October 16, 2008

As I write this blog post, I have the latest US presidential debate in the background. I still haven't figured out what I want to do on election day. Do I stay up all night watching the results? Do I go to Presidents Night at the Melkweg? It's basically an election night type of party - well, i guess the atmosphere of the "party" will depend on how the results turn out. Do I just go to sleep at a normal time, wake up in the morning, and find out what happened? The Netherlands is 6 hours ahead of the east coast, 9 hours ahead of the west coast. Voting booths close around 8pm around the country (maybe later), so that will be 2am here.

I'm registered in California, which will vote democratic. I have many, many doubts about my absentee ballot being used for anything other than recycling container filling, but I'm sending it in - if for no other reason than to take part in what will (hopefully) be the biggest overseas vote in history. When some reporter says "record amounts of Americans living abroad sent in absentee ballots this year," I want to be part of that record-breaking number. It's all I can really do - well that, and donate money to Obama's campaign on behalf of some of my European friends (I've been asked a few times!).

Anyway, three weeks from now we'll have the answer. Until then, I am grateful that the Daily Show streams episodes from the website, because it's a wonderful relief.

Focusing on day-to-day life in Amsterdam, I'm wondering what happened to my bike overnight to make my front wheel squeak and made me work twice as hard to pedal to work this morning. I'm still having a really great time climbing, taking Dutch classes once a week, going to the movies one or two nights a week, trying to find time to sleep. But there's a few important things I really need to take care of that I've been putting on the backburner.

1. Find a doctor, dentist, and optometrist. I've got this great health care that I'm not putting to use!

2. Get my roommate registered at my apartment, which means hoping that my landlord agrees to write a letter saying that he can stay. My (Australian) roommate has to go through the same process as I did in order to get his address registered, apply for a SOFI/BSN number, and then a bank account.

3. Order some curtains that actually fit my bedroom window and get a real internet connection set up at home, rather than just cross my fingers that the open network I use remains open.

4. Buy a ticket to Paris. I really miss my friends there, and I've been anxious for a weekend trip out of town. There's a million places I haven't been that I would love visit, but I think a weekend with good friends in a city that will always feel like home sounds like a good November trip.

5. Figure out what to be for Halloween! Yes, even here in Holland, I found out about a huge Halloween party planned for the 31st. I'll go ahead and add "Halloween costume" to my top priorities- after all, what's more fun - making a costume or going to the dentist?


Anonymous said...

A tip for going to Paris:

It's often cheaper to take the normal train as far as Brussels, then switch to the high-speed train. This doesn't take much longer (I think about 1/2 an hour) because the 'high-speed' trains don't actually travel at higher speeds while they're in the Netherlands.

Promo Thalys fares are sometimes cheaper than doing it this way, but it's worth checking.

Another American Expat said...

good tip! Thanks!

I really find the best way to get cheap tickets is to plan as far in advance as possible. from now on, I only want to pay €25 to get from Amsterdam to Paris. :)

Eve said...

Hey Tami, for what it's worth, the California Board of Elections says that:

All valid vote-by-mail ballots are counted in every election in California, regardless of the outcome or closeness of any race. For additional canvass of the vote information please visit our web site at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_oc.htm.

As you say, California's 54 electoral votes will go to Obama. Let's just hope they are part of the 270 total!

Eve said...

I mean, 55 electoral votes. Somewhere along the line we got another one...:) And he will get New York's 31 votes.

Jolien said...

Hi Tami, just a tip to find a good doctor (and dentist): check with your local farmacy. They know the doctors in your area that write accurate prescriptions for their patients. A useful tip from a farmacist friend of my family ;)

Another American Expat said...

Hey mom, that is good to know. thanks!

And Jolien, thanks for another very useful tip, I really appreciate it.