Wendy’s November Founder’s Note: The Absentee American

BY WENDY HUNG

founders-note-absentee-american-bali

Bali, Indonesia

November is a great time to be an American. For many of us, an Absentee American.

Throughout the entire year, we can choose to suppress our so-called Americana selves often mocked by Europeans or glamorized by the rest of the world. Have you been to a soccer – oops, I meant football – game with a Parisian? It’s a frustrating but humbling experience trying to defend an American football player’s getup as protection rather than fear. On the other hand, incognizant shrieks of “oh-my gosh” in hidden alleyways of Asia are deemed as adorable which equates to sweet invites for candid curiosity.

SEE ALSO: It’s SO Easy For Us To Vote From Abroad, Here’s How…

Starting with Halloween, then off to the World Series and partying all the way to the end of Thanksgiving. With the U.S. presidential election jamming in this sweet November mix, regardless of where you are in the world, any traveling spirit’s withheld American now proudly bursts in enthusiasm. It transpired the moment you decided to attend that Halloween party in London, and my attempt to find a less-than-50-euros-turkey in Paris, or chanting for the Chicago Cubs epic win in Taipei.

It’s not rare that a traveler feels some sort of an identity crisis after a few months of nomadic life. But if there’s a time to speak unabashedly American. It is now.

I was born in a country where the right to vote for our president didn’t exist until 1996. During the 2000 U.S. presidential election, I was yet an American citizen but studying in Berkeley. In agony, I watched the rest of my sorority sisters vote for their candidate of choice while we jolted as the rest of the country waited on Florida’s final count. That feeling of my voice unheard was sheer torment. Ever since I became an American citizen later that year, I have never missed a chance to vote. Unless you’ve had your voice muffled, you couldn’t possibly understand what a tremendous honor and privilege it is to cast a ballot. 

Today, we’re 72 hours away from marking a historical (or ending a hysterical) election. Regardless of your political party, your gender or your race; if you are an American citizen, you have one question to answer:

How do you see your future? 

Do you see division or unity? Do you want change in a negative rhetoric or a hopeful narrative? How do you want our children to look up to our leader? I’ve always believed in looking ahead in order to realize dreams. We all carry a beautiful navy blue passport embellished with stamps from around the world where so many places deny elections. How do you want other countries to perceive us? As a fighter against them or a collaborative team player?

Even if I don’t return as much as I should, I love being an American. I love explaining the art of baseball to my French friends who just don’t give a damn. I love celebrating Thanksgiving in Paris, even if a Parisian turkey weighs the same as a chicken and costs 90 euros each. I buy two, because what kind of Thanksgiving doesn’t have enough turkey for the entire family? I love the advancement of our democracy, making early and absentee voting so easy breezy, so not one red blooded American’s voice is shut out.

Your vote is your voice. Speak up. Be a proud Absentee American. For once, it’s cool to be one.

With love,

Wendy's siguature

CEO/Founder, Jetset Times

 

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