At approximately 5am (in Norway, the “mourning” after the election) I noticed a tweet trending explaining that Canada’s immigration website had crashed. I laughed, but I wasn’t shocked. Canada has always been America’s neutral neighbor. I’m sure it would support us Americans like a parent in times of hardship such as electing a person such as Trump.
Then around 7am, I found myself pouring Canadian maple syrup onto my pancakes at an American themed breakfast with the American Ambassador to Norway. At this point, I began thinking of Canada as a sneaky sister who’s making fun of me. Are Norwegians refusing to buy American maple syrup now? Perhaps being awake more than 24 hours had taken a toll on my thought processes, but I found it hysterical and a slap in the face: having maple syrup from the country so many Americans are now trying to seek refugee. After all, Vermont and nearly all New England states are known for maple syrup.
Democrats & Republicans Abroad
I attended the election party at Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus (HiOA) hosted by the American Chamber of Congress in Norway, The US Embassy, Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN), and Republicans Abroad. It was a great event that reaffirmed almost every American in Norway was voting for the best candidate, except perhaps a select few.
The Democrats Abroad table was decked out with hats, pins, and even drinking glasses made out of “100% shattered glass ceiling”, all of which nearly sold out. Journalists swarmed the table and were eager asking us democrats why we’re excited about Hillary being the next president. In the meantime, the Republicans Abroad table, consisting of a few over the hill men with a small table a balloons, which appeared solely frequented by journalists to keep the media “unbiased”. As the American beers and wine began flowing, the night felt like a celebration of the candidate everyone knew who would win.
Even though I knew Hillary would win (after all I told the press in an interview I was 100% confident that she would be the next president), I was committed to being present until a candidate was elected. Hours spent in front of the bland newschannel, CNN, was intermingled with excitement. That enthusiasm soon died down and became panic. At around 4:30am, I ran to find my phone and quickly got in touch with my mother and sister. I was scared and even had chills, as the likelihood of Trump becoming president was becoming more of a reality.
It might sound extreme, but this is the moment I realized the world will never be the same again. It was the same surreal moment I experienced in 1st grade, when the pledge of allegiance was interrupted by the news of the 9/11 tragedy.
The more snaps I viewed and texts I read, I realized this really was reality: the @realDonaldTrump could actually become my president. Friends in the US were sobbing and described their watch parties as funerals. Soon it was 6.50am and the 50 remaining party guests and I were ushered through the Norwegian blizzard to another side of HIOA.
As I chatted with a politician from the green party, we noticed we were behind the handful of Trump supporters. Not surprisingly they waved their red signs in the wind and were obnoxiously loud as they smoked their cigarettes. These characteristics only briefly touch on what describes the typical Trump voter, a world that I’m not exposed to enough.
As I reflect on the rollercoaster of emotions and physical sickness I continue to feel right now, I wonder how I will present myself to the world as an American. How will my national identity evolve? During the campaign, Norwegians would joke with me about Trump as the American president. I didn’t think much about it, but it’s true now. I just don’t know what to do.
The day after the election, my sister sent a photo of a Canadian check-in signs at Penn Station in NY. The train that regularly goes from NY to Canada is not normally very crowded, that day it was. Perhaps the signs were a joke, but at least Canada is prepared.
Even though it’s been days since the election the mood here in Norway is still one of shock. At the same time I’ve felt much sympathy from Norwegians, as if they are acknowledging the empire has fallen in the same way that the US has died.
In fact, yesterday I went to the police station to complete the last task of renewing my student visa, taking my photo. The immigration employee gave me her condolences and even told me she was glad I’m here. Which I agreed.