Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Trying To Prove I Don’t Belong

I have been trying to get my head around how I feel about proving that I am not a resident of the U.S.

Yes, we have lived overseas ten of the past eleven years. (Both of those numbers bump up one in a few months). Yes, my tax returns prove that I do not live and work in the U.S. Yet having to prove that I am not a resident has set off a discord within me.

Our bank here is having to comply with the FACTA (as banks are the world over). For us our account is simply a transfer point as our employer requires us to have one in order to be paid. We then wire it all home to our U.S. account, minus what we need for groceries. Obviously we aren’t stashing money away ‘off shore’. Never the less, we have gotten form after form from our bank, which I shoved in a drawer not wanting to deal with.

I finally sat down to get it all figured out. I won’t bore you with the details (and discrepancies). I knew the things they are looking for don’t apply to us, but was still unsettled by having to tick the ‘not a resident of the U.S.’ box.

Why has this hit me? I’ve been wondering and don’t have a firm answer. These are things I know to be true.

I am an American citizen.
I own a home in the U.S.
Taxes are paid on said home.
I vote.
I sing the “Star Spangled Banner” anywhere in the world I hear it, even if I am the only one.
I get teary eyed when I hear tunes like, “I’m Proud To Be An American”.
I LOVE having an immigration officer welcome me ‘home’ when I return to U.S. soil, (which will happen on Saturday!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The moment I saw it…



The morning walk to school involves three school campuses after two blocks of walking through Hamra;

  • cross before the gas station
  • share greetings with the book keeper at the butcher
  • squeeze onto my part of the narrow sidewalk as other pass the other direction
  • notice that the doucan isn’t open yet, and the young helper is waiting for the owner – again
  • glad to see the bomb sniffing dog headed my way
  • dodge two lanes of traffic

I pass the guard at the university gate, the length of the male dorm on the left with a parking lot, smoking area, and bookstore on the right.

Through another gate and down two steps is my entrance to a pre-K through 12th grade school. (Sister school or rival? Neither really as the teaching philosophy and curriculum are completely different between the two).

There is a short cut through the middle school building (where I am nearly knocked over as a boy, in his P.E. uniform comes tearing out of the door with three other identically clad shabob in pursuit.) Down some stairs, a steep hill, and several more sets of stairs puts me on the early year’s playground.

Traversing this space takes awareness and the ability to change course quickly. Three little people, just over two feet high, are lined up before me. A gaggle of girls begin running on my left, their trajectory plotting directly into my course if it is not altered and as I scoot a step to my left, I sashay around a little boy in a puffy red coat who has the strap of his lunch box firmly in his right hand and what look like another strap in his left hand, clutched even tighter.

The moment I saw it I knew I would be writing about it as my slice for today. As I pass I realize that he is clutching strips of textured rubber – a toy snake. I smile and think how to share this small moment.