Vote or stfu. Choose to participate in democracy or zip it. If you refuse to exercise your right to vote, you relinquish your right to complain. End of story.
As I sit here on the eve of the election…my eve anyway—the polling places are open stateside, but it’s after midnight here in Germany, and I cast my largely symbolic vote days ago…one thing is clear: how happy I am to live outside the U.S. in an election year. You all must be sick of it by now.
It also brings to light how out of touch we are. We haven’t been subjected to months of endless grip and grin, hold-this-baby photo ops, 24-hour news cycle “analysis” (that was air quotes), useless polls (300 is not a representational sample size!) “they’re destroying America” idiots with signs, catch phrases, celebrity endorsements and soundbites, but…Thank you Al Gore for the Internet! Now I can cram months of election coverage into a few short hours. Like making a diamond from coal. But probably more like earlier today when I got poop on my finger. (The kid is still not the best at wiping.)
My take on the election:
Romney: I think we share the same opinion on some economic issues. I’d like to sit down with him, and over a beer (or a coffee), find that common ground. But the dude is Mormon; he doesn’t drink coffee and, therefore, can’t be trusted. Point to Obama.
Romney is a Mormon. If he becomes president, he’ll legalize polygamy. Which is awesome because I could totally use a sister wife/slave to do the dishes. Point to Romney.
Michele Obama would totally beat Romney’s wife in a fight. (This is how invested I am; I don’t even know what her name is. She looks a little Stepford wife-y, doesn’t she?) Point Obama.
As far as the other issues go, my stance is as follows: for, against, for, for, why are we even having this conversation, against, for, absolutely not and don’t care.
If you haven’t voted yet, the polls are open for a few more hours. Else, I kindly thank you to stfu.
I wanted to end this with a joke about how I wasted my vote on the coco for coo-coo puffs candidate. Then I realized that was Mitt Romney.
Wisdom of the street:
Try something new.
Believe. Be fearless. Be nice.
In Trier, Germany; Dublin; Erkelenz, Germany.
Think. Live. Love.
In Den Bosch, Netherlands; Venice; Copenhagen.
Eat more vegetables.
Think of this blog like hitting shuffle on your iPod. You might get Vivaldi, or you might get NWA. Whatever it is, it’s coming in a seemingly indiscernable order.
I’ve tried posting chronologically. It’s a pain in the ass, so I’m not doing it anymore. I’m not really an A to B to C person anyway. I need the abstraction of if/then statements, and we all know the best things, every thing stems from complete randomness.
Consider this your public service announcement: No more chronological, now only spontaneous order.
Until the next post, here’s a totally unrelated picture of a cat.
If it makes you feel better, look at it like a non-linear equation. Accept that it makes no sense. And don’t bother trying figure it out.
It’s sad day today. We have now officially entered our last year in Germany. This time next year we’ll be watching fireworks somewhere back in the states. And that sucks.
We came to Germany June 3, 2009 for a four-year stint. If I think back on the series of events that led to this point, I never once would have imagined myself here. Never would I have fathomed that on any given day, I could be having a beer in Belgium, seeing tulips in Holland or traipsing around a castle in Germany. Or all three.
In the three years thus far, I’ve visited 12 countries (13 if you want to count Vatican City) and seen and done some truly amazing things. We have been blessed with this incredible opportunity. For that, I am thankful every day.
Life in Germany has taught me many things about the world and myself. I could drone on about the practical benefits of learning to read maps and train schedules. But think it best simply to say that travel teaches us that, in spite of religious, cultural, social or political beliefs, we are all basically the same. We are united by the human experience, and that is stronger than the constructs that divide us.
Ultimately we all want to find happiness, meaning and value in our every day lives. I just happen to be lucky enough to do that in this beautiful place.
The other day Nicholas hurt his finger.
Me: Do you want to put an ice cube on it?
Nicholas (hysterical scream crying): WHAT’S AN ICE CUBE?
He has no freaking idea what an ice cube is.
