Saturday, May 08, 2010

My country 'tis of thee

Thursday and Friday were two important days for the Lyons family in terms of civic duties and patriotism. As you'll probably have heard, there was an election in the UK - a strange one, currently without a result, but an election nonetheless - and I was able, for the first time in my 9.5 years here, to cast my vote since I now have my citizenship.

I was very excited and headed out with both Blake and Noah to our closest polling station, the local Baptist church, at around 6:00 pm. I was curious about the electoral process in the UK and excited to witness it firsthand. As it was, it was pretty anti-climactic: there was no queue to get in, I didn't have to show any identification, and all in all, it felt very old-fashioned. Here is Blake outside the polling station looking distinctly unenthusiastic after I dragged him away from a riveting episode of Chuggington:

After confirming my name and address, I was handed two slips of paper (one for the general election and one for the local council election) and then headed to a rickety voting stand. With a pencil I just had to check who I was voting for - and although I asked - there was apparently no specific way that I had to mark my choice. I think I could have even drawn a smiley face and it would have been ok! It took about 2 minutes from start to finish, maybe a bit longer with my announcement to the volunteers that I was a "first timer" (I think I was hoping they would make more of a fuss over me, but no...!). The polls closed at 10:00 pm, and as we know, the result is currently kind of a no-result, in that no one party claimed a majority of seats of Parliament. Locally I can at least say that the person I voted for won, but as for whether the government will be run by the Tories, the Labour Party, or the Liberal Democrats, like the rest of the country and much of the world, I am still waiting to find out.

Going back to my roots, on Friday we had to register Noah's birth at the US Embassy so that he can get a passport and a Social Security number. Although it wasn't intentional, he was wearing red, white and blue for the appointment. There were A LOT of other babies being registered, so all indications are that there are a lot of babies being born at the moment. Baby acne has hit Noah hard this week, but fortunately I had his passport photos taken before the worst of it!

Despite spending about 2 hours waiting for the application to be processed, it is nice to think that he and Blake will have options available to them in terms of where they want to live and work when they get older. Maybe they'll even be Prime Minister or President, although they may get a distinct lack of political interest from their mother. At the very least, they'll be able to vote in both countries!

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