Sunday, November 9, 2008

Eric and I took our second of three surfing lessons today. While the water here is quite cold, you keep pretty warm with the constant paddling. The full body wetsuit helps, too. We obviously had a good time, because we're looking for boards to buy now.
Last Tuesday was Melbourne Cup. In Victoria, where Melbourne is, the day is a holiday. For the rest of Australia and New Zealand, it's an excuse to stop working and start drinking champagne at 2:30. This is definitely a country that takes its gambling seriously. We had several ways to bet on horses in our office. Between my four bets, I managed to win $30 and lose $40. But hey, I'm a winner! Fancy hats are part of the Melbourne Cup tradition, which is evident in the photo above.
The US presidential election was Wednesday Australia time. The entire office was following the progress online all day. When Obama's win was announced, it was the first time I really wished I was back in the United States. I was sad to be so far away on the day I was most proud to be an American. I wanted to be there celebrating with everyone else. At least I had the unique perspective of seeing the reaction of the international community here. I was congratulated all week long, even by strangers who just heard my accent. I think it would have been hard for expats everywhere if Mc Cain had won. The general stereotype of Americans is that of a bunch of ignorant rednecks who think their country is the only one on earth. While I don't think that has been totally erased, there's definitely a little more faith in us now. Now we just have to live up to it. Some of the other legislation that was passed definitely tells me that we still have a long way to go.

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