Monday, July 02, 2012

Ex-Pat Musings... "Home" Again...

Well I  got back to London yesterday from  my two week business trip to the  U.S.  As good as it always is  to get back to the United States, it is  at the same time  a reminder  of  the reasons I had to leave in the first place.

First was a week in New York, which  is always a bit of a blur.   I  do love  NYC but  it is a city that moves at a ridiculous pace.   It is largely why New Yorkers are the  resilient , slightly cranky people that they are.   New York  is an argument.  If you want to live there,  the city is going to fight you most every step of the way.     I forget who it was who once wrote that every person should live in both New York City  and San Francisco once in their life.  But  not stay in  NY  so long as to become hardened by the experience, or  in SF long  enough to become soft.

My week in New York was incredibly busy, but  I did manage to find time to hang out with  my amazingly talented friends Daniel and Gerardo.  They  moved from  SF to NY  shortly before I moved to London.  So getting to see them in their  new NY Life is always  a plus for me.  As Eric was unable to  come with me  this trip,  Daniel and Gerardo prevented me from spending every night in my hotel room watching MSNBC.

After a week in New York,  I  then flew back to San Francisco.   I  spent Pride Weekend  with my incredible Niece Sophie and my wonderful adopted niece (her flatmate)  Sogole.    It was great to get back to  SF, even if only for  a day and a half.    Of course the frustrating part of it was,  being a just a regular spectator  at  SF Pride,  after years  of being heavily involved at a volunteer.   It was the first time since  2004 I had watched the Parade  from the public side of the barricades.

Then after that all too short visit back to SF,  it was on to Los Angeles  where  I spent all of last week.    I will confess,  LA  has grown on me.  I still could never ever see myself living there.  But  I find I enjoy visiting there far more  then I have in previous years.   I think, as with most  cities,  the more you get to know it,  the more comfortable  you feel.  There was very little free time,  but  I did manage to get down to Manhattan beach and dip my toes into the Pacific Ocean.   Then after  some required  shopping at  Walgreens  to  pick up the various odds and ends I can't get in the UK,  I headed back to LAX and  flew home.

While in New York, I was  walking down Broadway with one my co-workers who had accompanied me on this trip.  We were discussing the  pending  Supreme Court ruling on Health Care.   I remarked that   the United States still didn't have a  NHS  "like we do at home".  My colleague  looked at me in amusement and  pointed out that was the fist time he had heard me refer to London as  "home".    He was correct,  during my previous   business trip to the US, back in January,  I  still spoke of  how nice it was to spend sometime visiting "home",  meaning  California .  

The ex-pat existence is an odd one.   It is a life of  living neither here nor there.   London is my home,  but  it is a city where  I am always  a foreigner.  New York and  Los Angeles are  cities I have never lived in, and therefore certainly can't call them  "home", but  even so,  for  two weeks  I will confess it was very nice to not be the foreigner  for a while.    Back in London,  this week I will celebrate yet another  American Independence Day  from outside the United States, looking in.

As the rhetorical battle  over  equal rights for  LGBT Americans  plays out over the coming months of the  U.S. Presidential election campaign,  those of us who live in  DOMA-Exile  will watch from across oceans and borders and continue to hope for the day that all American couples are treated  equally by our own country.

Happy Fourth of July everyone...

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