I moved from New York to Berlin two years ago. In the past month it occurred to me to have an election party, to do something American, to celebrate the sure victory of Hillary Clinton. It would be our first female president and a steady, continued course of Obama’s slow progress. Also: a reason to socialize in the cold November night! I’m glad I decided against it in the end. The timing just didn’t make sense.
I stayed up until 9am that night, much more sober than other nights I’ve stayed up until morning. I followed the live updates on Reddit and watched the New York Times odometer tick mercilessly toward the right. I texted with friends from coast to coast, trying to make sense of what we were seeing. How could it be? What the fuck is happening!! I was in denial, unable to even process it.
When I woke up on Wednesday I just hoped that Hillary found a way to contest the election. Surely something illegal must have happened. A recount at least — she won the popular vote after all! But no. I quickly descended into sadness. And shock. It was like being hit with a ton of bricks.
I tried to have a normal day. I went into the office. Berliners gave me hugs, which was comforting. Hey, I live in Europe — it doesn’t have to affect me! I tried telling myself this. Indeed, the distance from the States has helped in terms of avoiding TV news and the onslaught of nauseating media coverage. And it doesn’t come up so often in normal conversation. But my parents called, devastated. More friends. Everyone feels like they’ve lost their country. As nice as it is to be in a foreign country, I felt connected to the United States in this moment.