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We Have To Let The Sunshine In, Somehow (Like Obama Says, The Sun Is Going To Rise Tomorrow…An

It’s Wednesday, November 9th, 2016. The woman who I undoubtedly thought would become the first female president of the United States of America lost our country’s election last night. Not the popular vote (and votes amongst my own age group), but those

of the Electoral College. Pennsylvania went red. Ohio. Florida. Arizona. Wisconsin. Michigan.

I thought I’d go to sleep last night and wake up excited for the future of our country. I woke up at 5am (12am East Coast, 9pm West Coast) to Trump winning states. Actually winning. This whole time I’d thought his candidacy was just one big publicity stunt. Maybe Ashton was going to come onto Claud’s computer screen interrupting CNN’s broadcast of the coverage to tell us we’d all been Punk’d. But no. This was real. Not like Black Mirror, as all my friends so eerily claimed this election morning felt like. Donald J. Trump won the U.S. Presidential Election.

My only saving grace as we all crowded around our dining room table in our London flat this morning was CNN panelist Van Jones, who spoke with a lucid mind to all of us wondering how on Earth this could possibly be happening. Alliyah even messaged me telling me to stay in England.

Funnily enough, I’d joked to friends that I’d stay in England if he won, never realistically thinking this result would come to pass.

But of course, I can’t stay in England. I’m coming home in practically four weeks. I was proud to be an American yesterday. Excited for what was to come, to return to my home. And you know what, I still CAN be.

Trump winning is the most shocking political event of my lifetime that I was cognizant enough to acknowledge during its occurrence. 9/11. Obama winning. Osama Bin Laden. So many more, but this is one of the first times I felt so invested. I voted. I thought I was helping to make my country better.

And today I went back to sleep at 8am thinking this was only a nightmare. There had to be a recount like with Al Gore. This man who preaches hatred, disapproves of gay marriage, and thinks it’s alright to demean women and nominally every other group aside from his particular demographic bracket could not be the leader of the free world. He has no political experience whatsoever and has the most limited vocabulary of any public speaker I’ve ever heard. He will have access to nuclear codes, is in charge of the army, has to diplomatically represent us when speaking with leaders of other nations. The man we’re all supposed to look up to. Nor Mike Pence, the Vice President, who penned an op-ed calling Mulan liberal propaganda espousing ideals that are ludicrous for women to aspire to (and how it was only natural she fell for her “superior” Shang) and who adamantly opposes all pro-LGBT legislation.

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But when we all had to arise for our 9:30am class call time to go on a tour of Bow Arts on the East End, we all couldn’t have been more emotionally drained and numb. I felt like a walking, depressed, zombie. Hearing from painters like Matthew Weir  was certainly interesting, as he also listens to music repetitively as part of his “creative process.” But today was not an ideal day to take a group of American college students from California on a field trip after such a shocking and crushing election.

Our professor did buy us coffee though, which was kind.

I tried to find solace by ticking the last food item off my Borough Market food list by getting a panini from “Gastronomica.” I felt terrible, as I couldn’t even form coherent sentences stating how I didn’t understand the man trying to take my order because he was speaking Italian. I apologized profusely for assuming he didn’t speak English, but that I’d gotten next to no sleep since I’m from America and was up all night watching the election only to be devastated this morning. He graciously told me not to worry about it, how he was only trying to be humorous, and that he felt so sorry for us, prodding as to how this could have happened.

I then got a warm apple juice in vain to warm my soul, and walked along the South Bank, just to feel the wind hit my face until I reached my Love Actually bench. I simply sat there and cried. Me, in my beanie and six layers, attempting to collect

myself and let the reality sink in that Trump is the President-elect. No one to call, but just fixedly gazing at the squares on the pavement.

