Who are you and where do you come from, is a frequently asked question when meeting somebody for the first time. I come from a family with little “cultural” background. As a child my answer to the question was clear. If they asked me: “Where are you from? “The answer was simple,” I’m German, I’m from Münster “
Nowadays it got a bit more complicated: “I am German and I’m from Auckland” makes no sense. Can I even identify with a country in which I have not lived for about 7 years?
Lately a German friend has asked where in New Zealand you could get an. My answer to her question was “What it an Aperol Spritz?” How could I know that that was a popular dink in Germany a few summers? I had already left Germany years before.
So you see, as I have spent some time abroad there is less and less that I know about my home country. I do not know the name of the German Minister president, I have got really no idea.. In addition I’m hopeless in the enumeration of recent German summer drinks.
Now there are probably many who say ” you will never forget how to be German.” I agree to some point. My childhood experiences in Germany still define me and to some people I do act very German. If someone would ask my boyfriend: Where is your girlfriend from. He says, “She is a German.”
Nevertheless, I begin to identify myself with my new home. I know for example that John Key is New Zealand’s President, and summer drink in New Zealand is always the same. CIDER! Which I would actually always prefer over an Aperol Spritz!
On the one hand I remain German; on the other hand I become Kiwi.
Let take my accent as an example: In English people tell me that I do not have a German accent. Most certainly I do not have a Kiwi accent either. Who knows I got my accent from? My German grandmother says that when I speak German I have a “foreign” accent. I assume “neither” does not really count as anything, does it? I most certainly can’t define who I am through my language and accents.
I have lived in New Zealand for over 3 years, I live, work and pay my taxes here. I speak English every day, at work, with friends and at home with my boyfriend.
Many other things have become Kiwi with me. I have become an expert at Smalltalk. A few years ago it was all a bit strange, as a German you do not actually do small talk. Why talk about the weather when you can discuss important things? Well, now it is different. For someone I actually someone who actually hated small talk I get by surprisingly well.
Still the question remains, who am I? Newman? Gerzealander? That is where the term “dual citizenship” came up in my mind. My boyfriend holds an Australian and an Irish passport because his father was born in Ireland. He himself has not spent more than 3 weeks in Ireland.
So it would be best to have a dual citizenship. Just are German and New Zealander simultaneously. Unfortunately this is not easy to have another passport in addition to the German.
Did you know that Germany is one of the few countries that do not allow dual citizenship? So you can either be a German citizen or not a German citizen.
Now expats like me are doomed. I do not like the idea of choosing between German and New Zealand citizenship, at all. Right now I have got another two years’ time before I can apply for New Zealand citizenship, as an “organized” German I have already done some research.
There are some exceptions for German dual citizenship.
Auswandern-aktuell says the following: Anyone who permanently lives abroad, can now – from the perspective of German legislation acquire foreign citizenship, and still retain their German citizenship “To accomplish this, the applicant must have a reasonable and plausible attachment to the old home and must clarify this. Someone who has left his home in rabbits with their grandparents will not count”…
Ok, I’m not into rabbitbreeding and otherwise I do not know much about Germany anymore. So I’m not sure if I can present a plausible reason. The so-called immigration test I would probably flunk. But why is it so hard to keep my German citizenship if I did accept a new one.
Is it just one general exception for dual citizenship in Germany: “It has been accepted if someone is a citizen of the Vatican” First, I asked myself since the question if the Vatican was not part of the EU anyway? And second, have they ever been any German citizens who waned citizenship of the Vatican, who were not a pope a bishop or similar.”
What does Pope actually say if you ask him what citizen he was? ”I’m German.” “I’m Vatican.”? Or do people never ask him because he is the pope.
I have got another two years until the final decision of the big citizenship question. Until then, I answer the question, “Who are you and where are you from?” with “Planet Earth!”. I wonder just when even that is not going to be enough anymore. We will have to apply for a visa on another planet and can go for Dual Planetship! Ohh dear, count me out!