Title: Canadians in the East Wing Author: Briannakin Series: The West Wing Timeframe: Post Season 7 Characters: Helen Santos, Donna Moss, Matt Santos, Josh Lyman, Annabeth Schott and many others. Notes and Disclaimer: I am writing this for the 2017 Dear Diary Challenge! This will be my first foray into a long NSWFF. As a disclaimer, know I am a fairly new fan of The West Wing, not to mention I am Canadian. Like the show, I will take some purposeful liberties when it comes to life in the White House, but I am trying to do research to make this as accurate as I can. HOWEVER, I’m not even going to pretend I even have a “general knowledge” of how the US Government works (I have some, but it is far from comprehensive), so mistakes will be made. Feel free to correct me. I can’t guarantee I’ll change the story unless it is a minor detail or some huge mistake, but I want to learn. There might also be a bit of idealization because I feel we may need it in the coming year (also, because the original show had a fair amount of idealization of politics as well). If you have not seen The West Wing, I do hope you stick around to read this diary. I have a general info blurb in a spoiler tag below which includes some youtube videos (because it’s 2017), and through-out the year (if needed and if non-watchers are reading and enjoying) I’ll include other background info. Plus the first entries by Helen and Donna are both serve as introductions with the majority of the info you should need. Spoiler: General Info The West Wing was an American TV drama that aired from 1999 to 2006. The show took place in an “alternate universe” and covered the majority of the presidential term of Josiah Bartlet (who served as president from January 1999 to January 2007) and focused on president as well as his staff. In the 6th season, Congressman Matt Santos is introduced and much of the final two seasons focus on how he is elected the next president, with the help and guidance a few key members of Bartlet’s former staff (all will be introduced with some background as the become relevant) becoming a part of his and his wife’s staff. The show ends on January 20, 2007 with Matthew Santos becoming the President of the United States (and his wife, Helen Santos, becoming the First Lady). The following two YouTube videos do a fairly decent job summarizing the Santos’ story arc: Part 1; Part 2 (for reference, Helen Santos is the blonde woman at 7:08 and Donna is the blonde woman at 8:45 of the first video; both are seen more in the 2nd video). More info on “The West Wing” general fictional timeline can be found here, but basically everything in history before Richard Nixon’s presidency is the same, but the timeline diverges from our own during the Nixon presidency (there are fan theories as to the details that explain why the election cycle is 2 years off, but it is never explained in the show). Canadians in the East WingThe personal journals of First Lady Helena Santos and Chief of Staff to the First Lady, Donnatella MossEdited by Penelope SocksⒸ2064 Fanfic Press Editor’s Forward The following is a selection of journal entries from First Lady Helena (Helen) Santos and the woman that served as her Chief of Staff, Donnatella (Donna) Moss. As their diaries span several years, this is an abridged version, therefore there will be large gaps in the dates. Both women wrote entries in the same journals, with the intention of their writings eventually becoming published. They provided suitable introductions to their stories and wrote with an future audience in mind, however, some entries will be forwarded with “editors notes”. Note that for reader’s ease, each woman’s entries have been formatted with different colours. It was a joy for me to compile this intimate look at life inside the most powerful house in the United State of America. P. S. Helen Santos - January 19th, 2007 - Entry 1 Tomorrow, I start living the first line of my obituary (and my wikipedia page; I’m not sure which is scarier). Tomorrow, the man I freely chose to spend my life with, who I love with all my being, and who I like most days of the week, becomes the most powerful man in the world. Tomorrow, I become the First Lady of the United States of America. I was born Helena Marcelina Chlebek in Stavely, Alberta, Canada. How I managed to become Helen Santos, wife to the first Hispanic man to be elected President of the United States of America, is a long, unlikely story, but my personal origins are surprisingly easy to summarize. My father, Bogdan Chlebek, immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1935, when he was just four months old, and with his family, settled in the cattle community of Stavely in southern Alberta (where the population has remained a steady 453 people). In 1956, he traveled to Texas for a livestock auction for his father’s cattle ranch. There, he met Angelina Stawski, the descendant of Polish immigrants from the 1850s. The two bonded over their culture and Roman Catholic religion, fell in love, got married, moved to live in a tiny house on the Chlebek cattle ranch where they had four children. I was the third, born in 1968. When my grandfather, who owned the ranch, died in 1981, my father and mother decided to sell the ranch and move to warmer parts: Texas; to be closer to my mother’s family. I, being, 13, was forced to move to Huston, Texas. I met Matt while I was in college (which is a tale better saved for another entry). Matthew Vincente Santos was born in Huston, Texas, in 1961. He’s the fourth out of seven children and grew up in the oldest Mexican-American neighborhood in Huston - being of the sixth generation of Santos’ to do so. When I met him, he was a Naval Aviator in the Marines, having graduated top of his class at the United States Naval Academy. He is 7 years older than me, but once we realized we loved each other, it was