I returned home to continue eating my sorrows and to see Hillary’s concession speech. She was obviously pained, but her poise and strength was exactly what all of us sitting dumbfounded at the state of our nation needed. Her direct address to young girls, and us young people who voted, telling us to never stop trying to fight for what we deem is right, really hit me. All of us were crying watching the person we all believed would win yesterday say goodbye to her “long and hard-fought campaign,” as Trump repeatedly dictated in his acceptance speech. After the tears, Obama’s steady demeanor and urging to not grow cynical, to realize there will be more elections, that this is how campaigns work, that we are all on the same side and want the best America for our people…my mother assures me, as did he in his speech, that he will work with Trump and coordinate an easy transition of power.


But I am scared. And worried. And anxious. And I don’t want my rights or my friends’ rights taken away. Or anyone who believes America is the land of the free to think it’s not anymore. That’s what makes me proud to BE an American. But Trump’s “rhetoric” does not represent me, or my views. I will believe and act however I believe I should act and want to represent myself and still be an AMERICAN, the AMERICA I am proud to hail from.

I don’t understand voting for Trump. For economic reasons, buying into this culture of fear and scare tactics. But I choose not to partake and to instead have faith in our democracy to not totally derail all the progress we’ve made as a nation. We all have to go on living, move on and accept that this is what our country has decided. I guess I existed in such an insular bubble of people who were all pro-Hillary and anti-Trump that I just assumed she was sure to win. But the silent majority has spoken, and although this morning I felt quite cynical and in the True Detective Season 2 advert mindset that “we get the world we deserve,” I believe we get the world we choose to create for ourselves.


And I’m going to keep on enjoying my time here in London the best that I can, and the rest of my life for that matter–the next four years and beyond. What else can you do?

I feel as if I should include what I did this past week to be consistent but also for my mother’s benefit.

SO, the main highlights of this past week include:

Markets, Jane Austen’s house, and the Harry Potter Studio Tour, essentially.

I went to Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill on Saturday. Saw a great band who sang an Oasis cover (shout-out to MMFD) and finally got a gyro, which I’ve been craving for weeks, as Claud can attest.

Claud, Kris, and I then grabbed some hot chocolate in Covent Garden before Claud and I headed over to the Barbican to see Cymbeline. This play, along with The Taming of the Shrew (EXCLUDING 10 Things I Hate About You–fabulous, feminist film), are two of Shakespeare’s works that I am NOT a fan of. The plot is so convoluted and the third act is filled with explanatory dialogue with every character piling on top of another to describe what had come to pass in the story from his or her perspective.

Headache. 3 hours and 40 minutes too long. The production design was phenomenal, but wow, Claudia and I were NOT pleased on our night bus home.

The next day, Claud and I checked out some more markets (got to fit them in before we return back to the mess this election has left us with)–Spitalfields and Brick Lane! Finally saw the Bleecker St. permanent shop. I’ll have to return there once again to finally get my Black Pudding Burger!

We walked through the Old Truman Brewery (all flea market stands) and consumed some yummy lattes (I got a honey one) from The Black Cab Coffee Company–a coffee pop-up INSIDE a black cab. It was so cool, and we learned

what the idiom “How’s tricks?” means (How are things?).

Next up was “beigels,” aka bagels. I got Shoreditch’s version of a bacon, egg, and cheese: salted beef with cheddar cheese and a boiled egg on a rainbow bagel. Not bad!!

I also spotted the same band from Notting Hill the day before!! Made sure to tell them how excellent I thought they were 🙂 They know where to go to attract a crowd!

Brick Lane was also the locale of my first “warm apple juice” with cinnamon and ginger. Felt just like the holiday season warmth in your tummy feeling that comes to mind when you think of family and love and hugs and Christmas trees. Downed it oh-so-quickly. And it’s perfect for our current state of cold weather! Warms up my hands even through my gloves.


Monday Claud and I went to Jane Austen’s House in Chawton!! We couldn’t leave England without seeing the home where she revised P & P and spent the last years of her life!!! We toured throughout her home, and one of the guides even invited me to play on a 200-year-old piano! I felt so unworthy, and

the songbook was open to the Pride & Prejudice theme. I do miss playing the piano with Rachie plunking notes beside me.

