Amazingly, my absentee ballot arrived by mail at our apartment in Maputo. Given the dismal record of receiving mail over the past 3.5 years, I was nothing short of shocked. I thought I'd requested that the ballot be delivered to the US Embassy, but somehow it still arrived via post at our front door.
I feel very disconnected from the election process. I know that even though I reside overseas, the policies of the US still greatly affect me on a personal level, from taxes to how much I must play the ambassador role in the face of poor strategic decisions (and the resulting destroyed reputation of our country) made by our government. Still, I don't really feel engaged. Politics has never been my cup of tea, but I don't think I've ever been so apathetic about the process. Strange, especially considering what a dynamic election process this has been so far, and what critical issues are on the table for our next President to manage.
I decided to vote last week, given that I've know for quite a while whom I prefer to take office come next year. For the record, I voted for Obama, but I'm not entirely convinced he has the fiscal savvy to pull the US through the economic crisis in the most efficient way. Still, for me, he represents the best choice at this point.
I can feel myself becoming more and more centrist as the years go by. I am definitely still a bit left-of-center, but I am increasingly incapable of identifying with either party, or even with a liberal vs. conservative orientation. I've always been registered as an Independent, but now, after some leftish leanings in college, I'm firmly convinced this is the best choice for me.
Apparently my ballot will be delivered along with a bunch of others from Mozambique en masse via the diplomatic pouch, direct to wherever the counting will take place. Here's hoping everything goes as it should with that process...
Also, speaking of civic duties, I got a new passport last week as well. It was fortuitous timing, as 1) I was nearly out of pages, even after 2 additional booklets of 24 pages; 2) my passport was about to expire; and 3) I changed my name. I now have a shiny, new booklet with no stamps that easily fits in my passport holder. And it is my first official document with my new name.
Now that I am legitimate (in the eyes of the US government) as Mrs. Amaro, this kicks of the fun process of changing my name on social security records, bank accounts, credit cards, IRA, driving license, and every other public document ever issued. And I thought I was escaping bureaucracy by leaving my consulting assignment at the BIC...