meant to be. We were married the autumn of 1991. I studied anthropology and archeology in school and received my Bachelor of Arts degree in 1991 and my Master’s in 1993. It was hardly training for the life I’m about to live or the role I will soon have. Our tentative plan was, when Matt got out of the Marines full-time, I was going to return to school and get my PhD so I could teach. But when Matt entered the Marine Corps Reserve in ’93, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in politics. He told me it was going to be an adventure. I just never thought the adventure would land him into the position of president. He began as a councilman for the City of Huston. During that time I had Peter Matthew, our son, now 11. Then Matt decided he wanted to run for mayor. He won. Twice. He ran for congress in 2000 and served three terms as Representative for Texas’ 18th District. I had Miranda Marie, who is now almost 6, in 2001: Matt’s first year in congress. How I survived that, I don’t know. Matt had decided he was finished with politics. He had grown frustrated with the lack of impact he was able to have on every-day life of average people. Just when it looked like I could finish my education, Joshua Lyman showed up at our doorstep on Christmas Eve. Somehow, he convinced Matt to run for president. I had my mouth full of melted ice-cream when Matt shared with me the “stupid idea”. But I could see it in his eyes: he wanted it. At first, he entered the race for Democratic nominee for the 2006 presidential election simply to bring awareness to issues: mainly education reform. He simply wanted to stay in the race long enough for the Texas primaries so he could show so many children that the colour of their skin did not matter. Then, something bizarre happened. He actually started winning. He won the nomination and somehow, he won the presidency. Now, after almost 3 months, the transition period is over. Tomorrow he takes the oath of office. I will be at his side, as I always am. So I guess today is just as good of a day to start as any to start a new journal. I used to write in diaries a lot as a kid; it helped me process thoughts. Though those always remained private. This journal (much like my entire life now) is meant to be eventually read by whoever wants to. People in my position (or rather the position I will hold as of noon tomorrow) often publish personal memoirs, so why not do both at once? I asked the woman who I have asked to be my chief of staff, to join me in this chronicling venture. I will let her introduce herself. I asked her to be my right-hand person because I felt we have a friendship forming, plus, she recently relieved that she was technically born in Canada, so I feel as though our professional and personal connection was fate. Plus it really just bugged Matt that I managed to get her on my staff and he didn't get her. She has much more experience in the world of politics than I, but even she has admitted she feels like a novice in this world. But at this point, I feel completely lost without her. If anything, this will be an entertaining look at life inside America’s most powerful home, from the point of view of two Canadians. H.S. Donna Moss - 01/19/2007 - Entry 1 Hello. This is my first time writing something that a large audience will actually read. I guess I shall start with introducing myself and catching everyone up with my story so far. My name is Donnatella Kathrine Moss. I was born in Warroad, Minnesota, which, just a few years ago, was repositioned into Canada when that section of the boarder was reexamined. Though I technically kept my American Citizenship, I was officially born in Manitoba, Canada. That is probably the most interesting fact about me. My mom is Celia Moss, a nurse, and my father is Kevin Moss, an accountant. We moved to Wisconsin when I was 6 and I have two younger brothers: Dario and Dante (Mom picked all our names). I studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, though I never settled on a major. I had to drop out to support my boyfriend, who promptly dumped me after he finished medical school. It was then that I joined "Bartlet for America" presidential campaign that eventually won. It was there that I met Josh Lyman. I had pretended to be assigned as his assistant. But I guess he liked me, because he hired me and I spent six years as his assistant - my official role was Senior Assistant to the Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Strategic Planning. It was mostly good, but it got to a point where I could no longer work under him. I quit and became a senior aid on the Bob Russell presidential campaign, at the same time when Josh was knocking on the Santos’ door. However, when Russell lost the nomination to Santos, I was hired as a campaign spokeswoman for Santos. Mrs. Santos and I grew to be friends, I feel, on the campaign. And, Josh and I, finally, realized the feelings we have for each other. We haven’t said as much, but we are dating. When, against what felt like all odds, Santos won, I was offered deputy White House press secretary by Josh and Helen Santos offered me the position of her Chief of Staff. I knew I could not work under Josh and date him at the same time. I think that’s part of reason why it took us so long to get to this point in our personal relationship. After much thought, I took Mrs. Santos' offer. Though my experience is largely in the West Wing, for some reason I felt it was the right choice for me as soon as I made it. I’m not sure why I didn’t make this move years ago. Though this where we belong, I have a feeling the adventure has only started. Helen Santos is a smart and savvy woman. The Office of the First Lady can do so much. We might not be the activists that our predecessor Abbey Bartlet and her staff were. But we really have a platform like no other, and we intend to use it. D.M.