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.
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.