Monday, July 17, 2006
There's Feist looking all feisty the other night. She pretty much rocked.
Onto the rest o' the questions.
From Adam, who I may be having lunch with tomorrow because he's actually in town. Yay!
Yep, born and raised. Everything keeps me here. The ocean, the mountains, the excellent-if-somewhat-too-rainy climate, the great skiing, the friendly people, the generally tolerant social and political situation, my family, great friends, Canada geese, good food, BC wines, vibrant local culture, the beaches, the night life, the Folk Fest, the theatre, my favourite video store, the eclectic fun of Commercial Drive, the funky stores and restaurants on Main Street, and the list goes on. No matter where I go in the world, I am always, always sad to leave Vancouver and always thrilled to come back to it.
Haha! Because it's the summer and all the beautiful people come out to play. The girls are also insanely hot in the summer and they're all wearing short skirts and it's all terribly overstimulating. More seriously, it's because British Columbians and especially Vancouverites lead a pretty healthy lifestyle when compared to the rest of the country. We smoke less, we're less overweight, we eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and we exercise more. Plus we're terribly vain and spend hours and hours working on our appearance. Haha.
I like to think there are a lot of things that make us different. We say 'eh,' a lot. No, really. You can take that stereotype and run with it. I say 'eh' all the fucking time. I suppose we also have better access to decent quality healthcare and social services, and our politicians are generally not trying to pass ludicrous amendments to protect the flag and ban abortions. We have gay marriage. Our military is really, really weak, and I for one am completely okay with that. We're peacekeepers for the most part, and we don't tend to exert a lot of international influence. Our Prime Minister definitely wants to be a cowboy, but he's really just a dorky middle-aged guy who's started wearing his glasses all the time. Are we better than the U.S.? No, not so much. American liberals have much bigger mountains to climb, and frankly I think that makes you guys better climbers.
From Ron, who apparently chose "not to go with 'lesbian' questions because others will, and because you are much more complex than just one subject." Now I'm thinking it's funny that no one brought up that topic at all. Well, it's not too late.
1) List all the countries you have visited, which was the least favourite, and tell what happened there:
Wow. What a good question. Okay, I've been to the U.S., Mexico, Greenland, Denmark, Norway, (both for an hour, and I didn't leave the airport....does it still count?), England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Portugal, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Holland, and Turkey. And...I still don't feel like I'm much of a traveller.
My least favourite? That's a tough one, because everywhere has its upsides and downsides. I had the worst hangover of my life in Turkey, and witnessed my friend sending money to her Romanian boyfriend who she didn't know at the time was scamming her out of thousands of dollars. But I didn't dislike Turkey. It was fascinating and dirty and dark and strange. I found the people in Estonia to be pretty hard and cold, especially when they found out I didn't speak Estonian. I was all alone in Tallinn, and it was probably the first time in my European trip that I felt really, truly homesick. Mexico was wonderful and relaxing but the world outside our cushy resort was pretty gritty, poor, and polluted. If travelling has taught me anything, though, it's that First World comforts do not necessarily make a place more interesting to visit. Clean and beautiful Switzerland could be truly alienating and sterile at times. And Turkey could be the warmest place on earth when I was sitting on colourful carpets and drinking apple tea.
My favourite English prof had this exam question that he always used to use. To paraphrase it poorly it was "Which work from this course did you enjoy the least, and describe the flaws that this reveals in your own personality." I'm pretty sure that this applies here as well. Any pickiness about travelling on my part has to reflect on my inability to fully appreciate and understand another place and another culture, and thus any bad experiences I had I can't really blame on the country. To some extent, I have to blame my bad experiences on my inability to shrug and move on. I've made loads of mistakes, and I know it. Bad things happen everywhere, and the only way to enjoy a place is to really find the positives in every single country you visit.
2) Who influenced your political and social ideas? Parents, friends, gum wrappers, or other -- or just on your own?
Everything has influenced my political and social ideas in one way or another. My parents have had a huge influence -- both of them are pretty much lifelong advocates for peace, social justice, and equality, and we share more or less the same views on most things political. High school and university helped to shape and develop some of my ideas. My friends sometimes have more of an influence than they realise, and I particularly admire people like Cait, Dag, and Jag's friend Daisy who hold a lot of ethical convictions that they don't let slide when the conversation gets a bit uncomfortable.
My stance on gay rights has remained pretty much unchanged since I was about four years old and spending time with my aunt's best friend, a delightfully funny, intelligent, and charismatic gay man who was dying of AIDS. I remember knowing instinctively that gay bashing and homophobia weren't okay long before anyone spelled it out for me. I've always felt very strongly that sexual orientation should never be cause for discrimination, and I was absolutely committed to equal rights long before I'd even considered my own sexuality as something even remotely different from the mainstream.
7) What would you do with a million dollars?
Ah, the old million dollar question. I'd probably end up doing a lot of research before I decided which charity to give some of it to. I wouldn't give it all to charity, because I'm just not that pure of heart. I'd make sure that my grandmother could live in comfort for the rest of her life. I'd buy my parents a boat. I'd get my brother a decent pair of headphones and book him on the next plane to Barcelona. I'd send myself to grad school somewhere excellent, and get an apartment where I could walk around naked whenever I wanted to because it would be my place, no roommates, and no little brown beetles either. I'd take Hayley to dinner at Lumiere. And then I'd make her quit her job and fly us both to Montreal and then to Australia. I guess the rest of it would sit in a vault somewhere guarded by little subterranean gnomes in preparation for another rainy day.
And now since I'm not a millionaire I really, really have to do something about those beetles.