Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Milestones and Holidays

Many things to talk about.


Two weeks ago we found a place to take the kids Trick-or-Treating for Halloween. Up to an hour or so before we left I didn't think that was going to happen, but Tori was determined. There's a housing development near the refinery – owned by the refinery, as it turns out, with a terrific view of the refinery (if that's what you want) – that seemed almost Southern Californian. All the houses almost identical, only differences being the foliage and the slight angles or distances they were set off from the road. Kids all up and down the streets, which were closed to traffic. It seemed almost like something from the states. That didn't mean much to Tori and me, but it was nice for the kids. Not everything from their lives has been changed.

Four months

The next day, Nov. 1, we were driving somewhere and I turned to Tori and said, "Happy anniversary."

"What?" she said.

"We've been here four months now."

She thought about it, then turned back to me.

"Is that all? It seems like we've been here longer."

It does, she's right. We live here, it's home now. We're settled in, know where we're going when we get in the car. Know what to expect from traffic (basically, we know you can never anticipate what traffic is likely to do.) We have our places we like to go, people we know, stuff like that. It seems like we've been here a lot longer than four months. But that's the truth of it. She got off the plane with her mother and our son Max on July 1. That's four months.

And counting.

Election Milestone
Election night was something, wasn't it?

We were glued to the TV, enjoying every minute of the big news.

But whether you supported Barack Obama, as we did, or preferred Sen. McCain, you can't deny it was a breathtaking moment. Let me share just a little bit of he reaction here on the island, where the population is 76 percent black. VI residents can't vote in the U.S. presidential election, but we sure felt a part of it here. I've seen more Obama T-shirts here than I did on the mainland, and people here contributed to the campaign even though they couldn't vote.

On election night we spent an hour at an Obama victory party at Pier 69, a restaurant/bar in Frederiksted. The woman who owns it was dancing, her arms raised in the air and shouting, "I'm 64 years old and this is the most important day of my life!" There was a woman there who said not only had she not ever thought she'd live to see a black U.S. president, her 22-year-old daughter had said the same thing. Her five daughters, by the way, all live in the states and all voted for Obama.

Another woman said she couldn't help thinking about the old Danish fort just a few hundred feet from where we sat. For centuries African people had passed through the fort in chains, bound for slavery in the sugar can fields. Some no doubt were moved on to the states, where now their progeny were lining up to vote for a black man for president.

It's hard to overstate how much last week's election meant to so many people all around the world, even those who couldn't vote.

We got home just in time to see the projection – CNN Projects Barack Obama is Next President of the United States" and opened the bottle of champagne we'd bought fr the occasion.

Somehow it felt even more important to me for having spent some time with my neighbors at Pier 69.

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