Today is Election Day here in Milan. One year ago I was very excited about this day, for it was the first time I was able to vote, having received my Italian citizenship after a decade of residing in Italy. Voting in Italy is simple and I mean really and truly easy. Which is why I imagine there are no real directions on the ballot. The thing is I asked my husband about 10,000 times before arriving what to expect, to which he would reply ‘nothing – just make an ‘X’ next to the name you want to vote for.’ So when we arrive I feel confident that I won’t have any problems. I take my ballots and go into the booth. As I start to open the first ballot I become very worried, once all unfolded it’s as big as a king size bed sheet and there is absolutely nothing written on it. Just a hundred little symbols with blank lines on the side. That’s it. No instructions, no bubbles to fill in with a number 2 pencil, and no squares next to names to make my ‘X’.. NOTHING.
Fortunately I am with S-man, (my husband) so I peek my head outside the little blue velvet curtain and say ‘pssst, which one is th-‘ to which my husband, hugely annoyed, sort of whisper yells – ‘THE X, PUT THE X!!!!!!!!!’
It is precisely in this moment that I decide that the next time we go to the United States I will let him come with children and I in the US CITIZENS line, and wait until we are at the front of the line before I tell the security guard that he is strange man who has followed us since we left Italy..
Frustrated, I finally figure it out and spend the next 10 minutes trying to re-fold my ballots. (Masters in Origami required to do so correctly) Once outside my husband says ‘potevi chiedermi prima se non eri sicura.’ which means you should have asked me before if you weren’t sure. I smile…. thinking about our next trip to America.