Feb 15, 2005

I wasn't given too many choices for student workstudy jobs this semester. I could have been a note taker for a disabled student, but I don't exactly enjoy taking notes nor have the best handwriting. Almost every other job would have required me to be fluent in the Hawaiian language, have taken higher level chemistry or economics courses, or meant answering telephones and talking to humans on a regular basis. So, I chose a job on the university farm, about five miles from the main campus. I have never minded doing outdoor nursery work, and this is a place in which I would rather be outdoors.

On the second day, I found myself pulling piglets out of a pen, one by one, and holding their back legs down while an animal science student injected a vaccination agent in them. They were all rowdy as a litter of puppies, and most of them squealed like the sky was falling until they were returned to their mother. As I held them by the chest with my left hand, I could feel their little racing hearts and the heat of their bodies. Somehow, I get the feeling this job may cause me to be even more sympathetic toward animals, should that be possible. The more time I spend with animals, the more I appreciate them. I do not enjoy hearing their cries of discomfort, much less being a cause of it--but I always enjoy being around them. I just hope I will not be asked to assist with the slaughtering or euthanasia of an animal, as I am not sure how I would handle it. At any rate, this is a fairly painless job thus far, and yet another reference for the future--though I don't see how circumstances could ever place me on a path towards being a farmer.

It's time to assess where I am academically, if only for my own benefit. All my general education requirements are completed, and I have only two courses left to take to satisfy all my requirements for my Geography and Environmental Studies major in the fall. I must select two courses for summer school (running from mid-May to early June), and the only requirement is that they must be upper division courses. Here are the ones that look the most promising:

Eng 485, Writing for the Worldwide Web
HPE 495, Science of Diet and Weight Control
Soc 394, Cross Cultural Leadership Styles
Psy 320, Developmental Psychology
Psy 323, Community Psychology (online)
Rels 394, Jesus in Movies

Yes, they are actually offering a course called Jesus in Movies. It'll be like getting 3 credits for watching the religious channel everyday. Show me the path to transformation! I can hardly contain this sensation of giddiness that overcomes me when I think of graduating. Three years ago, I was ready to admit to myself I would never make it all the way through. I didn't do much in Arizona besides goof around and overwork myself in the freight industry, but university in Hawaii is much different from community college in Glendale, and I have learned to establish a very good work ethic. To borrow a famous phrase from Calvin & Hobbes, I have 'built character,' and lots of it, through the challenges and hardships of college. I suppose the reward of all this hard work will be getting a job I actually desire in a place I want to be in.

Hawaii is beautiful. One of the most beautiful places on Earth. The Big Island is like an ultra-miniature continent, with all its different climate zones and geomorphic features. It has arid deserts, semi-arid deserts, grasslands, tundras, glacial features, an active shield volcano, cinder cones galore, the tallest mountain in the world, alpine zones, sub-alpine zones, temperate forests, rain forests, beaches, dramatic amphitheater valleys, rivers, lava tubes, and otherworldly landscapes characterised by fields of barren rock and mysterious craters. It doesn't quite have the wettest spot on Earth, though. That title belongs to Kauai, whose Mt. Waialeale receives nearly 450 inches of rain annually. The rainiest area on this island receives only a little over 300 inches, which is still acceptable, I suppose. The beauty is often so intense it cannot be taken for granted even after countless years of living here. I came to this realisation on my way back to my apartment last weekend. I was driving along the mountain road. Downslope, golden tropical sunshine drenched the shores of the leeward coast and rained down upon the vast blue sea, stretching out to the horizon boundlessly. I looked in the opposite direction and witnessed over the green grassy rolling hills a vivid rainbow against a backdrop of dark, low rain clouds. The cool Pacific trade winds were driving drizzly rain sideways into the realm of sunshine, and the end result was little short of breathtaking. Farther down the road, Mauna Kea came into view, its summit crowned with pure white snow. I stopped and took another picture of the vista, despite my having done so several times before. Many traffic accidents here occur as a result of the driver taking in the scenery a little too much. Indeed, I could never get completely tired of this place... there is simply too much natural beauty. That is to say nothing of the culture. People are generally as warm as the sunshine here. Accepting, too. It's an ultra-liberal place to live. It's as far away from America one can get and still be considered part of America. The cultural diversity is tremendous. The air is among the purest in the world. The ocean is eighty degrees warm in February. The only recreational activity that is seasonally dependent is skiing or sledding in the winter snow on the mountain.

So why would I ever want to leave? Simply, there is much more out there to see. This is but a tiny little crumb on the lithosphere. It's a precious crumb, but still a mere crumb. I long to see new places and meet new faces. I cannot dismiss the likelihood of eventually coming back here to live out the rest of my life, but I want to see some of the rest of the world, first. I feel it will make me appreciate paradise all the more, as three years of metropolitan life in Arizona certainly did. I wish to live in a temperate climate again, so that I may experience a proper cold winter. There are exotic locales abound elsewhere, and I am a young, ambitious pup. So, once I break out of school, my first real job will likely be situated on the U.S. mainland somewhere... most likely in the westernmost states. California, Oregon, and Washington all seem appealing. Fortunately, the rest of my family seems very willing to assist in my getting all this together, as well.

Provolone is calling my name.

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