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chocolate figures of Santa Claus, being sold in the Netherlands for Christmas

Christmas Compared

It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve been thinking a lot this year about the holiday as an event. Perhaps because I was much less busy this year than in previous years leading up to it, I’ve been noticing more. I was born in the US and lived there until I was 35, minus the two years…

The Happiest Expats Live Here

The following is a sponsored guest post, originally published by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 13, 2015. While it may seem appealing to ditch the daily grind and live an exotic life abroad, being an expat comes with its own trials and tribulations, and not all expat locations are created equal. That’s the gist of a recent expat survey…

The US consulate in Amsterdam

Equality? Competition? Not Overseas!

This entry is part 8 of 23 in the series US citizenship

This is the third in a series of posts about American values inspired by my renunciation of American citizenship. I wrote last week about a book I’ve used for teaching, American Ways, and the six values it emphasizes. Last week I discussed individual freedom and self-reliance. This week I’d like to address two more: equality of…

American Flag

Individual Freedom, Self-Reliance and Renunciation

This entry is part 7 of 23 in the series US citizenship

This is the second in a series of posts about American values inspired by my renunciation of American citizenship. I teach American Studies at a teacher-training college here in the Netherlands. The eight-week courses—two for the younger, full-time students, and one for the adult, part-time students—are not in-depth studies. They are introductory courses for students…

a lithograph of the Boston Tea Party

FATCA, the Tea Party and Me

This entry is part 6 of 23 in the series US citizenship

“No taxation without representation,” a slogan going back to colonial America, is commonly cited by overseas Americans like me in discussions of FATCA. It’s also the basis of the Tea Party’s name: a reference to the Boston Tea Party, an act of rebellion against the taxation of the American colonists by the British government. FATCA…

The table is set and ready for Thanksgiving tonight.

Thanksgiving Reconsidered

This entry is part 5 of 23 in the series US citizenship

“Are you still going to do Thanksgiving?” This is one of the questions I get asked when I tell people I’ve renounced my US citizenship. Yes, I am still doing Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in the Netherlands It’s always felt a little odd to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. It’s a celebration of a particular event in American history, after…

My Renunciation Day

This entry is part 4 of 23 in the series US citizenship

I renounced my US citizenship today. I’ve talked about this issue before here and then here and then here. Right now, though, I don’t want to discuss the politics, but rather just let you know what my day was like. Getting there Like any good Dutch resident, I got to Amsterdam by first riding my bike…

daytime view of the Paramount

How my citizenship hit me in the gut

This entry is part 3 of 23 in the series US citizenship

One day last month, when I was walking through Oakland on my way to meet a friend in Berkeley, I passed the old Paramount Theater. This is a gorgeous restored Art Deco theater that I had paused to admire every time I’d walked past that week. That day, though, the theater was open at 8:30…

Republicans, Expatriates and FATCA

This entry is part 2 of 23 in the series US citizenship

Last week I posted about the possibility of renouncing my American citizenship due to the onerous requirements the US government imposes on expatriate Americans. That post broke the record here at Rachel’s Ruminations: the most “hits” ever. And, in the process, I’ve learned a lot more about the situation from the many people who responded,…