I guess I can’t blame him. They don’t have ice cubes in Europe. Not that they don’t exist; they’re just uncommon. When you order a soda, you’re brought a cold (glass) bottle and it’s poured into a glass. No ice. Or, if you’re a kid, it comes bottle with a straw. In fast food restaurants, cups are filled with soda first, then ice is added to fill the cup. The result is the opposite ice to soda ratio we Americans are used to. What little ice is in the cup melts straight away, might as well not be there at all. Refrigerator ice makers are not standard. And the freezers are so small; ice cube trays take up too much valuable real estate.
I guess it makes sense that, having lived in Germany three-quarters of his life, Nicholas is clueless about ice cubes.
Then it occurred to me: We have the weird, homeschooled kids that don’t know anything about anything. You know. The sheltered, naive, corruptible ones with the blank stares. Except ours aren’t homeschooled.
From a parental perspective, raising kids abroad has certain advantages when it comes to avoiding things like Justin Beber and elf on a shelf. But at the same time, the kids are idiots about a lot of things. They’re (semi) okay for now, but at some point we will have to go back to live in the states.
They will be amazed/confused/taken advantage of by so many things. Free refills, television commercials, the lack of recycling, pushy waiters, Tivo, big-ass SUVs, stores that are open on Sunday, and a myriad of other things: prepare to astound two wide-eyed little boys.
Before anyone gets in a tizzy, I’m not against homeschooling. To me, teaching is like roofing or brain surgery—a job best left to the professionals. But I don’t care if you do it. So long as you’re teaching science and math, not religion, racism or any other -ism. And whatever you do, don’t skip over the unit on sex ed.
After 2 nights in Bamberg, 7 in Prague, 7 in Budapest and one in Pilsen, it feels so good to be back in our own bed. No more uncomfortable beds. No more being waken by super squeaky floors, by someone smoking next door to our “strictly non-smoking” room, by the bright sun or by super loud children. Admittedly, the last one is partially my fault. I did give birth to them.
Traveling does a lot of things. One of which is to reenergize me—I feel ready to tackle some unfinished projects, tie up some lose ends, make things happen. It’s amazing what a little change in perspective does. But for now I’m changing my perspective to the TV (hello, new season of Mad Men). And all that other junk I just said: tomorrow.
Budapest pics coming soon.
That’s the cherry tree in our backyard. I don’t hear bees buzzing around it. Hopefully that doesn’t mean few cherries this year.
Usually my only New Year’s resolution is not to make any. Because it’s stupid to say you’ll lose 10 pounds, quit smoking or make any other promise you know you’ll never keep.
Having said that, I am making some resolutions this year. I figure what the hell. The world’s ending soon, so why not.
I know I will ultimately fail. I’ll be lucky to make it a week. But if I can do something for a couple days at least I will have been a slightly better person for a few days.
So..in 2012, I will:
1. Read something that’s not written by Dr. Suess, not printed on glossy paper and not on a computer screen. An actual book. Don’t get me wrong. I read plenty of books as it is, they’re just all about a cat and a hat or a hungry caterpillar.
2. Finish things. I have a tendency to start and never finish projects. There are probably five (at least) in my general vicinity right now.
3. Post more. (I wish I would have started this blog the day we stepped off the plane at Brussels International. It would be interesting to go back and read those first posts.) I have a ridiculous backlog of photos from our trips to post. For what it’s worth, I have sorted and created several galleries from our recent trip to Dublin (not live yet), but that doesn’t change the fact that I still haven’t done the ones from London last November. November of 2010.
5. Yell less. Some (many) days these kids make me insane. How can a 3 year old read, but can’t put a pair of pants? How come a five year old has only two volumes: LOUD and LOUDER? I don’t know, but probably need to put myself in timeout more often. Or be one of those mommies who drink during the day.
4. Be neat and organized. Really no hope for this one.
So there it is. I’m hoping that by typing this up, there is some small measure of accountability. Here’s to being a better person in 2012…or at least the first week of it.
Happy New Year!
Update as of Jan 2: I read something. But it was a magazine. I finished something. But it’s been so long since I started, I don’t even really like it anymore. I cleaned and cleared off my desk, except for the piles of stuff that need to go somewhere else. But wasn’t that really the problem to start with?