May 23, 2008

The hardest decision

I had another nice walk to the police station this morning. I learned that if I were a European citizen the stamp in my passport would be valid for 25 years. I am, however, not a European citizen.

As I left the police and walked to work, I thought about changing my citizenship. Giving up my US one and becoming Norwegian. With a Norwegian passport I could visit Cuba, for example. I could also live and work anywhere in the EU. That could help my latent dream of living in England come true. And I could have a say in who actually runs this country.

But…

I checked this question before so I know that the US has rather strict rules about giving up one's citizenship, along the lines of "If you leave, don't bother coming back". And, am I really expecting never to go back to the US? There's something about waving the dark blue passport as I land in on US soil that makes me feel I belong, that I'm somehow home. But the US isn't "home", really. Not any more. It's just another country, with good and bad points, and - I must admit - the longer I stay in Norway, the less attractive the US seems.

As I considered giving up my birthright, I could feel a fear grip me, about the finality of giving of my US citizenship. I walked by the dumbest sidewalk set-up ever: It ends on one side of the street as the road bends, and there is no crosswalk nearby to take you to the opposite side where there's a sidewalk. Do I really want to be a citizen of a country that does something that thoughtless? Well, right now, with Dubya Bush in charge, the alternative is pretty dumb, too.

I told myself that I didn't have to make a decision right then and there. I could wait and see who gets elected president this fall and see what that person does the next four years. I can wait and see if I'm still annoyed at the system in two years' time when I go back to renew my stamp. I can wait and see if the rules in Norway or the EU change.

A co-worker told me today of a cousin of hers who has dual citizenship. The cousin's experience is that Norwegians are more welcome around the world than are Americans. You can go more places with a Norwegian passport.

Dear reader: If you are someone who gave up your citizenship in one nation for another (especially if you gave up a US citizenship), I'd love to hear from you, either in the comments or via e-mail.

PS: The Norwegian DMV works fast! My new driver's license arrived in the mail today. It somehow makes me feel very Norwegian.

3 comments:

nicole said...

That's a tough one.
I don't know what I would do, if I were in your shoes.
People keep asking me, if I wouldn't want to apply for an American citizenship? I always look at them like they are nuts, I'm afraid.
But hubby doesn't think of giving his American one up either.
I'm of no help I'm afraid.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Reading about what happens if an American does renounce his/her citizenship is rather scary.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is interesting yet some of your thoughts are just plain pathetic. You are dismayed with the most glorious country as US because Bush is a president? Yes , he is f..up individual but what it has to do with the country as a whole? I can't believe such thought can come from an intelligent person that you seem to be, what's up with you?