She was a stranger, and she kissed me. Just for being an American.
It happened on the bus on my way to work Wednesday morning, a few hours after compatriots clamoring for change swept Barack Obama to his historic victory. I was on the phone, and the 20-something Austrian woman seated in front of me overheard me speaking English.
Without a word, she turned, pecked me on the cheek and stepped off at the next stop.
Nothing was said, but the message was clear: Today, we are all Americans.
For longtime U.S. expatriates like me — someone far more accustomed to being targeted over unpopular policies, for having my very Americanness publicly assailed — it feels like an extraordinary turnabout.
Like a long journey over a very bumpy road has abruptly come to an end.
And it's not just me.
An American colleague in Egypt says several people came up to her on the streets of Cairo and said: "America, hooray!" Others, including strangers, expressed congratulations with a smile and a hand over their hearts.
Another colleague, in Amman, says Jordanians stopped her on the street and that several women described how they wept with joy.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I'm amazed by the worldwide reaction to Barack Obama being elected President. Here's an excerpt from AP story that jumped out at me . . .