Today, Senator Obama becomes president. People in Indonesia know about him—he lived in Java for awhile. They are excited about him becoming President. They want to know about it, if we are excited to have him as president. Here, half way around the world, there are congratulatory signs in windows and bars are throwing inauguration parties. American politics has become part of popular Indonesian culture.
I will be able to see the inauguration on You Tube or CNN, but that doesn’t compare to being home in Chicago.
Even though I would see it on TV at home, I’m here, and it feels superficial because I’m so far away. In fact, I’m so far away if I go any further I’ll be returning home. I feel like I’m missing one of the biggest events in recent American history, and it won’t happen for another 14 hours.
Travel plays with time, while distance plays with longing. Although I’ve adjusted to time differences, my longings have become more complex. I long for the obvious – friends, family, and home – but I also find myself longing to know how people will react to what we’ve purchased this trip. It’s a dilemma – you acquire what you believe is worthwhile and hope the market reacts positively.
I’m scheduled to be home on February 1st, in twelve days. The goods we purchased earlier are beginning to trickle in and although the early response is good, the bulk is yet to arrive. Senator Obama was elected to a great extent on the basis of hope. As his inauguration approaches, I find myself hoping my efforts this trip will not be in vain. It’s a longing, I think, for validation.