Skip to main content

On the confused emotions around gaining British citizenship 17 days before Brexit.

I became a British citizen on March 12! So how do I feel about it?

1: A rush of relief 

Getting my residency, and upgrading this to citizenship, has literally taken years of test-taking and form-gathering and fees and waiting and nail-chewing and more fees and getting new photos taken and filling out more forms and more waiting.

After the relatively simple ceremony (swear fealty to a nonagenarian; sign a form; get photos taken), I mostly felt relief. Relief at the security of my new legal status  not being subject to administrative whims. For residency, as these lawyers say, is a precarious thing:
The right of permanent residence may also be withdrawn at any time on the basis of public security, public health or public policy.

But now, no matter what happens over the next days, weeks, and months, I'll be able to stay unencumbered in the country where I've spent the bulk of the last 13 years, where my job, and my husband's job, the kid's school, our little flat, and our corresponding friendship groups are based. I feel more protected, I suppose - but also like I'm finally able to speak up without violating the unwritten rules of guesthood, or potentially jeopardizing my chances to join Club Britannica.

2: Glee at staying German - and EU-European

One of the rare exceptions to Germany's arcane nationality laws (I know more about jus sanguinis and jus sol now than ever before) is that you can hold dual citizenship of an EU country – and German citizens who demonstrably applied for UK citizenship before March 29 can keep it. This means I can still work anywhere in the EU (and EEA!) and travel unencumbered, without having to relinquish too much.

3: A tinge of privileged guilt

Despite agonizing over the potential uncertainty of my status these last months, I know I'm insanely lucky. Though the strain was crushing at times (do I have all the right documents? will everything be ready in time), ultimately I didn't have to sacrifice anything beyond time and money - and my family's support helped mitigate the latter.

4: The excitement (but also weight) of new responsibilities

I'm excited about being able to vote in all UK elections now (including, hopefully, a new referendum).

But with all the uncertainty right now, so what's the best thing to do? Petition my Brexitophilic MP to actually act in the best interests of his constituents? Because the issue here is: he seems like a decent guy who from everything on his website genuinely seems to think he's doing just that (disclaimer: his kid is in the yeargroup above Trollkin and it's hard to hate on someone you vaguely know and who holds open the gate for laden parents). I imagine we'd end up agreeing to disagree, but only one of us gets to represent their point of view at Westminster.

And even beyond the Brexit mess there are so many issues to work out. Like what chance do we still have at rescuing the planet? How can we reduce inequality, unfairness, and discrimination? What's the next logical step? Months of tension and anxiety have left me drained - in addition to the aforementioned relief and glee, I was mostly just exhausted on Tuesday afternoon. Though there's still plenty to be tense and anxious about, it's also good to just be able to breathe.

5: But not really "British"

As my friends and family ask – do I feel British now? Do I feel at home here?

That’s still a clear no.

I should add: moving countries every few years as I grew up (the joy and bane of being a third-culture kid), feeling at home isn't linked to specific places for me. It's linked to people – family and friends. Trollkin, who enjoyed nursery in France, has put down firm roots here in a way that I never did anywhere. But though there's a lot I like about the UK and especially London, I was too old when I first moved here to properly assimilate.

So while I’m very excited to now hold triple citizenship, the big thing for me is that there’s still so much more to be done - and once I've regrouped internally, I can start to figure out what that is.


Popular posts from this blog

Stylus talk review: "The groups that will shape the commercial landscape in 2019."

Trends and insights researcher Stylus gave a presentation on  "The groups that will shape the commercial landscape in 2019"  on Tuesday, February 12 – here's my roundup (with extensive commentary). TL;DR: Interesting in terms of hearing about big and small trends (and the Zeitgeist in general), but also relatively niche and very US-focused. It was definitely about the "haves" rather than "have nots" – though that makes commercial sense I suppose. Also: I'm not entirely sold on the figures cited... Still, events like these are definitely worthwhile because with the insane amounts of information out there, anything that can shed light on what some of the distinct trends are, and where we're headed, makes the infoscape a bit more navigable. The speakers' main points: Don't just focus on Millennials and consider the "new" lifestyles which people are embracing – specifically... 1) "Supercharged Kids" Basically: the rise

Digested Read: How (Not) To Plan, Section 2.

Product, Price, Place! Introduction Marketers tend to focus overly much on Promotion, ignoring other three Ps. 2.1 Brands Can(not) Live Forever "Brands don't have life cycles," a theory which the longevity of Heinz, Kellogg's, and Hovis apparently support. "If there is any 'life cycle,' it's a brand management cycle." Phase 1: Brand launch with strong marketing support and ROI. Phase 2: Sales plateau – marketing needs to maintain and depend the brand and gets less management attention; budgets are cut. Phase 3: The cuts lead to declining sales; brand owners retaliate with price promotions which deliver short-term sales but damage the brand image (further affecting sales). The Boston Matrix of Cash Cows and Stars should be applied to categories, not brands. Checklist "Aim for brand immortality" Always invest in continuous advertising [Comment: A recurrent theme ] Share and Voice and Share of Market can help you estimate how much

Reading Raj Patel’s “The Value of Nothing” in an advertising context.

The more I read about the theory of advertising (which is plenty, thanks to my upcoming IPA Eff Test), the more it seems just inextricably linked to other disciplines. Psychology and sociology are pretty much a given – the better we understand how people’s minds and social structures work, the better we can sell to them. But there’s also a huge economic dimension to advertising. Specifically, so much of advertising relates to the process of value creation. Though my Comparative Literature course included ample Marx, Engels, Veblen, and Benjamin, it’s a concept that I’m still working to fully understand. That’s why I was very happy to come across Raj Patel’s The Value of Nothing . At its core, it’s a fundamental examination of why things cost what they do – though it also goes far beyond that as the subtitle, “How to reshape market society and redefine democracy,” suggests. One of the best parts is where Patel explains why “a burger grown from beef raised on clear-cut forest should rea