International Date Line!

Trip Start Aug 26, 2006
Trip End Dec 08, 2006

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Today, we are officially halfway to Japan. HOORAY!!! Currently, I am 8 hours behind all of you in Ohio, however, I will be passing the international dateline tomorrow, loosing September 7, 2006 for ever, and will be ahead of you tomorrow. Crazy.

The second set of trips came out today - I got on all of my first choices (I'll be spending a day with a Japanese house visit, going through the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam as well as a service visit in Vietnam for a school for handicapped children, attending a health unit for the public in India, spending 4 days in Cairo/Luxor in Egypt, and 3 days in Western Turkey visiting the Ionian Civilizations (if there's a Lanny Spaulding reading this, I WILL get to see Greek influence!!!)

Many trips got canceled due to lack of interest or bumped due to too much interest. News on my trip to Spain: I will be doing some independent traveling with some friends to Madrid and hopefully Toledo (after we take in a Flamenco dance performance) - one of the girls goes to the American University in Madrid, so we'll be traveling with her (hooray!!!) It's a great way to see what Spain is really like (and saves me a ridiculous amount of money). I think a lot of people felt the Spain trips were over priced as 3 of the 4 trips were canceled due to lack of interest.

We gained another hour last night, but I got up early for sunrise yoga with some of the girls on the ship. It was very serene - especially since it was lightly misting... well until the end and then it was a steady rain. Still, refreshing.

We're having a BBQ tonight followed by a showing of one of my favorite comedies, "Wedding Crashers" (I don't know what it is about this movie... the witty banter... the depth of the psychological disturbance of the characters, the utter hillarity?). Yea. Can't wait.

Trying to get everything ready for Japan - some friends and I are working on a trip to Kyoto and maybe a hike up Mt. Fuji. Tokyo's just too far away for the three days I have before Hiroshima and my Japanese Home visit (and it's not cost efficient at all).

Note for those of you interested in my bioethics course:

Today we discussed the insane importance of having a 'Durable Power of Attorney for Health care' which is basically a legal document of what actions will be take if you are ill and cannot make your own decisions. Due to the Terry Schiavo case, this has become extremely important - who will make those decisions for you? Parents? Spouse? Best Friend? This document outlines that as well as what actions would be taken in the case of a permanent vegetative state (we discussed a case where the parents decision was not accepted due to the lack of written records of decision by the patient, their daughter) or in any sort of organ donation. In the state of California, for example, (where my professor resides), There is no 'hierarchy' of responsible parties (parents, then siblings... etc.) instead, the decision is determined by "the individual who knew the patient in the greatest capacity". In Japan, it is the eldest son who makes decisions for his parents; also, if an individual in Japan wishes to donate their organs and has proper legal documentation, the family can override the decision. (This is common due to the high value placed on the concept of the collectivist society of Japan).

Just in case, so you all know, if there's ever any question: I would never want to remain in a persistent vegetative state; please donate my organs accordingly.

A little morbid, but terribly interesting, nonetheless. Something for you all to think about... Just wait - we've got a lecture coming up about the difference between the collectivist thinking in Japan vs. the individualistic thinking of the U.S.!!! So many different ways of thinking... it's very stimulating and I love the classes!

On a brighter note, my laundry came back today - washed and pressed... and it's time for me to head outside for our BBQ night and movie! Much love to everyone in the States!

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