30 Jan

This IS a question

OK, I have somewhat of an ethics question for you all. I am American and claim residence in, and pay taxes in, America. I also happen to currently (for the last 10 years) live in Germany, and am inspired by, and create my art in, Germany. So, I figured that I could enter quilt shows in the US and in Europe. But when the instructions expressly state that you must be a resident of the US to enter, am I bending the rules too far? Technically I AM a US resident since that’s where I pay my taxes and receive my insurance and other benefits, but I actually sleep at night in Germany. So, am I cheating someone else out of a spot in the show (that’s assuming my work would get accepted)? Am I unfairly taking advantage of the opportunities of both continents? Or, is having more options the silver lining in being uprooted every three years and living at the whim and mercy of the US Army? If an American living outside of America got into an American show, would you, as an American, begrudge her (or him)? Or conversely, if an American got into a European show, would you, as Europeans, resent her (or him)?

20 thoughts on “This IS a question

  1. I would in NO way feel bad about you winning! You are an American Citizen. You pay US taxes. Your living “condition” isn’t exactly your choice, and dh is representing our country in the Army for heavens sake! I guess if someone has a problem with it, tell them to walk a mile in your shoes.

    OK, off my soapbox now. You go girl!

  2. Being an ‘international’ has it’s pros and cons like any other nationality. There will always be people that will find something to resent, and most people will not understand how hard it is to fall between the cracks of what it means to be ‘American’ (or any other given nationality). Your husband is in Germany serving his country; as such you are legally (and morally too, I think) ‘resident’ in the US and in addition you pay taxes there. You have every right to enter as an American in my opinion (unless something specifically prohibits it in the competition conditions). People always see the benefits of multiple nationalities – they don’t understand the disadvantages, which are so much more intangible.
    Oh my – I just noticed how often I use inverted commas!!!

  3. The best way to find an answer to that question is to ask. And it could be that each show will have different rules about it. So, if you know the rules, you will sleep better at night even if for now, you are sleeping in Germany.

  4. I feel that since your family is sacrificing a lot by serving in the Army, you should be able to enter shows in the US. There has to be some perks for residing in a local determined by others as opposed to being an expatriot (what a lousy word) and choosing to live overseas. I am with your Mom though – ask. As for the mentoring, I know what you mean. I had a mentor when I first started quilting and she really pushed me to look outside the box I was so comfy creating from and then she moved to Flagstaff – long commute for mentoring! Have you thought about an online mentoring group? Another source could be Maggie Grey’s Workshops on the Web. I think it would be really cool if an established artist had a subscription mentoring program where you could work via the internet. Good luck!

  5. You shouldn’t feel a bit of doubt about entering a show as a US resident. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask, but I think your service and sacrifice as a military spouse makes you a special case.

  6. One of the perks you deserve for putting up with the life of an Army wife should be to enter shows either place with no qualms. You go girl!

  7. Take the silver lining and run with it.you’re a tax paying American who has made adjustments to your family and sacrifices in your personal life in service to America. I am proud to have someone as talented and thoughtful as you representing us in the world and in any contest.

  8. Children of deployed military born in other countries can still be President, even if they aren’t born on a military base. I don’t see why you can’t enter as an American resident under the same idea. It couldn’t hurt to ask, I suppose. I don’t think anyone would say no, though.

  9. I say the fact that you pay US taxes makes you a resident–what do I know? But, really I have to think nearly all Americans would consider military personel and families stationed abroad to be US residents. (And I don’t say that just because I like you!)

    I’d feel no ethical qualms about entering US resident shows if I were you.

  10. You’re military, right? With that AFO (or whatever) address thingy? Then you are an American resident. At least, I think so. Even if you are ‘living on the economy’ as my friends in the AF say.


  11. You are officially an American citizen temporarily living abroad while your spouse works to protect your country–this means you are a U.S. resident with all the rights and privileges of that citizenship, including entering this contest with a clear right to do so. I agree with what a number of other commenters have said, inform the contest officials of your status and see what they have to say so as to ease your mind.

  12. I enter US shows all the time, and I’m in exactly the same situation you are: I’m an American living abroad connected with the US military. I’ve won awards in some shows, and I absolutely feel no qualms about any of it. You have a US address, you pay taxes, there should be no question about any of it, really. And yes, certain things that we get to do, like entering shows on both continents if that’s what you choose to do, are the silver lining on the cloud that is Army life sometimes, with its many moves and restrictions and roadblocks to a normal family and artistic life. Take the silver lining and run with it!

    One small piece of advice though: when you enter shows in the US, be sure to put a note on the entry form that states your “real” city and state and country (in Germany, where you are sleeping! ๐Ÿ™‚ ). If you don’t, when they make the sign for your quilt when it’s displayed at the show, it will say you live in “APO, AE” wherever THAT is!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. You are an American citizen living abroad…you are an American unless you give up that citizenship…as a spouse of the armed services you should not even think twice about this…just do it and be proud….enter…enter…enter….we love to see your work…if this is questioned I dare that person to justify it.

  14. I’m an American living in the Netherlands for over 13 years. I’m not conected to the military, but I still have American citizenship. I have a contact address in America for all the things they won’t send outside the U.S. and it’s the address I needed to vote absentee. I think since I can vote, surely you can enter a quilt contest. From what I see of your quilts the ‘states’ could use some of your fresh ideas!!

  15. Kristin, My BIL often says, “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.” Now, while that may not apply in ALL situations (VBG), I think it certainly does here. And, if you have an APO or FPO address, just use that instead of your physical address. Plus, I’d bet that show organizers who read your entry would contact you if they thought there would be an issue. Good luck to you on BOTH sides of the ocean.

  16. Hmm.. well, just look at it this way.
    Our children were all born in Germany (with the exception of my oldest). As long as they live here they are eligible to go to German school and kindergarten, even the university once they finish school. They all received German birth certificates, right? BUT they also received American passports.
    Whatยดs my point?
    Your quilts are your children as well – they may have been born in Germany and get to enjoy some of the benefits that come with that but they can claim to be American at any given time as well.
    So just go ahead, enter them! ๐Ÿ˜€

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