Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Not Obsessed with Hawaii

Last night I dreamed about Australia.

I'm in Australia with my parents. We're hanging out with some other American tourists. There's a young man with us happily and proudly talking about how he chatted up an Australian girl.  He talks about how he told her he'll be studying overseas, as if this means he'll be close to her. But it seems he's not studying in Australia. My mom tries to tell him that he'll be quite far away from her.

Later I approach the young American and ask if he likes movies. I ask this because I want to suggest that he watch some Australian films. But no, he doesn't like to watch movies. I then talk about how it would be a good idea for him to learn about Australia. He can watch movies, read books, visit blogs, etc. I tell him you can't really learn about Australia just by talking to a few of the locals.  Australians will be polite to American tourists and give you the idea that they all love America. But that's not always exactly true.

I think of blogs I can recommend to him. The only one I can think off the top of my head is Andrew's. I also think of my own, but decide it would be arrogant to recommend it.

The thing is, though, the man doesn't seem very receptive to what I'm saying. He seems somewhat annoyed by me.

The conversation comes to an end. Or really, my lecture comes to an end.

But then I think of something and return. I suggest to him that maybe he's not really interested in learning about Australia. And that's fine. I tell him about how I want to Hawaii, and couldn't care less about learning about the place. I just wanted to have fun.

Anyway, I dreamed this and then had a bit of a coincidence. Everyday I read one of my old posts from this blog. Today I read one that talks about Hawaii.

I wrote:

 But I think I was referring to the fact that they showed Sydney on Lost. Although they really didn't. They showed Hawaii, and pretended it was Sydney. So maybe my past life was in Hawaii. Maybe I'm supposed to be obsessed with Hawaii, and I've really screwed things up. I doubt it, though. I've been to Hawaii three times and don't feel any huge connection to it. And my favorite thing about Hawaii last time was that my Australian friends were there. And the other times, the most special thing about Hawaii is that we were stopping off there on the way to and from Australia. 

Yeah. Well...I just thought the coincidence was kind of interesting. I'm not sure if it means anything.

As for my dream last night. I wonder what IS the best way to learn about a country. Let's say someone's interest falls between my obsession with Australia and my lack of interest in learning about Hawaii.  Is my dream right—that it's better to watch movies than to talk to locals? Or maybe my dream was saying you need to do both.

Can someone get a good education about a country without doing any background research. Can you learn enough by just experiencing the landscape and talking to locals?  I think in most cases you can't unless you're going beyond the usual tourist stuff.

For example, if by locals you mean "tour guides", then I don't think this is going to give you a full picture.

However....

I did very minimal research before our first trip to Australia. In Australia, I talked to several people who weren't tour guides—just regular people going about their lives.  But I don't think I really was knowledgable about Australia until after that trip, when I started reading blogs, doing research, watching TV shows, reading a huge amount of books, listening to Australian music, etc.

I think, though, that what I said was true in my dream. You don't always have to visit a place so you can learn about it...to educate yourself. Sometimes you go just to seek enjoyment.  And I think that's fine.