Integrate or Indigenate?

For the life of me, I can’t remember where I saw the term or its definition but I thought it was a fascinating alternative to  cast into the assimilation versus integration debates roiling so many nation-states today.

The term is “indigenate” and as I understood it, it means to integrate into a society as we imagine it existed in the past. It’s for migrants who aren’t all that interested in modern France (or Japan, Bolivia, Canada…) but who think it would be very cool to turn back the clock a few hundred years and try to live as the ancestors or “indigenous people” in those societies did.

How this might be accomplished,  I have no idea.  And I wonder what the immigration authorities or the general public would think of a migrant who came and tried. For countries that glorify their pasts, I would think they would be flattered on one level and offended on another.  It does show an appreciation for the history and culture of a place, but it also implies that the modern version of the nation lacks something compared to its past.

Which, mes amis, is kind of what traditionalists tell us all the time:  “Things were better in the past.”  And if some migrants not only agree, but want to come and make it so, would they be more welcome?

J’en doute.


Chickens in the Snow

We don’t get snow very often here in Versailles but last night we got a lot.  A layer of white over everything. Very pretty.  I’m a fan.

The chickens however, are not.

The crust isn’t enough to hold their weight and their little feet get cold, fast, when they sink into a couple of centimeters of the white stuff.  It annoys them and they chatter at me to do something about all of this, damn it!  Sorry, kiddos, I don’t make the weather.

I was up at 6 AM to open up the coop and give them their kibble. I even cleared a little path for them.  (Yes, I love my chickens).  Here are a few pictures:

EU Study on FATCA

I completely missed this one when it came out but, thankfully, someone clued me in. (Thank you, Rebecca!)  But I was very pleased to see that the topic is still alive at the EU and that they are taking a serious look at how this legislation is working for the EU and its citizens.

In May of this year, the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Right and Constitutional Affairs released a study about the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and its impact on people in the EU (and elsewhere).  You can find the full study here.

You can also watch this 17-minute presentation of the study by Carlo Garbarino, Professor of Tax Law, Bocconi University, Milan.

What I Did During Summer Vacation – Midterm Election Project

Like a lot of Americans abroad I grumble about our representation in the US Congress.  Our issues like citizenship-based taxation and banking don’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda.  Are they listening?  If so, what exactly are their positions on the things that I and others care deeply about?

This summer I stopped grumbling and started working.  I’m a member of the Association of Americans Resident Overseas and it seemed to me that this was a great place to try to do something positive, practical, and useful.  Thus, the AARO Midterm Election Project was conceived as a way to answer the above questions for me and for my fellow Americans abroad BEFORE the election.

AARO selected 9 states for this pilot project and project team volunteers sent messages to all the candidates of all parties (this initiative is 100% non-partisan) for the US House and Senate inviting them to answer three questions about taxation, services and banking.  Candidates were also given space to send a personal message to their overseas constituent voters.

You can learn more about the project and read the candidate responses (see the right-hand side bar and select a state) on the AARO website at the following link:

AARO 2018 Midterm Election Project

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the responses received so far.  Some candidates are indeed listening and have written thoughtful responses.  Some understand us very well because they are former Americans abroad or have family members who are.  I am also surprised that the state with the most responses so far is Texas.

So head over and have a look.  And then please share the responses with your fellow Americans abroad.  This is a midterm election resource for ALL of us from Suresnes to Stockholm to Shanghai.

If you would like to be notified when new responses come in the project team is publishing updates on the AARO Facebook and Twitter feeds. If you have any questions about the project, just email the project team at

And if you happen to be a constituent/voter of one of the 9 states and you see that the candidates in your home state and/or district have NOT replied, here’s how you can nudge them into answering in three easy steps.

Because if they don’t answer then that says to me that they aren’t listening.  And the last thing Americans abroad need are representatives that don’t listen and won’t take a stand on the issues that matter most to us. My .02.

A Video That Makes Me Want to Vote

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the US midterm elections these days because of a project I’m working on.  A strictly non-partisan project, mind you.  And today a member of the project team sent me this campaign video by Air Force veteran M.J. Hegar who is running for Congress in Texas (District 31).

It’s really well done and I empathize  with where she’s coming from because, hey,  as someone who has haunted the halls of Congress and fought for meetings with my Congressional Reps at their offices in Seattle, I’ve had that same feeling that just being a mere constituent doesn’t necessarily get you very far with some (not all) US politicians.


Flophouse Stock and Crop Report


“Don’t let the chickens roam in your garden!  They will destroy it and you’ll get nothing.”

That’s what I’d always heard and believed.  It seemed intuitively true.  Lord knows, when I was growing up I saw many a chicken run with bare dirt because those little tornadoes ate every last bit of grass.

That turned out to be contempt before investigation.  The last three days I’ve allowed the hens the run of the garden and so far it’s working out.  In fact, they are turning out to be the best garden helpers I’ve ever had.

Continue reading Flophouse Stock and Crop Report

Chicken Run – Flophouse Style

This morning we picked up our chickens.  Two lovely hens that we “adopted” courtesy of the city of Versailles.  The price was right:  Ten euros.

Messy little beasts – in a few short hours they had overturned their feed and water and have dug down at least two centimeters into the earth in their little run.

Watching them peck at the dirt and gargle their water is, well, rather hypnotic.  There was a family in the apartment next door who had their window open and loud male voice cried out, “Les poules sont arrivées!” and they leaned out the window to see their new neighbors.

They eventually closed the window but their little girl stayed and had her face glued to the glass watching the chickens do their thing.  I’m with her – it’s a great stress reliever.

We will be letting them free-range.  Sort of.  We have constructed a moveable “playpen” with tunnels going from their main run to a larger area.

Meet Bonnie the Black and Buffy the Red.