Guus Bosman

software engineering director

You are here


European Constitution? Yes!

Tomorrow a referendum on the proposed European Constitution will be held in the Netherlands.

Until a few weeks ago I was considering voting against the constitution. My main reason was a big disappointment with the document itself. It's a great idea to have a referendum about such an important decision, but I think it's ridiculous to have a constitution that is hundreds of pages in size and is so extremely detailed. A constitution should be a document for the common people, in common language, and not a political treaty or combinations of treaties for politicians. It must be readable!

European flag.The Dutch constitution for example, is about 30 pages. Dry text, fair enough, but readable and in a manageable size. The U.S. Constitution? Also pretty readable, about 20 or 30 pages, and fairly easy to read. But take the text of the proposed European Constitution: hundreds of pages long, describing in detail how each and every committee is supposed to function, what it's supposed to do and what the scope of their work is.

Now, I am not afraid of reading large amounts of text, but I must admit I did not read the entire text of the constitution, and I will bet that 99% of tomorrow's voters haven't either. That's a shame; I like reading and I've read the Dutch and U.S. Constitution a few times, but now I have to vote for something that I just cannot force myself to read completely. Obviously -- good and solid documentation of what the European government can and cannot do is important, but a document with this level of detail is not a constitution, it's a treaty.

However, when the date for the referendum was approaching, I realized that this was not an election on a single document but it's a chance to say "yes" or "no" at continuing European integration, and to indicate whether or not I support the ideal of a united Europe. And that is definitely the case, I believe it's great for European countries to join and work together to remove artificial barriers on economic and political cooperation.

I was only strengthened in my position when I heard to arguments of the "no" voters. I realized that I really am a "yes" voter: yes, I am in favor of an internal liberalized economic market, and yes, I am in favor of a stronger common foreign policy for the E.U. And by the way: no, I am not afraid that Holland will ever loose its identity, nor I am not scared of increased competition between countries -- I think that that will actually make the European economies stronger in the long run. The one thing that I believe is the very best reason for an ever closer union in Europe, is the extremely bloody previous century. Having German and France in one political group, having Poland and Italy making joint decisions is the best argument ever to support a strong Europe -- supporting different cultures, supporting diversity, sure: but fundamentaly being linked together.

There are a lot of problems to be fixed in the current European government, and the sheer size of the constitution is one of them, but voting "no" now will not make that any easier for the people working on that.

Of course, what will happen now the French said "non" a few days ago is unclear, but I that won't stop me from saying "ja" to the European constitution, or from believing in the ideal of Europe getting closer together.

I gave my registration card registration card to Bianca who delivered it to my parents today (thanks!), who will then vote for me tomorrow.

So Jaap or Mieke, if you read this: "ja", please.


To the beach

To the beach.Yesterday's weather forecast indicated showers for today, but when we woke up the sun was shining brightly.

We went for breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. It was nice to be there with Sasha, and I introduced her to the intricacies of ordering breakfast in San Juan. The main point is: "you cannot beat the system".

The waiters are very friendly, but also very, very slow, and the key is that no matter what you try, having breakfast will take you a long time. That's fine for in the weekend like this, but it took me a while to get used to it during the week, when I have only 30 minutes to have my breakfast. It's a real challenge to get more than one cup of coffee in that half hour. This morning we stayed longer of course, and I managed to get three cups of coffee, a record.

Around noon we went to the beach. The hotel is located on "Isla Verde", an area with very nice long beaches (much better than Condado, where we stayed a few weeks ago). My skin is, as usual, pretty white and I've been to the beach only once this year, so we took a lot sunblock and hired an umbrella. Sure enough, I burned my shoulders, but only a little bit and just my shoulders this time.

The water is very warm here, and there were good waves. It was windy, which made it possible for us to stay a bit longer at the beach -- it would have been to hot otherwise. We went for a swim twice, and we both studied a little bit; Sasha her French and I worked on my Spanish.


Memorial Day weekend

Friday evening I left work around 19:00 o'clock. I took a cab home, because the colleagues that I usually drive to the hotel with all went home for the weekend.

