Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Day In The Life of the Dearly Deported

It's now three days into the deportation and the shock is starting to wear off. Sitting comfortably in the San Diego sunshine, I don't feel nearly as numb, which is not surprising, given that it is a beautiful 72 degrees. (I refuse to apologize for the numerous "just-another-beautiful-day-in-paradise" references. Hey, if you kick me out of your country, then, at the very least, I can go "nan-a, nan-a, nan-a" when I see that it is a shitty 52 degrees and raining over there!)

I checked my voice mail, hoping for the news that an Ordre revoking the OQT has been handed down. Unfortunately, the only message I received was from my friend, Rod, posing as an INS officer, informing me that the US had kicked me out as well. (Anyone up on Mexico's immigration policy? Any tips on how to scale a 20 foot fence? I hear they have some great food down there ...)

I spent the morning walking with my neighbor and catching up on the latest news in the 'hood. Since the birth of her son five months ago, she has been incommunicado when it comes to my blog, so it came as a complete surprise to her to find out that she was associating with a known "deportee." She was freaked out with concern --- about being seen with me. You know how neighbors talk!

I then headed to the local library to check my email. (Fortunately, Dan found out that it has free wi-fi, so I don't have to traipse down to Starbuck's and contend with Stalker/Friend Joey.) I had an email from the relocation expert, providing me with a status. So far, things are progressing nicely, which means, no Ordre as of yet. Hopefully, we will know something more on Monday, after he speaks with someone at the Ministry. All freshly manicured fingers and toes are crossed -- and tanned (jabdip #2).

A highlight of the gorgeous afternoon (jabdip #3) was when the Security Guard busted me for having a bottle of water in the library. I pretended like I didn't understand what he was saying, a tactic that is not nearly as effective in the US as it is in Belgium. Maybe I was missing something in the delivery, because I had to put the water away.

The librarian shot me the dreaded raised eyebrows when I laughed out loud after comparing San Diego's ten day forecast to that of Brussels (jabdip #4). In case you are wondering, it will be sunny and 62 degrees for Saturday's afternoon baseball game (jabdip #5).

Having finished at the library, I made a swing by the Pacific Ocean, to see all the tourists and locals enjoying the unbelievably glorious weather (jabdip #6). Surf was not great, only 2-3 foot swells with the occasional larger sets, but, by my calculations, that is still 2-3 feet higher than what the surfers are riding in Brussels (jabdip #6)! Have I mentioned that the water temperature is 67 degrees (jabdip #7)?

For dinner tonight, we will be eating shrimp-stuffed jalapeno poppers and nachos at South Beach, as we watch the sun dip into the horizon on the Pacific Ocean (jabdip #8).

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for an update on my conversations with the Office of the Belgian Consulate in Los Angeles!

© 2006 by Cindy Lane. All rights reserved.


Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Ahem, let me just say I'm thoroughly enjoying the book you gave me, "Bitter is the New Black." LOL. It's the BEST. The chick is almost as smart and sassy as you are. This is the PUBLISHER for you and your Belgian memoirs.

I hope you're not prematurely aging in all that warm, bright sunlight. I would hate to see you come back to Brussels looking like a pebble-grained Fossil handbag. My skin, while pasty, is free of freckles and liver spots. The bottle of sunscreen I brought with me from the U.S. is still half full after an entire year here. That's the silver lining in my Brussels clouds.

1:49 PM  
Blogger betrw said...

Dear Cindy,

Your situation is not so different from that of my mother. Being old and invalid means that it is difficult for her to live alone.

I won’t go into it now, but suffice to say it took months to sort out. She did not get an OQT but left the country to go home for 2 weeks while waiting for residency and was not given a re-entry visa. They said it was because she applied for residency whilst on a visitor’s visa, and she should have had a different type of visa to apply. Well, when I wrote the invitation for the initial visa from the Belgium embassy it clearly stated that we wanted her to come and live with us, and who of us knows the difference between a C and D visa? This took me a year to sort out.

Let’s face it; keeping out an old lady (or a young American) makes one more for their statistics to look good. Letting genuine people rejoin their family does not. Likewise kicking you out to 10 minutes for the cop to deliver you the letter, kicking out the 1000’s of prostitutes, drug dealers and Mafiosi would be much more work and in-effective.

I spent hours at the Office des Etrangers were you wait for hours to get to see someone and they can never seem to do anything or give any advice.

Upon reflection, I guess you came to Belgium with out a visa, or a visitor’s visa and you also should have asked for a residency visa before arriving. It would be the same for me coming to live in the USA so yah boo sucks to you.

OK I admit, a) I don’t like lawyers and b) I am very jealous, I visited San Diego many years ago and fell in love with the place, one of my favorite cities, and part of me would love to have your problems and good margarita  :-)

I also guess you have plenty of advisors, but did the OQT state a minimum period of exile? Or can you just turn around and get on the next flight to Bxl? My limited advice; try to get a residency visa before returning, but what do I know?

I hope this does not tarnish your opinion of Belgium and you will have the chance to appreciate what the country is really like, and then you may truly despair! :-)

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Rod said...

Cindy, it was a great evening sharing beers (and diet cokes) with you and Dan. The weather was great, the beer was cold...and I think I am still sick from the Oyster Shooters that Dan ordered!!! A great evening. Thank you!!!

4:34 AM  
Blogger Cindy Lane said...

Dear Betrw,

Your poor mother! I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like for her.

I would like to think that my being an attorney had nothing to do with my being deported. But, who knows!

As of yet, no hard feelings towards Belgium. It's just one of those things ... In the meantime, I'll have a rita for you and your mom!


10:05 PM  

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