Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Let's learn about America!

Today both Meg and I officially had our first class. We are taking a course called "U.S. Presidential Elections." This may seem a bit selfish to take this instead of the Survival Finnish course, but so be it. Our professor is actually from the U.S. although all of her family is from Finland. This helps us because we do not have to suffer through an indecipherable Finnish accent. She is also quite witty and I think she will keep the class light and entertaining. This is also good because we also found out today that the class, which goes the entire semester, is only worth a measly 2 UofO credits (not worth much).

The course will be an overview of the process of American elections and will look at past elections, but will also cover the current one. I am really excited to be a part of the discussion and see how other people from around the world look at the election. There are a lot of international students in the class so I think that will make for an interesting class. I think it will also be a good way to make sure that we are keeping up with all of the election news. She mentioned that there might be an evening "Pizza and Politics" discussion for people who want to come. This sounds fun and involves free pizza, which I have to say I have been craving ever since we arrived in Finland. She also said as an aside that they are working on a collaboration with Harvard in which our class would get to speak to the candidates on the day of the election???? So cool. Hopefully it will happen. I am certainly crossing my fingers.

Isaac from London, Elise from France, and Patrick from England/Denmark/Czech Republic are also taking the class, so it will be interesting to be able to have discussions with them about what's going on back in our home. Isaac said that people in England really aren't very interested in politics or elections, which surprised me a bit. Their system of government obviously works differently and maybe not so much responsibility rests on a single individual, but in America...oh boy. Even if people are 'not really into politics' or whatever, I feel like most people I talk to have pretty strong opinions and political ideals. I don't think it is this way everywhere, but I feel like the person who I support or even the party that I support says a lot about me as a person. Of course this is a complete generalization, but your party says a lot about how you see the world and who you are as a person.

I won't vent about everything I would like to, but I have to say that I find McCain's VP choice of Sarah Palin very strange and irresponsible. Even if I were a Republican, I wouldn't want her running the country if something happened. She adds nothing to McCain's many weaknesses and I just don't see it. The fact that this race is so close right now is rather disturbing to me. Where are the 79% of people who are displeased with the country right now. Are 29% of those people really going to vote for John McCain? Where is the logic in that? Let's just hope the country gets it right this time. If McCain wins I will most certainly cry.

If there is one year that I would really like to be able to sit down after class and watch two hours of CNN, this would be it. Sadly, that is not going to happen here. Looks like I will have to stick to the web. I don't know if I mentioned it last time, but my power adapter for my computer broke, so that has been a tad detrimental to my computer-related entertainment. Hence the lack of photos lately. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

Nothing else too exciting here. We officially booked our trip to Morocco, so I am really excited for that. Meg's mother was terribly nervous and scared for us when we told her we had actually booked the trip, but I think she is doing better now. I'm glad my mom knows that there is nothing wrong with going to Morocco as long as you are careful, just like everywhere else. I give credit to Molly for paving the way on that one.

I am definitely missing the comforts of home a little bit. The food situation is pretty dire in our apartment because we are trying to save money so we can use it for traveling. I refuse to pay 9 dollars for a tiny block of Parmesan cheese or 6 dollars for some tortilla chips. So far it's still noodles, meatballs, and sandwiches. Yesterday we got some grapes, apples, carrots, and tea to spice things up a bit. I am also kind of sad that I will be missing out on the beginning of school festivities at UofO. Obviously I am having a great experience over here and everything, but at times I wish I could go back to Eugene and see all my friends there and pick up where we left off last June. Everything I miss now will definitely make me more appreciative when I come home!

Well, I have to look up some independent study classes and figure out what we are going to do now for our four-day weekend. I hope we come up with something. :)

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