Tess & I are getting ready for our Big Trip. She asked for one thing when she graduated high school. Nothing major. Just, you know, Japan.

We’ve spent the last year saving. Both of us doing odd, extra, jobs. A little ebay. A little German craigslist. A little help from Dave. A year of anticipating and now, suddenly, it’s here! Almost two months ahead of schedule. Sometimes (who am I kidding, always) life surprises you.

Nick is stationed in Japan, and we have to keep his schedule in mind. Dave has training coming up. Tickets are incredibly affordable right now. So. We are going right now. As in, this time next week we will be on a plane to Japan. It’s real. It’s happening! Much to my dads’ dismay.

I’m now getting daily emails on the dangers of the Coronavirus. The one in China. Affecting 200 people. I’m barely flying over China. He’s decided he’s okay with it as long as I avoid Asians. In Japan. Or stay six feet away. Or, fine, just don’t hug them!!!

Before anyone gets upset, he’s just worried about his baby’s (me) safety. This is pure love. No hate intended here. Tess & I are on a sambucus nigra regiment. Building up our immune systems. I ordered some cute masks off Amazon. I’m not worried about Coronavirus, but my dad is and I love him right back. It’s the least I can do.

There is a lot of hate in the world. Sometimes it even comes from me. I can get so angry at injustice, unfairness, meanness. I hate mean. Most of my hate goes towards mean. I’m anti-mean. It’s Martin Luther King week in the US. Technically it was just Monday, on his special day, but all week he’s back in the news. Back in our hearts & minds. Most people know his famous “I have a dream” quote, if not the speech. But he had many more quotes, including:

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

This is what we all need to do. Not just you, or just me. All of us. The entire planet. We need to come together. Accept our differences. Heck, welcome our differences. How boring life would be if we were all the same.

I can hear most of you agreeing with me. But. Think hard. How much different can you really accept? Tolerate. Because. We do come from a place of priviledge. We have years, decades, of practiced “good” behavior and manners. It is our definition of good. Are we ready to accept the rest of the planet with their behavior? Their not-good behavior?

Are we ready to tolerate their ideas? Their deeply ingrained cultural biases? Are we ready to just accept? Not accept if they change, conform, become us. Accept them as they are. All of them. That whole planet full of not-us?

It’s something to think about. For me? I still get angry when anyone is mean. I’m also a culture junkie. I live to travel. See the world. Experience new foods, sights, people and culture. I love that we live in time where travel is possible to the far corners of the world, and the far corners are still so different. So unchanged. So utterly foreign. I accept the differences in all their glory.

My suitcase only has socks in it so far. And two fully charged camera batteries. I have a couple more photo’s of Oslo to share, from our long weekend back in November. Including a video of Tess skating without skates at the Oslo Christmas Market. All the Christmas markets here have ice rinks as well, but here there’s always ice skate rental. There are no skates, no rentals, no fees in Norway. It’s different, but I like their way too.

One last walk through the Oslo Christmas market