Tolerance and Empathy

Today our capital city is practically shut down because of weather.  The whole East coast and some of the South is 'slammed' as they put it on the news.  I was outside walking this morning with a beautiful, blue sky to look at and pink and white blossoms everywhere.  I call Las Vegas, my Colorado in the desert.  We have palm trees and evergreens, and we see mountains any way we look.  My sister and I have even climbed Mt. Charleston a few times; it's 18 miles to the top and back.

Isn't it amazing how our weather and habitat affect us? Because I am from a place where "they have more sunny days per year than any other place in the nation", I once read about Denver, I love the outdoors, and I have a perky personality.  I went to college in Seattle, WA, where the Seattle rain festival lasts from September to May".  It was a great place to study because you have to be inside, but the weather really affected me.  It's different when the sky is right down over your head, and you have to stay inside.  I remember writing home and saying "It's gray and raining again".  In that kind of weather, you have to make your own vim and vigor, because it didn't come naturally to me.  In school there, I had a professor from England who read to us from a book, "It was a cold, dark, damp, dreary day" in a way that I knew he had lived it.

When I meet people now, I try to guess where they're from.  I've been lucky enough to travel to at least 40 different states and 14 countries. Every place is an opportunity to learn from the people you meet.  It's interesting to me because our different habitats affect who we are.  If I know where someone is from, it gives me a basis from which to start to get to know them.  It may have seemed funny to some people, we grew up always travelling to Mexico. We didn't have any beaches in Colorado.  My friends from Hawaii were born on an island, and they came to see me to go skiing in our mountains (that we took for granted).  It's just one example, but I think if we have some awareness of where each other is from, then we can build more tolerance, sympathy and empathy for each other.  It works for me because I love to travel.