The last week and a half was truly illuminating for me. I had the opportunity to travel through a large section of the United States in order to compete at an international engineering competition is Las Cruces, NM. Now, I am no stranger to the states as my rowing often allows me frequent dips south of the 49th. I travelled through the centre of your country: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado to a final destination of New Mexico and Texas. The scenery was breathtaking from rolling prairies, to high-top mountains to expansive scrub-desert. Americans should have pride in the natural wealth of your country. However, it was the people that made it really worthwhile. Travelling through some fairly, well, conservative, areas of the country. Our team was not worried, but certainly we had it in mind that we were Canadians with opposing ideas. However our concerns were completely unfounded. We found hospitality wherever we trekked. From the ranchers and truckers in the diner in South Dakota, to the Elders in the reserves in New Mexico, to our hispanic boarding family and to our university hosts and fellow students at the competition itself. I've always said in Canada that if all us Canadians travelled across our own countries we'd realize we have more in common that different and that we could avoid issues such as separation and alienation. I'd suggest the US is no different. Despite sometimes the evidence to the contrary, you are one people. People may have a plurality of views on what is right is wrong, but that is healthy and should be incouraged. You should be proud of your country, all of it. I know now, more than ever, that I'm proud to be your neighbour even if we don't always agree.