Expat Life

An expat plans a trip to the U.S. and shares his thoughts on the death of Justice Scalia

Off to the States. Not until July but I have decided, so it shall come to pass. Unless, of course, it doesn’t.daves logo

I have gotten very comfortable in Cuenca and the thought of traveling back to the U.S. just doesn’t appeal to me. Partly because in the past, other than for Thanksgiving and Christmas, visits with family were infrequent. And the trip itself for me is a chore; it takes a long time to get to the west coast, and I let my mind make it into something just barely possible.

Port Orford, on the Oregon coast.
Port Orford, on the Oregon coast.

The deciding factor was when I learned that one of my grandsons, Jake, is getting married in late August in Southern California. That was quickly followed by “I’d like to go to that”, followed by thoughts of how great it would be to visit with all the wonderful family and friends that I saw during my last trip, in August 2014. Some back and forth in my brain and heart responded with a “yes”.

With children, grandchildren, cousins, nephews and friends living in Montana, Oregon, Northern and Southern California it’s not a simple matter of jumping on a plane. So, the planning has begun for a week or so in Montana; another in Oregon; maybe 10 days in Oakland and the Bay Area; ending with a week or so at the wedding. I will give myself a bit more time than I did in 2014, an extra day here and there, not quite so many visits so close together, even an overnight stay for the flights going and coming. The non-stop movement of the last trip is too much for this old body.

California redwoods.
California redwoods.

I will need to do some driving and my California driver’s license expires in May so the form to get my driving record is in the mail and then on to obtaining my Ecuadorian license. I love to drive and although I am not missing the experience in Ecuador, getting very comfortable with walking and taking the occasional tour, it would be a lot of fun to rent a car and just take off and wander.

* * * *

The unexpected death of of Justice Antonin Scalia has set off a firestorm of verbiage from the right and left, ranging from the reasonable to the outrageous. We each have our viewpoints and in due course things will work out.

Antonin Scalia
Antonin Scalia

What has caught my attention is news of the long friendship between Scalia and Justice Ruth Ginsberg that started in the ’80s. He, the epitome of the right and she, the epitome of the left. Their families vacationed together, they went to the opera together, he taught her quail hunting — they just enjoyed each other’s company. They saw each other as individuals, as fellow human beings, whose disagreements about the law were irrelevant to maintaining a loving friendship. As we discuss and argue about the issues may we keep in mind that the one on the other side of an issue is not the devil incarnate, despicable and inhuman, but simply another human being with a different point of view doing the best he or she can.

Cuídense. With my love, Dave


  • Monte


    I love your humanity. I think your take of Justice Scalia would serve every American well. Too often, we denigrate those with whom we disagree as stupid, venal, or worse. I read that now Americans view political incompatibility as worse for prospective marriages than being of a different religion, ethnic group, etc. This partisan divide is not doing the U.S. any good.

    • StillWatching

      Ditto, Monte. The observations about Scalia and Ginsberg were cogent and poignant.

      Tomorrow, I’m taking LadyLee out to lunch.

  • Carol

    Very well said by both of you Dave and Monte! Much food for thought about living a good life. Good luck with your trip, Dave. I also visit Montana and Oregon – only yearly and now twice yearly because I have 91 year old parents I need to see more often. It is a hard, tiring trip; but very worthwhile to be with family/friends and be a part of the incredible beauty of both States!

  • Kay

    I understand your feeling about the trip to the states That trip is hard on me and I can’t guarantee the time won’t come that I just won’t do it anymore. As it is, I won’t be away from Cuenca for more than two weeks–my life is here.
    As far as Ginsberg and Scalia are concerned…I just cannot be true friends and spend time with someone of a different political persuasion. Bigots, racists, people lacking compassion for their fellow citizens…I am protective of my life and times and….just won’t do it.