as they can share and to let you feel like a piece of it, too.
Cape Town — The captain of our ship rerouted us to help avoid the tropical storm off the coast of Africa. It would not be fun on a ship if it got any rougher than it already has. As we were going around the Cape of Good Hope (also known as the Cape of Storms), the crew went through and tied everything down to the ship. I just hope we hit most of it at night so I can sleep through it, and I don’t want to have to clean up my room after it. If we hit really big waves everyone has to clean their rooms because everything ends up on the ground.
Santiago, Chile — Why are Americans so afraid of strangers? A Chilean professor explained to me that Americans act cold when exchanging salutations and goodbyes. We Americans live with much unnecessary paranoia and preoccupation that prevents us from interacting with those we do not know. Perhaps we are so caught up in the day-to-day cycle of our lives, so consumed by material possessions, that we miss those wonderful opportunities to broaden our perspectives that come free from a friendly new face. But hey, in the words of my professor, “At least you Americans aren’t as cold and paranoid as the British.”