Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Things I'm Leaving

One pair Alaska gloves. Worn zero winters here. One-quarter kilo freed up for my favorite pillow.
One brown leather briefcase, shed for the sake of the cuddly lobster.
Flipflops. Stained white work shirt. One bottle Marmite. A hammer, screwdrivers, box cutter, and bungee cords. I'm told they sell them in America. A grammar reference. Two copies of a PhD thesis, to make room for my parent's wedding photos, great aunt's 1912 diary, and one Joy of Cooking. A frying pan, soup urn, American cup measures, and the book that taught me how to fry an egg, so that I can have custard creams, pickled walnuts, and chocolate buttons on arrival in Norfolk. Nine pairs socks, 12 pairs underwear, three bottles of shampoo, four t-shirts, and a bottle of sky vodka to fit in one duvet, three blankets, and a plaster-of-paris casting of my left hand. 

And still, I don't have any idea what made it into the suitcases. I will see you in Norfolk.

Rattlers are not the Only Snakes: 3

Next spring, when the country is subdued from all that bitter cold of winter, you'll hear MPs throwing blame from their green leather seats at those men and woman who sit across the aisle. And I'll be in Virgina or California or Illinois or New Zealand or China or some boat somewhere in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Where I won't be is here.

Still those MPs will be talking about me when they admit that no one really knows how many folks are illegally in the country. They'll be talking about me, when they admit that no one is really certain how many students over-stayed their visas, and me when they notice that no one checks to see who has gone over the border, and me when they tell their constituents that they're doing something about the immigrants--they won't mention that they're doing nothing different than the last government.

And I mention this because I want Don Foster, 'my' MP to note that I am leaving tomorrow morning a full 38 days before my visa expires. I am going and the theoretical numbers of immigrants over-staying visas are just that, theoretical. I suspect that it is convenient to let the public believe that all immigrants are here to take advantage of the system.

I say this because as the date of my departure has come increasingly closer, I have heard too many times to count that:

1. I should just get married. Because apparently this is an acceptable way for a white American to remain in the country but not an acceptable way for a desperate woman with a thick accent to remain.

2. That I'm the right kind of immigrant. The right wing is on the rise in the world, and I know this because people I once respected are happy to tell me that I am the 'right' kind of migrant. They are happy to share their once secretly harbored prejudices.

 3. That all those immigrants over-staying their visas are what's wrong with this country. But of course those are impossible numbers to confirm or deny. No one will be checking me out of the country in the morning.

I desperately want to remain here. And I, like many others, am following the rules and leaving in the morning.
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