Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Saudade

In my Portuguese classes with Dyla back in San Francisco, one of the first cultural lessons she gave me was on, "Saudade". One of those words that just can't really translate, but homesick or nostalgic comes close. Check out what wikipedia has to say on it.

Anywho, I've been watching mostly International CNN and BBC while I've been here, tracking Obama's every move during the run-up to the election and tracking Sarah Palin's latest flubs. And while this past week, I've been having the best "bem-vinda" (welcome) to Brazil and I'm already wondering how I could extend my stay, today I felt true pangs of regret that I'm not in SF on this truly momentous day. As I write this, the Electoral Count is 3 Vermont delegates for Obama and 8 Kentucky delegates for McCain. Hearing about everyone who is voting for the first time, hearing about a line at my neighbor Mr. Dishman's garage (which usually has tumbleweeds blowing through it on election day.) I can only imagine that the rejuvenated interest in what's going on in this country is what it may have felt like with JFK in the sixties.

In the two presidential elections I've been able to vote in, my vote supported losing candidates. For the past 8 years, our country has been lead by someone people felt they could have a beer with, not necessarily someone that was competent enough to have a finger over the red button. And tonight I hope we have a win. And I wish I was with my friends in San Francisco no matter what the outcome is.

But I know that once we know the results, and this all dies down, I will again feel lucky to be here in Brazil. Now, I'm off to an Irish bar to watch the results and hoping that I run into some of my countrymen.

I ended up going to an Irish pub in the neighborhood Jardins called O'Malleys. Didn't quite find as many Americans as I would've liked -- I saw a group of business men from afar with what looked like home-made "I voted" stickers, two german-speaking guys in the background of that photo, and some study abroad students. From what I hear about the SF celebrations ("Can you imagine people chanting 'U-S-A' on 24st?" Evan tells me), it looks like I picked the wrong day to not be an 'Merikan. It's ok, Ill be checking out flights for Inauguration Day. . .

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