Monday, April 06, 2009

The Obamas in London

So I’ve been searching my mind for what to write about…anything that will get me out of the mini doldrums I’ve been in lately. In that vein of reviving myself, I immediately thought of one thing that’s brighten things for me this past week…the President and First Lady visiting London for the summit.

It was nice to see them when they arrived and to know that they were in the same country as me for a time. Once I saw them coming down the steps of Air Force One, I started to smile. It was like reminders of home came down those stairs with them. Sometimes I feel so detached from home here, so I was more excited than I thought I would be. I have of course never met the Obamas, but it almost felt like family was coming to visit. I hope that that doesn’t sound crazy, but that’s how it felt. (smile) As an expat, you sometimes find yourself clinging onto anything or anyone from home just to stay afloat when the outsider feeling hits. So I guess this is why it made me so happy to see them.

The coverage was generally positive. I wasn’t looking for endless perfect stories about them, because they aren’t perfect, nobody is. I was just looking for home and they represented that to me. I know that there was that whole story about the First Lady touching the Queen, but from the reports I’ve read, the word from Buckingham Palace is that it was no big deal to the Queen. And some even report that the Queen reached out first. But at the end of the day, as long as the Queen didn’t mind, the media should just leave it alone. And apparently the Queen asked the First Lady to keep in touch now that they’ve met, so I think that closes that case. (smile)

As I mentioned, the coverage was pretty fair overall. The First Lady charmed her way around London. She visited cancer patients and they were touched by her caring way and down to earth manner. She dished out hugs and just watching her made me proud that this lady represents our country to the world.

I did think it was interesting on the second day when the First Lady spent the day with the other G20 wives and the Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs. Brown. One report that I read that morning went on about the First Lady’s outfit that day and they did the same about Mrs. Brown. Why do women have to be judged by what they wear first no matter what they are doing???? Anyway, this reporter tore into both of them…this person hated Mrs. Obama’s blue skirt and argyle cardigan and Mrs. Brown’s fitted dress, but who cares (rolling my eyes). I love fashion as much as the next person, but enough already with the snarky analysis every day. By the way, I thought they both looked fine that day. (smile)

That day was probably my favorite day of watching Mrs. Obama. She kept her own schedule whilst the President tended to his work. She spent a good bit of time with Mrs. Brown and the other wives, but on the day when this annoying reporter raked her and Mrs. Brown over the coals because of their clothes, I thought Mrs. Obama came into her own on the world stage. She did a visit to a girls’ school in London as I’m sure many of you have read about. This touched my heart.

Mrs. Obama gave a talk to these girls, just as I’ve seen her do back home and it was a moment when I realized that borders are irrelevant when you talk from the heart. She had an emotional change in her voice as she told those girls that she understands the humble beginnings that some of them have had because that is where she started in life. She told them that education is the key to getting where they want to go and that the world needs more strong women like them in the making. It just warmed my heart. I kept thinking, if only I had heard those words when I was their age…who knows ????(smile) I was just so happy for those girls. They were so excited to see her and she passed out loads of hugs again. There were some waves of nonsense in the papers about her hugging, but the people that she hugged didn’t mind, and one young girl afterwards met her mom outside the school and they showed her screeching to her that she’d had a hug from Mrs. Obama. So I just say to the haters…back off. LOL. Those hugs were for those girls…our future women. (smile) Sometimes you just need a hug…I wish I had one right now. (smile)

This moment at the school touched me most of all, because Mrs. Obama could have saved all of that inspiration for our young people back home, but she didn’t and I love that. She shared her story with these girls and reached out for that common denominator, and left behind nationality, and inspired those girls who will always carry that experience with them. I was SO proud of our First Lady that day. (smile)

My other favorite moment of this visit came from the President. He was walking into 10 Downing Street with the Prime Minister and along the way he greeted the policeman standing at the door and shook his hand. I just loved that. I love it when people are decent to each other, no matter who we are.

The Obamas left London on Friday and I hated to see them go, but I’m glad that they came here and brought such a good vibe with them. Quite indirectly, they helped this expat touch base with the folks from home. (smile) I needed that.

7 comments:

Ivanhoe said...

Oh honey... I get homesick like that, too, from time to time. What helps me is to make some "home-y" food :o)
Sending you lots of hugs!

Athena said...

What wonderful stories. Thanks for sharing your feelings about the Obamas here. :)

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

Yes both President Obama and First Lady did us proud in London. It was so touching to have Michelle talk to those girls and give them such a lasting memory.

Maureen said...

What a lovely, thoughtful post! I felt similar emotions about the Obamas in London. I was excited and proud that they were here and in particular I was impressed with Michelle Obama and her visit to the school in London. I wrote a short post about her here:

Michelle Obama: The inspiring First Lady
http://brilliantbritain.blogspot.com/2009/04/michelle-obama-inspiring-first-lady.html

Mountain Woman said...

I'm glad their visit made you feel better and you had a touch of home over there with you.

Duni said...

That was a lovely read. I'm very impressed with the First Lady. She's intelligent, poised and strong-willed. Things I admire in women. Unfortunately, there will always be reporters who ridicule what the ladies are wearing. They do the same here with our Lady-Chancellor. It's for the tabloids, I guess!
Hope you feel less homesick soon...

Dori said...

Ivanhoe,
Thanks for the support my friend :) I'm planning on making some home-y food this weekend. Lots of love to you.

Athena,
I'm glad you enjoyed my post and thanks for visiting me :)

Alicia/Fashiona,
Yes, they made me so proud. It was wonderful to watch :) And Michelle's talk was just awesome.

Maureen,
Glad you liked my take on things. I loved your post too. I added you to my blogroll so that everyone can read it :)

Mountain Woman,
Yes, their visit came at just the right time :)

Duni,
Yes, the First Lady is wonderful and as you said, a woman with admirable attributes. And yeah, I know that the press, especially the tabloids are full of garbage...especially about strong women like the First Lady and your Chancellor Merkel. It comes with the territory I guess. Anyway, I love that both women and others just keep doing their thing :) Thanks for reaching out about my homesickness.