Warning...long and somewhat serious entry. My advice is to skip down to the pictures...they're a little easier to chew and swallow ;P
It's been two weekends since I'd been at Nishi...which is quite a long time actually. The first weekend I was up north for v-day weekend and the subsequent week Brian was down. Anyhow, thanks to basketball season, it was the first time in over a month that I had anyone in my class (yes, I am a Sunday school teacher strange as it sounds) and it was time to get down to business the way I probably should have at the beginning of the school year. I asked the two girls why they came every week.
Now, I knew the answer to that question. It was, however, a question that I always asked all of the classes I'd taught in the past. It helps me assess the characters and attitudes of my students and gives me something to go on. Anyway, as I was saying, I knew the answer to this question: because they were made to do so by their parents. Which set them up for my next question: do you like being Buddhist? Response: Yes. Question: Why? One of the girls, the one who had spent most Sundays almost completely mute watching me with a sullen, bored, and almost contemptuous look on her face, immediately shot back at me "Because Christianity is too uptight."
As it turns out, this particular girl (let's call her M) has a friend who claims that she cannot be friends with anyone who is not Christian (she has not told this "friend" that she is not Christian) and another friend who more or less constantly imposes her own Christian beliefs onto her and has gone so far as to give her a Bible, which is currently sitting virtually unopened in M's drawer. As a result, this impressionable 13 year old is now convinced that Christianity (both Protestant and Catholic I'm guessing) is a religion that brainwashes its followers and is meant to dictate your life. After telling her that she may want to crack open that Bible someday, it being one of the most influential and highly referenced pieces of literature in history (I don't think she believed me), I tried to soften her view a bit by explaining that not all Christians are like that, but she seemed disinterested in most of what I had to say ;P You know 13...that age is a hotbed for attitude. I didn't beat the issue to death since their attention spans were beginning to fade, but the brief discussion left an odd taste in my mouth. I have been lucky never to have encountered such closed-mindedness in my circle of friends anytime in my 22+ years of life but I've seen it happen to others. My dad's exasperation at being told "I'll pray for you!"...one of the nicest people I've ever known being told that he's going to hell by his aspiring preacher friend...what's going on here? What good is all this proselytizing anyway? I mean, what it does is create people like M (who I hope will broaden her horizons as she gets older, for her generalizations are a bit too extreme in my opinion) who has clearly formed an extremely negative opinion of the religion as a whole.
Religion is a tricky thing...I think that religion exists to make people feel better about their lives. Each person needs to find something that is right for them, even if it's agnosticism. Problem is, many feel that what is right for them has to be right for everyone else. With that kind of thinking everyone is wrong in somebody's eyes. Fortunately not everyone thinks this way. Unfortunately, some still do. That's just my two cents.
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On a lighter note...
Here are some more photos from NorCal. It's going to be a bit of a mishmash but it's better than nothing, no?
Day 1 Our Arrival
Aaron, April and I flew into Oakland on the last flight out of John Wayne. We were actually running a bit early (amazingly). That particular night consisted of a lot of wining and...wining. Went to bed relatively early since we wanted to get an early-ish start the next morning :)
Day 2 Napa!
We left sometime in the morning...not too late...I forget when. We had frozen waffles with honey and butter for breakfast =X. On the way over we played Mad Libs, a form of entertainment we first utilized in Hawaii this past summer :)
The first winery we hit was Domaine Carneros, a pretty chateau on a hill that specializes in sparkling wine. It's a nice winery in Napa, which meant lots of limos, including a very selfish silver limo that decided to take up a billion parking spaces (see Aaron shaking his fist at it?)
After our mini-tour and an educational video, we sat outside and ordered two flights...one consisted of three reds and the other of three sparklers. The reds were okay...the sparkling wines were excellent. They sell the blanc de blanc cheap at Trader Joe's (around $17-18) so I may pick up a bottle one of these days :) Oh, look at that photo of the hill. Those are fake sheep...all white and one black :D I'm not usually a fan of the cutesy but this was funny. If you're wondering what the heezy is going on in the last photo, that's Brian and Aaron pretending to be a driver and passenger in one of the extra long parking spaces reserved for buses.
Ah, the land of the free tasting (not just wine, cheese too!) and extensive deli. They also have a nice picnic area with tables. A bit muddy, but what can you do?
Their sweet wines are tasty. I brought back a bottle of off-dry riesling for my parents (my mom only likes sweet wines...I don't think she cared for the Bonny Doon dry riesling I brought home for Thanksgiving) and a bottle of their muscat for myself. Remember that time last year when I was craving a white wine? It was the muscat. It's a nice dessert wine, very light, very sweet. Only sold at the winery. And online. We bought a bottle of their off-dry riesling and some cheese (Aaron got aged gouda, Brian got a triple cream and a small tub of their omega good cream cheese) and broke out our wine glasses and ice chest with the prosciutto and crackers on the picnic grounds right outside of the building.
Next stop, Esquisse. I was a little tipsy from our riesling picnic and my tasting was not so much a tasting but more of a drinking...Esquisse is a tiny winery with a water fountain out front. Tasting is $5 for three wines that you choose off of a tasting list. This worked out well for April who was trying to, for the most part, avoid red wine.
Umm...if you want a somewhat more detailed account (or more photos, at least) of the restaurant we went to go here. I'm too lazy to write about it again :)
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*whew* Okay. That's enough for tonight. I still have one more day unaccounted for but this entry is horribly horribly long as it is. More later, maybe.