Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Amazon Question

“Where do you live?” is my second least favorite question. This summer alone, I can’t count how many times I’ve pulled out a cheat sheet with my temporary address and cell phone number. To get groceries at the lowest prices, you need a special card, but to get the little card you have to give your address and phone number.

Today’s task is memorizing our summer address and teaching it to the children. One trip to the U.S., I failed to do this, resulting in two lost teenagers being hauled into the police station. The line of questioning went like this: Where do you live? We don’t know. (Yeah, right.) Where are you from? Mexico. (Yeah, right.) Where were you born? Guatemala. (Yeah, right.) What is your phone number? We don’t have a phone. (Yeah, right.) And so forth.

Another embarrassing incident happened on a summer mini-furlough while adding 15,000 miles to our family van. We were visiting a nice church, where we already stood out because of the size of our family, plus the fact that my kids were not wearing proper “Sunday shoes.” To make matters worse, the Sunday school teacher thought that we were homeless street people because my toddler didn’t know where we lived. When the teacher tried to rephrase the question “Where do you live?” by asking, “Where do you sleep?” - my little one innocently answered, “In the van!”

Each time a child fills out college applications, we get stumped with the second question: Address? Should we put the Mexico address, thus establishing that our child is a TCK (third culture kid)? No, because then any possible acceptance letter might get lost in the mail. If we use a stateside address, which one would be the most logical one to use? Such a simple question yet it has no obvious answer.

You laugh, but how about you? How many options are currently in your Amazon address book? Unless you regularly tidy up and delete unused addresses, you likely have at least a dozen addresses where you have had things shipped. A mission house here and there, a short-term mission team leader’s house, a supporting church, your home office, your parents’ house, etc.

Am I right?

Lastly, what about going in and out of your host country? The immigration papers require an address where you will be staying. (We never “stay” anywhere!) This recent trip I was corrected for putting my “country of residence” as the USA. I was told I should have put Mexico. In the past it was the reverse. As long as we keep a permanent US address, I was told to put our residence as the US, not Mexico. Whatever.

With all this confusion, I can honestly say I am very glad to know where my true citizenship lies. No question about that. My PERMANENT residence is in the arms of a loving, gracious, and generous Savior. Just like the apartment we left last week, I’m only passing through this old dirty world on my way to someplace much bigger and better. Heaven dominates my thoughts these days.

IRL* Today: No idea where I am. Tomorrow: not a clue. Forever: ;)

P.S. Someday I'll tell you what my least favorite question is.


  1. I smilled all the way thru reading true and so close to HOME!!!!!

  2. Snort - Jamie, I was JUST going through my account there and cleared out one with YOUR name on it. :) Of course, it wasn't your REAL address, just one where you were passing through and able to snatch, grab, and bring on a whirlwind trip.

    I did delete that one fyi. :) Now there are only 3.

    You're right - there's no place like "home" and thank goodness we'll not have to worry about papers there will we? :)

  3. We have a "residence" address in the US, where our mail goes, where our drivers license lists us as living, etc. At the moment that is where we are actually living, but sometimes we are actually somewhere else.

    The fun (or not so fun)part is remembering phone numbers, especially cell phone numbers! Three years ago on furlough we had two cell phones with two different numbers that were passed down to a niece and a nephew. Last summer we were home due to visa issues and we bought a Tracphone. That phone stayed with my sister who has since lost the charger. This time we are on a 6 month furlough. We bought another prepaid cell phone, and I still don't have the number memorized!

  4. Oh my, I smiled my way through this post... Yes, I have QUITE a few addresses in my Amazon address list... a ton!! Some I don't even recognize! :) I finally started answering people by saying, "I live around here." "I live nearby"... because none of them wanted to hear the nuts and bolts of the fiftieth house this year story. I finally said, "Home is where my underware are!"
    Oh... how I can relate to this lovely post! Thanks for making me smile.

  5. "Home is where the underwear are." I love it! Too funny.

    The phone numbers, yes. Problem to keep track of.

    My latest thing was trying to get gas at a self-check-out thing. (Like most of you we have only full-service in Mexico.) When I swiped the credit card, they asked for the ZIP CODE of my billing address. Oh, right. Like I'm gonna know that off the top of my head? I just paid cash. Note to self: add zip code to cheat sheet in my wallet.

  6. This was hilarious because I can so identify with everything in it!!!! I recently almost got in trouble at the Canada/USA border when I was asked, "Where do you live?" and I said, "Pennsylvania." He said, "Why do you have a Connecticut license on your car?" Woops...I forgot that since I only live temporarily in both places! Then he wondered why my daughter and I had so many stamps in our passports. Thankfully he could see I was being honest and he let us through.

  7. I had to laugh at the "Amazon question" because just this morning I noticed how many addresses I had listed there! lol I certainly do need to clear out that list! haha We've had our complications with addresses, certainly, especially when we were applying for my husband's citizenship and an important letter accidentally go returned to immigration! Fortunately, the lady my husband spoke to about it finally calmed down about the whole thing when she found out we are missionaries...apparently, that explained a lot...haha!


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