By the way, you may have noticed that the name of the blog has changed. Noelle is no longer in Barcelona, and my IESE ended a year and a half ago (though we all continue to drag it out as long as possible), but I am indeed a stranger in a strange land. I think I'll still feel that way even if I finally go back to the US.
So it was time for a change.
Speaking of change... a few weeks ago I started to get really stressed out over the fact that I hadn't received an absentee ballot and indeed wasn't even sure where such a thing would have been or should have been sent.
Fortunately (or not) for me, I had added my email address to two different lists in support of Barack Obama. Meaning that I get Obamaspam on a daily or even hourly basis. (Funnily enough, I'm not the only one, as I found when I happened across this article yesterday.) Anyway, in this case it was fortunate because the spam I received just two days after worrying I wouldn't get to vote informed me that I could indeed register still and even cast a write-in ballot by just going to Shakespeare & Co. bookstore, one of the most famous expat destinations in Paris.
So off we went, Frenchy and I. There were two volunteers working there, sitting outside in the sunny and yet not particularly warm afternoon, registering a hoard of people, some of whom had even weirder stories than mine. All of which needed explaining of course. The woman in front of me explained (moments after her young daughter announced to everyone, "Mom, you have the softest, smushiest butt for hugging!") that she was from Ohio and was worried that her ballot may have been sent there, in which case ... was she completely out of luck??? Another girl carried a US passport because her mom is from Kansas, but had never set foot in the States in her life.
So finally it was my turn, and Frenchy started laughing before I even got the first words out. I explained that I was registered in New York, but that I'd always voted absentee in California. The guy told me this was impossible, that I must have voted in NYC. Try as I might to explain to him it wasn't the case, he insisted otherwise. Finally I just said, "look I don't care where I vote, I just want to VOTE!" Since my last residence before Spain (and France) was New York, he started to look up the deadline for New York state, further explaining, "See it's all about the last place you were a resident in the US and the last place you paid taxes."
In that case, my last residence was actually Boston, where I lived for two months last year. Frenchy burst out laughing. And all the other people in line let out an "oooooh" of respect. Indeed my story was crazier than anyone else's. And the volunteer guy said excitedly, "EVEN BETTER! Massachusetts allows you to register right up to Nov 4 so you can vote via write in today and you may also receive an absentee ballot here in time!" Cool, so I can vote twice!
Trying my best to understand the write-in/absentee/re-registration process.
An hour and a half later, I was registered, ready to send off my ballot, and excruciatingly hungry. We ended up in one of the most touristy areas possible (hey, we were starving and near Notre Dame) and nearly got ripped off by an overly happy Greek restaurant owner. But at least I had voted...