Today I am a little less – fake – South African. As of last week I am no longer a legal resident of the Rainbow Nation. If I go back now I will have to queue up at immigration with all the – ugh – tourists; without any distinction, any recognition or any applause for having already established a relationship with the bergs, straands and chesters that lie beyond the customs desk. My ninety day visitor stamp will belie the fact that I am more in tune with this place than those other schmucks coming to look at elephants.
For the last ten months I’ve felt like nothing short of a traveling badass with my sweet combination of American citizenship, Vietnamese residency and South African residency. I am a walking conversation starter. But according to the visa in my passport, South Africa has decided it’s time for me to be demoted. That’s right: I’ve just been dumped, and by an entire country, no less.