Sunday, May 21, 2006

All Aboard the De-Porty Train?

My, my, how time flies when you only have five days to get the hell outta Dodge.

Wednesday, the day I got the notice, was spent in a fog and a flurry of frantic phone calls.

Thursday and part of Friday saw more calls and emails, but less fog - more dark cloud. Having lunch with Veronica, my first American expat friend in Belgium, really brought home how surreal the situation was.

Saturday, having accepted that I am now part of a unpopular growing population in Belgium and, ironically, an even larger one in the US, I attended my own deportation party. (Thanks Sue, Sue, Graham, Chris, Adam, Doreen, Ron and the whole crew at the Highlander.)

Now it's Sunday and I don't want to go. At least, not this way. (For starters, I have an extreme aversion to deep cavity searches.) I walked down my street today, waving to Joseph at the bakery and Xinick at the tabac shop, something I've done since the day I arrived, and I wondered when I'd be back, and, more so, whether they'd miss me while I am gone. I thought about how much I have enjoyed becoming a part of this little community, in the center of the capital of the European Union, especially now that I am known as "Cindy," and not as "the American." (To Joseph, Abdela, Xinick, Emir, Moustafa, Jossein, Mareka, Sammin, Jannic, Francoise, Matt, David, Dominick, Patrick, Olivier, Jordan, FC, Benny, Patricia, Roger, Frederick and the Watchman -- thank you and I hope to see you soon!)

So, with one foot firmly planted in the US and one taking root in Belgium, I'm stepping on a plane tomorrow, realizing that Immigration is not an issue -- it's lives.

© 2006 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.


Blogger Chuck said...

wow, just don't sound fun at all.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Tylene said...

All the best to you Cindy! I hope when I arrive in Belgium at the end of the summer you'll be back in Brussels & we can meet for a beer & laugh about this crazy adventure! Take Care!

6:45 AM  
Blogger woman wandering said...

I'm horrified. When the saga began, it was just another day in the life of ... I was so sure you would easily overcome the ridiculous nature of the demand that you leave.

It does get exhausting, I know ... and finding useful and positive ways to redirect my sometime intense immigration rage and frustration has been a battle at times.

I hope America refills you, soothing your soul some and that you're back over this way someday soon.

Travel safe.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

All weekend I was glad the weather was total crap (for those not here it was blowing rain, howling winds, meteorological misery). I figured the crummy weather would make it easier for you to step on the plane Monday morning...

I'll write soon. Keep up the blog

3:17 PM  
Anonymous sue said...

It is a good job that you can rise above it all and laugh about it - perhaps in a couple of years or so.
I cant imagine how you truly feel being thrown out of a country you have tried so hard to get to know and like.
Their loss Cindy and hurry on back. I will put the champers on ice for the welcome back party.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Rod said...

Cindy, to ease you pain, I am going to allow you to buy me fish taco's and beer at South Beach Bar!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't get it. Why the panic to leave? People stay in Belgium for months and years after receiving an "ordre de quitter le territoire". I'm surprised that as a lawyer you did not get more pragmatic advice about dealing with Belgian bureaucracy.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

Funny thing about lawyers -- good ones tend to obey court orders!

While many told me to "ignore" the OQT and ride it out until the issue was resolved, I chose to obey the law, as well as follow the advice of the US Embassy and the experts handling my file.

Besides, with my luck, they would have used the failure to comply with the OQT as the basis for denying me a residency visa!

3:18 PM  

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