It's Overseas Americans week and the weather is cold and clear here in Washington, D.C.
The first day was a whirlwind of activity which started with an early morning kickoff in the House cafeteria and ended with a debriefing at Bullfeathers.
It was quite a day. So many meetings, so much to say. In some cases it was a chance to say "thank you" to those US lawmakers who are part of the Americans Abroad caucus and in others it was an opportunity to educate those who don't know a lot about us and the issues we are facing (tax issues, banking discrimination...)
But the high point of the first day was a trip over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a meeting with Nina Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate, and her team. For those of you who are not familiar with their work, have a look at their 2013 report to Congress and you'll see that our top issues make their list of the Taxpayers Advocate Service's Most Serious Problems.
Toward the end of the meeting I had the chance to fulfill my promise to all of you who asked me to convey our appreciation for her work. Americans all over the world read your reports, I said, and it means so much to all of us to know that you are in our corner.
Frankly, meeting Nina Olson and her team was all by itself worth the trip. Everything after this will be the cerise sur le gâteau (the cherry on the cake).
More pictures up on the official AARO Facebook feed if you are interested. And Ellen Lebelle just posted about Day 1 on her blog Thinking Out Loud.
Tuesday's agenda is even busier than Monday's.
Wish us luck and à demain.