Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Recently, I posted about sending in our absentee ballots. For Americans living abroad, voting requires a bit more preparation than when you live in the states. In Kentucky, you're registered to vote when you renew your driver's license, which I think is a great convenience, especially when you move. Living in Italy meant that we would have to request absentee ballots, and of course we would have to do it early enough so that the ballots could be mailed to us and have time to get back to the states.

I think that we could have contacted the embassy in Rome about registering for absentee ballots, but since we were in Kentucky in May, we decided it would be a lot easier to go to the voter registration office and give them our Italian address. That process was simple, and when we received a letter in August, we promptly returned it. As I said in a previous post, I guess this was to verify that we were where we said we were.

And then, about a week ago, our official ballots arrived. We completed them and mailed them back the next them a good five weeks to reach their destination.

For us, all of this was a new process, and as always, I document the small things as well as the big things that happen here. This blog is really just a journal for Art and me to read in our old age and remember all the fun (and frustrations!) we had while living in Italy. There are so many little things that get forgotten, and even if I don't record every detail, what I do write will remind us of other things.

And then I had a comment from "anonymous", asking "what does this have to do with living in Italy?" And I thought, well, let's see....I live in Italy...I voted by absentee ballot from Italy....hmmm...yes, this is about living in Italy. Everything I write about is about living in Italy, since this is where I live...duh!

And for whatever reason, this comment just totally pissed me off!!! Many of you know what a quick temper I have, but I did try to restrain myself with my first response. I guess what really bugged me was the idea of someone telling me what I should or shouldn't be writing on my own blog!!! Had the comment been a political rebuttal, that would have been okay, but the idea that someone would have the nerve to say that what I choose to write about isn't relevant to MY blog just really blew me away! I guess it must be that protectiveness that writers have about their work.

And then, once I've made my first comment, this idiot writes back to say, well, they'll probably get lost in the mail anyway, and suggested that I should be back in the states.

Now we do know of people who think we're unpatriotic to live overseas. Somehow they think living in another country is anti-American. For us, nothing could be further from the truth. Seeing the state of the world today should serve as a reminder to everyone how fortunate we are as Americans to have the rights and privileges that we do. To be able to disagree with our government, to be able to publicly denounce a candidate...even if that candidate is currently the president, to be able to live wherever we want...including another country.

As for the getting lost in the mail, I wonder how someone would know that “many” absentee ballots are lost. How would you know this? Unless you know the total number of absentee ballots mailed, and the total number received, how could you make such a broad sweeping statement?

We too worked for the Post Office. Art worked in Statistical Programs, where the mail is tracked, so he would probably have as good an idea as anyone about lost mail. Yes, it’s true that mail is lost…statistically when you handle millions of pieces of mail, some will be lost. I don’t know what the exact percentage is, but I do know that the number is minuscule.

Of course if it’s YOUR letter that’s lost, then of course you’ll always remember that. And I think it would be fair to say that most of the lost letters are due to employee error…a machine not thoroughly cleaned, a sack not turned inside out, a case not moved for cleaning. Statistically, the USPS has one of the best records (if not THE best), and the lowest rates in the world. Don’t you read the bumper stickers….you shouldn’t upset a postal worker!!!

As I have written many times before, we didn't choose Italy...Italy chose us. In all of our travels to fourteen, fifteen different countries, neither of us ever felt any desire to live in another country. Despite my lifelong love affair with all things British, I never felt the pull to live in England or Scotland like I did for Italy. I guess unless you've experienced something similar, it's just impossible to explain. But the bottom line is...we are still Americans...still proud to be Americans...often not proud of what our government it doing, but still proud that we have the options and opportunities that only Americans have.

Anyway, after restraining myself, eventually my temper got the best of me. If you don't like my blog, don't read it. It's really not written for you's for ME, and I'm just sharing it with you. If you want to post your opinions, start your own blog. Disagree with what I say, but don't tell me what to think, where to live, or what to write. If you do, I can pretty much guarantee that my response will be the same…f#*! off!!