The home itself is beautiful, and we learned all about her closeness with her sister Cassandra (naturally the inspiration for the closeness between Elizabeth & Jane in P & P and Elinor & Marianne in Sense & Sensibility) and the influence of two of her brothers’ professions as sailors on esteeming them in her novels (Captain Wentworth in Persuasion, anyone?).

And we also MET HER GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT (?) NEPHEW!!!!!!!! He volunteers at the museum and so casually revealed his identity to us

that you can imagine how shocked we were (in a good way on Monday). We were looking at a portrait of Jane’s grandfather John Austen, and as I turned around, he, who was also in the room sitting by the window, said how he was his descendant, and thereby Jane’s. OK.

He shared how his favorite of Jane’s novels is Emma and quoted me a line from it! We bonded over how we both take notes of quotes we like from books too! He later showed me a typed clipping of the particular quote after pulling it from his briefcase downstairs as we were departing. What a thrilling surprise though!!! To meet someone related to Jane Austen. While we were in Chawton. In England. What a blessing.

Tuesday we had class as usual, but I realized right after that I’d left my Oyster card back at

the flat–and I needed it for our afternoon trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour!!!! Kris RAN back with me to Waterloo (Milan all over again), I grabbed it (along with a letter from Grams at the front desk), jumped onto the tube to Euston, and managed to make a train that left only a few minutes after our originally-scheduled one. Somehow, as the sun indeed rises every morning, things always manage to work out.

I munched on my “Christmas Lunch” sandwich from “Pret a Manger” on the way there too–SO good.

The tour itself was UNREAL. They had practically EVERYTHING from

the films. The cupboard under the stairs. The door to the Chamber of Secrets. Hermione’s dress from the Yule Ball. The Golden Snitch. A Harry Potter fan’s dream.

I also finally got my Platform 9 3/4 picture!! Not necessarily at King’s Cross, but still right next to the train they rode in the films!!! I do think it was along the Jacobite Steam Train line in Scotland. Also SO much of the scenery was inspired by Scotland’s landscape or simply shot there. So gorgeous (except for those instances when the rain destroys your phone, but let’s not dwell on that).

We all tried Butterbeer; well, the ice cream version for me since I tried the drink at Universal and found it to be WAY too sweet. No no.

Our last hour we saw 4 Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge, the chess pieces from Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’sStone, and the most incredible model of Hogwarts you could ever imagine. It was grand, epic, detailed, amazing to behold.

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So, that essentially recaps my week up till yesterday/today’s unveiling. Going through these past few days of adventure does give me some perspective on what this election means for my life going forward. I just have to make the most out of each moment, do all that I can to lead the most fulfilling life I can and those around me whom I care about as well as those whom I don’t know but desire to have just as full of a life as I do. It’s only fair. It’s the American Dream. It’s the justice system our country is built upon. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. EVERYONE is entitled to that. And please, no one forget the 14th Amendment. Please. Please. Please.

Trump walked off the stage to The Rolling Stones’ (against their will, my mother assures me) “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The lyrics, as you well know, go: “You can’t always get what you want / But If you try sometime you find /  You get what you need.”  Trump is definitely not the President I want or was expecting, and although Middle and Southeastern America think that he is the President we need, I have to have hope and ultimately, keep an open mind like Obama and Hillary are espousing.

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I’ve been listening to Hair‘s “Let The Sunshine In” all day. This whole vehemence towards the President-elect reminds me of the closing scene of the film where there is a giant rally outside the White House during which hippies ask LBJ to just “let the sunshine in”–stop the Vietnam War, embrace love, inspire hope. I have to let the sunshine in and hope for a brighter tomorrow. Hopefully Trump lets the sunshine in to lead our country (never thought I’d be writing that sentence) in a way that surprises us for the better. Hopefully America lets the sunshine in to heal the wounds of divide none of us apparently knew were so deeply-rooted till this morning. I have hope. I have to.

Cheers, Tara xx

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