A few months ago, I was quite looking forward to being here for the American Election. I never dreamed it would be like it has been.
First of all, life has not returned to normal here. Some people in our town are still without power - 10 days after Hurricane Sandy. The weather has turned cold now and today there is a snowstorm with high winds - causing even more blackouts. The lights have flickered a few times today already and I'm hoping desperately we don't lose power again. School went back on Monday, but the kids have no homework due to people not having power at home, and a lot of after school activities have been cancelled. Then there is the petrol shortage. Many petrol stations are not open - whether due to lack of power or lack of gasoline is not entirely clear. In addition to this, people have panicked and rushed out to fill up. There are queues five hours long all over Long Island and everywhere you go, you see people standing around in the cold with jerry cans. Luckily we haven't had to fill up yet, but if it isn't over by the weekend we may be waiting in line with everyone else. Meanwhile, on the South Shore of Long Island, not 20 miles away, people are homeless, with all their possessions destroyed, rubble that hasn't been cleared and certainly no power or water. My heart goes out to them this cold, snowy night.
So watching the Election coverage seemed slightly surreal with all this going on - not to mention my current illness/pain, which is making everything seem nightmarish anyway. Somehow the problems we, as a family and as a community, are going through made the Election seem rather trivial.
Nevertheless I am relieved that Barack Obama came through. To me, his heart is in the right place and he cares about making this country a better place to live, whereas Romney was all about money and ensuring that rich America gets richer.
On another note, I am still astonished by the lack of political discussion in social circles here. Normally, the people I know here don't discuss their politics at all. During the last few weeks, I have heard some conversations - one at a party where someone was being attacked for supporting Romney, and the hostess quickly stopped the conversation; one at a dinner party where again, what would have been in the UK a spirited political discussion turned slightly awkward. The only proper discussions we've had about the Election have been with non Americans. (People do seem more willing to share their thoughts on social media though - people have "liked" candidates, and there have been some comments on Facebook today (one person saying that what with the Hurricane and now Obama's re-election, it's like the end of the world has come).)
So, we continue to recover from the storm. Maybe sometime, things will go back to normal.