Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The Flophouse Summer Vacation
What's missing, of course, is the children. This is the first time in 20 years that my spouse and I are home alone. How strange and I find that I miss my daughters terribly. I hate cooking for two. I miss the family conversations at the end of the day. I wonder how they're doing several times a day. Maybe I'm the one who needs therapy - a group session with the cats to process our respective traumas.
Looking back over the summer however, I am amazed at how much activity we packed into such a very short period of time. Here's just a few things that happened that made the trip so rewarding:
Meeting with the Brocksters in Vancouver: This was one of the two best IRL (In Real Life) meetings I've ever had (the other was one organized in San Francisco many years ago by Electric Minds/Brainstorms). The Isaac Brock Society is a website started by Peter Dunn (Canada) to fight FATCA and citizenship-based taxation. It has become a powerful voice in the debate for many reasons: It has some of the best research around, is open to wide variety of opinions (there is no censorship whatsoever) and it provides support and solace for those eggs (the "not rich" people) who are being adversely impacted by the FATCA/CBT omelet. What a pleasure to meet in person and talk directly with others about what's happening to us - the people in the 99% who are collateral damage in the fight against the 1%. It was really inspiring and I hope we can organize more meetings. Anyone in Europe up for a meeting in, say, Brussels or London?
Visit to the District Offices of my Congresspersons: While I was in Seattle I was able to meet with the staff at the district offices of my representative Jim McDermott and one of my senators, Maria Cantwell. Bravo to both. It was a wonderful experience for me, the people I talked were interesting, engaged, and willing to listen. My sincere thanks to them and to Representative McDermott who took a few minutes as he was coming into the office to talk with me. Made me feel much more a part of the homeland. I'm still an American even if I've abroad for many years and having that be recognized by my representatives meant the world to me. As for the issues, I have no idea how persuasive I was - we'll have to see what happens.
Please note that my other senator, Patty Murray, didn't even acknowledge my request for a meeting. I'm not going to mince words here: That's not cool at all. I would have understood her and her staff not having the time and saying so. Silence I don't understand or accept. Here is a constituent in poor health from abroad who has flown thousand of miles to Seattle and was hardly asking for the moon: thirty minutes to an hour to talk about a few pressing issues that some of us Washington voters from abroad would really like her and her staff to understand. A note would have been a nice gesture. To add insult to injury, at the end of August Senator Murray did a tour of Washington State to hear from constituents.
Ms. Murray - you missed one and she is one very unhappy constituent/registered voter.
Meeting One of My Favorite Bloggers: I've said before on the Flophouse one blog I follow religiously with bittersweet attention is Loic's Carnet de deux expats à Seattle. Loic is a Frenchman who lives in Seattle with his wife and his observations about my hometown never fail to fascinate me. In fact, these days most of the information I get about Seattle is through his blog in French. We met and had so much to talk about. He is a really remarkable guy and what pure pleasure it was to talk with him.
Looking at what I've written so far it seems clear to me that what makes any trip or summer vacation a success is people. Connecting. As I sit here in my little house in Versailles sipping my decaf, my thoughts are exclusively about the people I care about: my Frenchlings, my friends, my frenemies. That will never ever change regardless of where they (and I) are living at any one point in time. As Frank Herbert once put it: “Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place.”