Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did

Scenes from an Election:

I voted back in September, before I left. North Carolina started mailing absentee ballots the week before I left, but due to snafu with my application, I didn't get my ballot until the day before I left. The only reason I *got* my ballot was because I marched down to the Board of Elections and raised some hell. Sorry, but this election is too damn important not to vote.

The first polls closed a few minutes before my first class ended. I managed to be fairly sanguine up until that point (I only checked CNN TWICE before work), but once the results started to roll in, I had trouble tearing myself away from CNN long enough to teach class. The second class ended, I was back on the computer. Sorry kids, but Teacher was a bit preoccupied today.

I missed being home more these past few days than I have since my first weekend here. I was *so* invested and emotionally involved in this election, and I was the only one who cared. I was a nervous, jittery wreck today and at school, it was all business as normal. I desperately wanted someone, anyone, who was going through this too. One of the great things about the training conference a few weeks ago is that I was surrounded by Americans again and we could gather and talk about the election with great hope and joy. (After we talked about cheese.)

We sang ABBA's "I Have a Dream" during English camp today and today an ABBA song damn near undid me. I know, I know, but if you pay attention to the lyrics, which one does when giving a spoken word rendition of the song so small Asian children can mimic your pronunciation, they were eerily appropriate for that moment.

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail

The words "I have a dream" and all that connotes, America in the process of electing it's first black president, a song about hope - I had to turn away from the class in the middle of the song until I was sure I could get through the song without crying. It's okay kids, Teacher's just REALLY invested in the outcome of this election.

At 1:50 pm, Wednesday November 5th, I logged onto CNN to read that John McCain had just conceded, and I started crying, because God, we did it America. We did it. I also bit my hand to keep from screaming out loud and I can still see the teeth marks on my thumb.

For all that I miss the election mania back home, people here have been following the election closely. (Just look at the Asian stock markets today.) I was asked all day if I was able to vote, and about details of the election and the American political system. (Try miming Electoral College. Here's a hint: you can't.) When my co-teacher during English camp asked why I was crying and I waved at the computer screen in explanation, she cheered and as soon as the kids heard Obama's name, they flocked to the front of the classroom to hear more. Shin Young told me the kids through the election was more interesting that popular TV shows and, well, so do I, but I'm a 23 year old American, not a 12 year old Korean, so kudos to them.

I haven't been able to wipe this damn smile off my face since two o'clock this afternoon. We did good, America. We did good.

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