Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Geht raus nach neben deinem Haus"

Today is the first anniversary of my becoming a German citizen.

It's also the 50th anniversary of the first concert the Beatles played in Hamburg.

I thought I would draw the two themes together. As ever, das Internet has proven very helpful in this regard.

Ja, Jackie.


Dale said...

I've long wondered what it's like to live in a civilized nation-state.

Congratulations on the year.

John Carter Wood said...

Thanks, Dale.

I recall (though it's been a few years since I've been there) a number of civilised parts of American culture. A few of which I have a certain nostalgia for. (Let alone the ability to find a good omelette and hash browns at two in the morning.)

But, yeah, the more I see of American political discourse over the last year or so, the more I'm happy to be able to focus on things here.

I was re-reading something I wrote in 2004 recently, and the last couple of paragraphs hit home in a way that I thought had been overcome when Obama was elected.

Oh well...

headbang8 said...

JCW--I thought you were half-British, which made becoming a German citizen superfluous. Or have I got it wrong?

John Carter Wood said...

Half-British in my heart but never in my paperwork. My mother renounced her British citizenship when she became an American citizen long before I was born.

I was told that dual citizenship back then was not really feasible for normal folk. But, whatever the answer, she gave it up.

Which didn't stop our house from being festooned with union jacks, Toby jugs and Churchill paraphernalia of all descriptions.

Dale said...

John, I "like" the article you wrote, albeit in the Facebook sense of "like" -- it says true things that I wish hadn't been true in 2004, and wish even more weren't true still today.


Not that you need any prompting, let alone advice from me, but stay where you are.

Captcha for this comment: "Unweedia." That sounds like a utopia with its only flaw being no weed. I'd take that deal.

Frau Mahlzahn said...

Well, happy first anniversary!

I'd like to chat sometime about your decision, since next year I'm elligible for the Austrian citizenship, and am pondering the question what to do. I do want to take active part in Austrian politics, be able to vote, and so on. So I have been giving some thought to it, but can't really decide, since for me the citizenship is more than the passport, but has a lot to do with where my socialisation took place, what my associations are, and so on. (I published a short story touching the issue once, that wasn't so bad).

So long,

John Carter Wood said...

Sure, any time Corinna.

I was informed that one of the exceptions to the German 'no dual citizenship' rule is second citizenships within the European Union. So, as far as I know, one could become Austrian and remain German. I'm not sure what the technicalities would be (especially with regard to voting), but it should be possible.

Though I sort of downplayed the meaning of citizenship as a 'piece of paper' before, going through this process made me realise how many emotions and how much of one's identity are tied up with it.

As you suggest, there's a strong sense of 'where do I come from' involved; on the other hand there's also the question 'where am I now' and 'where am I going' that can make the decision to switch a sensible one.

(It meant a lot to me to be able to vote in last year's election as did, perhaps perversely, getting my Ausweis with 'Deutsch' under 'Nationality'.)

But if you can keep both, it's not such a big deal: you'd be gaining something without losing something.

And, though I haven't looked at the evidence, I rather suspect that the risks of dual-citizenship leading to a split personality are minimal.

Even in the case of Germany/Austria