Where is “Home”?
For the past twenty-four years I have been a woman without an official country of residence. I’m a Canadian citizen, but have not been a resident of Canada since 1990. I married an American but never got a green card. I’ve lived in the Philippines since 2001, but remain on tourist visas. This lack of permanent resident status has caused more than one discussion at Canadian border crossings, especially when I’m carrying newly purchased computer and camera gear which would normally be subject to large import duties. But Canada says I now belong to the Philippines. The Philippines says I’m just a foreign tourist. I pay U.S. taxes but I’m nothing to the Americans at all. And me? I have loved all these years of belonging to nobody but myself, happily slipping through bureaucratic cracks in the machine.
But alas, the time has come when it now makes sense to pick a team. I love the Philippines and have no plans to leave, but who knows, maybe I’d like to retire in Hawaii some day. Or Guam. Or American Samoa. Should I become a permanent resident of the Philippines OR should I get my U.S. green card? I’ve debated a little, but not too much.
My almost quarter century of invisibility is about to end. My green card is being processed…