I Watched The Election Results From Madrid

My results party on Tuesday night was watching CNN International with a friend in Madrid — far from the expected excitement of that glass ceiling being shattered at the Javits Center in New York City. At first, the plan was to head to bed early and wake up around 4 a.m. to start watching some of the second round of states coming in. But then Florida was so enticing that I decided to stay up, celebrate winning the state, and head to bed knowing that Clinton had won. But that was not the case, and watching Clinton lose from Europe was beyond awful.

I'm reeling from Hillary Clinton's loss just like you are— or at least from Trump's win if you're a Berner — and sadly it's not just a bad dream. That might have seemed like a decent explanation at first when I read the news as it was the middle of the night here. "Am I only dreaming? Or is this burning a Blue Wall?" goes through the soundtrack in my head. But first let's rewind. My friend left when Florida started to seem unlikely — if not impossible — to go for Clinton. Virginia wasn't looking great either, but plenty of the vote was still out.

So I decided I would sleep — this is around 3 a.m. my time. It was silly to stay awake and worry when in a few hours Clinton would win it anyway, right? Fear kept me tossing and turning for 15 minutes and then the phone beeps. My dad texts from Iowa, "Are you watching?" I respond that I am, and turned on the TV again. Not much new, Florida's still looking bad as is North Carolina. But hey, Virginia is finally called for Clinton. On that note I was out.

Only for about four hours, when I woke up with the urge to check my phone. And then there it is, the dreaded New York Times notification along the lines of: "Trump seems to have won Pennsylvania and is almost surely certain to win the White House." I turn on CNN and they haven't called it yet, but John King is frantically looking for votes on his interactive touchscreen in Democratic-heavy counties in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. He's come up short. And that was that. A restless night followed by an early morning of disappointment.

Maybe, I'm out of touch, and it was just as miserable to learn this news on Mountain Time or Eastern. But the last time around in 2012, I was on the ground in Iowa. I had knocked on 100 doors to elect President Obama for the second time. There were people to be with, one way or the other. Receiving the news in the echo chamber of my Spanish apartment seemed extremely far removed from the diverse American experience that has been ushering us toward change these past eight years.

Soon, I realized I was not alone. Friends and family from near and far were messaging me to check in. Spanish friends in New York, African friends in France, and even a friend's mom in rural Spain were checking in to see how I was doing, to send their condolences. A Scottish friend still suffering the effects of Brexit even sent some tips on dealing with the loss that he'd found helpful.

All this helped me remember the true story this election: As Clinton said, we're stronger together. And that's true even on the other side of the world. Donald Trump may be president elect, but that just means we have to work even harder these next four years and every day after that to make the country a better place. If nothing else, this awful campaign has shown what problems we're truly facing. Racism, xenophobia, sexism, it's all out in the open, but they're not here for long. It's game time.