Browsing Category: USA

How to be an active citizen

active citizen

Citizenship has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been worrying about Harley’s South African citizenship, her American citizenship, wondering about emigrating despite Trump becoming president, and a whole host of other things. On the one hand, I’ve thought of citizenship as a privilege – I’m privileged to have an American passport that allows me to travel easily, something I notice more with a South African husband. However, with today being inauguration day, I want to talk a little bit about citizenship as a responsibility, and how each of us can be an active citizen.

Whenever election day rolls around, either here in South Africa or in the States, I make a pretty big deal of it. I make sure Dean votes (not that he needs me to do so, but still), and I’m sure to vote as well. Voting is important. It’s the most obvious statement of your opinion in the democratic system, and it’s vital to a state being legitimate and focused on the needs of the people. I actually really like countries that make voting easy for citizens, whether with a public holiday or plenty of advanced voting, along with some sort of mandatory voting system. If you are a citizen, you should be required to take part in the governance of your country. But there is so much more that goes into being an active citizen. Continue Reading

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A file for Harley, or “if you ever want to move overseas”

file safe deposit

It has been a mission getting the admin together to move myself, Dean and Harley to the States. It makes me want to pull my hair out it’s so frustrating sometimes. It’s not that the forms are particularly difficult or that we don’t qualify or something – it’s just a pain trying to get all the documentation and proof that they might need. It’s also made me realize the types of things I need to save for Harley as she grows up. I mean, when did I ever think that I would need to prove my citizenship? When did I ever think that I would need to prove my relationship with Dean? When you live your life in one country, none of this really seems to be an issue. But if you plan to move overseas, there’s a lot of extra admin, and I hope to make things a bit easier for Harley if she ever decides to traipse around the world.

It’s not so much the travel bit, or even moving overseas that’s particularly difficult. Usually, it’s simply a matter of showing a birth certificate, maybe getting a police clearance of some description to prove you aren’t a criminal, and most countries will let you in. However, if you hope to get married and make a life with someone who is foreign, the more documentation you have, the better. It’s all about proving who you are, not because YOU are lying, but because so many other people have lied. It has been so great when my mom and I found documentation that helped – like an old transcript that my mom found, or random medical bills that proved I was in the States to get my wisdom teeth removed or whatever else. It’s random and not stuff you would normally keep, and yet it has turned out to be so worthwhile. As such, this is the file that I plan to keep for Harley, just in case, so that one day when she asks for proof of silly details, I have them. Continue Reading

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Registering a citizen born abroad

american citizen

There are all sorts of complications that come with an international relationship. Many of them are fun – I love having an “exotic” husband. He uses words and language that I find intriguing, and we are both continually discovering aspects of each other’s lives that are amusing or strange to each other. It’s¬†enjoyable for both of us as we get to explore our different countries, our different perspectives from an outside angle thanks to each other. We are global citizens and it’s something that I’m excited to pass on to Harley as she will come from both backgrounds, a true citizen of the world. However, the admin involved isn’t too pleasant.

I already wrote about the mission we had just to get her birth certificate resolved. But that was just on the South African side. With our plan this year to move to the States, I wanted to get her American documentation sorted out. But it’s not as easy as it might sound – like so many nationalities, passing your citizenship on through the blood isn’t a simple matter for Americans. Well, it was in the end, but it wasn’t easy in the middle. Continue Reading

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