With the influx of social media, online news and video streaming, it wasn’t too difficult to keep up with the election. In fact, I couldn’t log on to facebook or Twitter without being inundated with someone’s 'wise words' and/or s'cholarly opinions' of the candidates. Note: sarcasm.
Even with the help of social media and some good old-fashioned video streaming, it was definitely strange living in Italy during such a crucial time for America.
I’ll begin with the voting situation. As I was finally of age to vote in a presidential election, I couldn’t wait to exercise that right that my forefathers died for me to have. Well, about that… I tried, I really did, but the whole absentee ballot thing was a much more tedious process than I thought. First I had to apply for an absentee ballot by registering online, printing the forms, and mailing said forms to my county. Bear in mind, I was running around to a million places to do these things, postboxes aren’t on every corner in Florence like they are in NY and snail mail is notoriously sluggish in Italy. After checking my mailbox (also 15 minutes from my house) everyday for a week, my absentee ballot had arrived… the day before the election. Other friends of mine shared the same frustration in receiving their ballots too late, and some of my friends didn’t even bother to try. So, all excuses aside, I feel like I let my country and its democratic process down by not casting a vote in this year’s election, but spoiler alert, my guy won anyway.
Aside from voting, it was hard to fully receive information living in Europe. The time difference was one obstacle. Since Italy is six hours ahead, I’d have to watch the debates online the next day and I couldn’t even stay up to hear them announce the winner on election night. Note: sad face. I also missed hearing everyone’s opinions back at home and seeing people fight over the candidates.
On one hand, I enjoyed getting a global vantage point and seeing the European response to US politics. Many Italians are informed on our government and were very interested in the election. The bars even had the polls on all night in Italian. In America, you never really see news about politics overseas, unless its war related. I think the most media coverage we’ve ever had on foreign leaders is Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. Most girls could probably rattle off details about Kate before they could name 5 foreign leaders. It’s sad, cause it’s true.
With that being said, this was one of the first times I missed being home. With the election and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, it was a hard week and I wish I could’ve been home to support my family and my country. Now we can only hope for a better four years, so we can find jobs and put some money in the bank!