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Home and Away

In my last post, I mentioned that I was about to go for my US citizenship oath.  Well, it’s officially official, and I am now a full fledged US citizen!  Exciting, eh?  I actually have dual citizenship between where I was born and the US.  The best part of that is that I now belong officially to the two countries where all the people I love live.  I’ve always felt a tiny bit torn in life.  Part of my family was here in the US, and the other part overseas.  Whenever I would travel between the two countries, I find myself always saying I was going “home” regardless to which place I was headed. Why? because to me, both places were, and still are, home.   Home isn’t a structure.  It isn’t just the day to day of the daily grind.  Home is where the the people you love are.  Home is where you feel safe, and loved, and where happy memories are.  Home is comfort.

While I was waiting for the oath ceremony, I looked around the courtroom where it was taking place.  It was quite full, but only 30 or so of us were taking the oath.  There were people from all over the world: Portugal, Jamaica, Iran, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Poland, the Ukraine, just to name a few.  We all looked happy to be there, and many had a look of relief on their faces.  The immigration process is a bit of a beast, especially for some people who come from countries we don’t always agree with, or those who don’t speak English well.  In my case, you’d never guess I wasn’t an American by speaking to me.  I have a northeast accent which occasionally lapses into a bit of a southern drawl when I am tired or with my friends from the south.  People were always surprised I was a foreigner.  As someone who has had to update docs and maneuver the immigration system throughout my life, I can say it’s not always an easy process.  I speak fluent English and still struggled at times.  It’s an expensive process.  Not only that, but I think some people are probably taken advantage of in their search to navigate the system properly.  Some people in this country have been led to believe that becoming a citizen is an easy, simple process.  While my case was pretty simple, many people’s cases are long, drawn out, and difficult.  At the end of the day, I am glad the process is over and I am officially official as an American!  I have already applied for my passport, and the next step is to figure out how to register to vote.  I haven’t come this far to sit silent and not cast my vote when the time comes!  Silence gets unwanted results.

Another big change is that I purchased a “new to me” car.  That’s another process that can be shady, convoluted, and unsettling! I found a car over the state line by looking online.  The car was gorgeous, had tons of features I wanted, low miles, and was AWD.  I drove to Long Island to see it (this was after 2+ other hours of driving that day) to see the car.  It was beautiful.  I test drove it and enjoyed it.  Then we sat down to talk numbers.  Well, somehow in the middle of this conversation the price of the car started going up.  There was the sales tax, which was unavoidable.  Then DMV fees, which seemed really high.  Then the dealer started tacking on doc fees and dealer fees, and a certification fee……and before I knew it, I was almost $4,000 above the original price.  Isn’t the price supposed to be negotiated downwards? Not upwards?  I started working with them to get the price down, and got an out the door figure I felt comfortable with based on my research of that car with those specific features.  I said “I want to know the total price, out the door, with every single fee and charge included”.  Well, I didn’t buy it that night.  I wanted to go home and mull it over.  After all, a car is a big purchase.  It’s not something to take likely.  The dealer sent me the paperwork within a couple of days.  The numbers were over $1000 above our agreed upon “all inclusive out the door price”.  I balked, and explained what was agreed upon, only to be told the fees didn’t include the DMV fee.  Even the numbers they gave me didn’t match up.  At the end of the day, I called a childhood friend of mine who has a son who is a finance manager at a dealer and asked her to run the numbers by him.  He responded the fees were bogus, and that the dealer couldn’t charge me a fee to certify the car…it was against the maker’s policy.

Still, I wanted that car.  The price was in line, even with their bs fees, but we had a problem.  A BIG problem.

I didn’t trust them.

Trust is important to me. If someone lies to me, I’m not interested in dealing with them, at all. I’ve cut ties with people I’ve been close to because they’ve lied to me.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times, GTFOH. The fact is, if this dealership was going to keep throwing me lines of BS, I would never feel comfortable with the deal, even though it looked ok on the surface.  So now began the inward battle….do I still buy the car? Or, do I listen to that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me to cut ties and run?

Well, the answer is I did more research.  I kept looking for cars, and I found the same car, same features, same packages, with 1000 less miles, closer to home.  The base price was about 1000 more than the initial price I had seen on the other car before I got their list of bogus fees.  So I hopped in the car and drove an hour to see it.  The car was in even better shape than the other one.  Before I even test drove it, I looked the salesman in the eye and said “let’s talk numbers.  let’s talk fees.  Even the hidden ones”.

Well, yesterday I picked up my car from the second dealership.  I got the car for about the same price but this time I got it with a full bumper to bumper warranty, free oil changes, and some other perks.  I also got it with the satisfaction of listening to my gut and not going with a company that “mansplained” buying a car to me, and tried to saddle me with hidden costs and fees.

So that’s two good things in a week!

Later taters!  Stay positive, stay happy!


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