These weeks I've been working on a requirements document for a new part of our project, and it's as good as ready. I made some updates Friday night late and Saturday morning, and we'll finish it this week.

This weekend is a long weekend, it's Memorial Day tomorrow, and that's why it's a great opportunity for Sasha to come over and stay here for a few days. She arrived at noon in the hotel, she had the 7.45 flight from Dallas. It's great fun to be together here -- it's a beautiful island after all, and because I don't have time to see any of it during the week it's wonderful to be able to explore it together this weekend.

We went for a walk in the afternoon, and stayed a while at the pool.


Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera.Last Sunday we watched the Phantom of the Opera.

Years ago I saw the musical with my parents and Ettie, which was very impressive and I have great memories of that show.

The movie was very good. I liked the fact that there was so much music in it -- it would have been a shame if they let the best part of the show, the music, out.

It's a beautiful story, with a tragic element in it. The movie had a lot humor also, especially the non-stop drinking in the theater was displayed nicely. Those jokes reminder me of Terry Pratchet's book that was inspired by the opera.


World Bank evacuated -- nothing serious

World Bank.Sasha just called, and told me that there were a few explosions followed by lot of smoke coming from under the World Bank building, just as she was walking towards it.

It turned out that a power transformator exploded, in a manhole very near the main building of the bank. The buildings were evacuated but nobody got hurt.


Polder picture

A Dutch polder.My father's photo project had a really nice image yesterday.

I haven't had a krentenbol in six months!

And yes, "de Mossel" is a terrible streetname.


8 hours sleep

I feel so much better with actually having had eight hours of sleep tonight.

We had dinner in the restaurant of the hotel last night for the first time. There is some kind of cultural week this week, and every night a different "cuisine" is highlighted in the restaurant. Yesterday there was a Canadian special on the menu, and tonight a German one.

I went to my room at 22:00 o'clock, and after calling Sasha I went right to sleep.

Work Arlington 2006

At work

I arrived this morning around 11:00 o'clock in Puerto Rico. Waking up at 4:30 is never really fun, but the journey went nice and smooth. I took a cab to the airport, and the driver was from Afghanistan. He was a friendly guy, and we talked quite a bit which was a nice start of the day.

On the airport I got my American breakfast -- coffee and a bagel from Starbucks.

After we landed I first went to the hotel to check in and send the e-mails that I wrote on the plane and get changed. I was at work around 13:00. I actually met my colleagues in the sandwich shop across the street.

At 14:00 o'clock I had a long meeting at 14:00, and after some document writing and reviewing we'll be leaving the office in a little while.


Leaving Virginia

Tomorrow morning I'll take an early flight back to Puerto Rico. It's a bit of a sad feeling to leave home again. I'm looking forward to the job there, it's really challenging and it's a lot of fun to work so closely with the customer, but being away from home has its drawbacks.

I'm very happy that Sasha will be joining again this weekend -- she'll come over on Saturday for the Memorial weekend; next Monday is a day off in the US.

My flight is at 7.15 in the morning, which means I have to be at the airport around 6.00 o'clock. Which, in turn, means that I have to take a cab at 5.15, which means I'll have to get up at 4.30. So, in order for me to get 8 hours sleep, I'd have to go to bed in 40 minutes.


Bianca and Patricia

Bianca, Patricia and Sasha.Yesterday evening we went out with Bianca and Patricia.

Bianca is an old schoolfriend from Middenmeer and she and Patricia, her sister, are travelling through the East coast for a vacation. They arrived in D.C. on Friday, and they'll leave the city Monday to take a train to New York. After that they'll continue to see the Niagara Falls and they'll end their trip in Toronto, Canada.

Sasha and I met them at the Farragut West metro station. It was very nice to see familiar faces in downtown D.C.! Bianca and Patricia had been seeing a lot of the city in one day, and we continued to the tourist visit by going to the World Bank. Sasha arranged us guest-tickets so we saw the Bank from inside.

Then we went for a walk to Dupont Circle, a few blocks from the World Bank. We had dinner in Kramers Afterworld and we had a very nice evening together. It was very nice to talk in Dutch about things going in Holland, about living here and about the things to be seen in D.C.


Recent comments

Recently read

Books I've recently read: