Thursday, 5 February 2015

Duel nationality

You might think I don't know how to spell, but I was thinking about dual citizenship and how many problems it can cause, like a duel, as you try and fit into two countries.

One of my fellow bloggers has written eloquently about the distress of having to renounce her citizenship to be able to carry on living in her husband's country. She describes the pain of having to give up the citizenship of the country of her birth.
In some countries you can happily keep both nationalities, have a passport quite legally for the country of your birth and that of your adopted country, whether by marriage or work or whatever.

When I first came to Italy I had to have a Permesso di soggiorno, a permit to stay here. This was actually a great excuse to visit Venice to go to the Consulate and speak to people in my mother tongue. Often my future mother-in-law would come with me and we would have lunch in a pretty square and enjoy each others' company.

Once when we were at the Consulate they told me that I needed a professional person to sign a document. My mother-in-law offered to sign it. They looked at her doubtfully and told us that only people with degrees were allowed to. My mother-in-law informed them in her timid and modest way that she had a degree in Law from Florence university.  There were broad smiles all round and offers of tea and coffee.

When I got married I automatically became an Italian Citizen by marriage. This law has changed now as Italian citizenship has become more appealing. Luckily I am allowed to keep my British citizenship with a right to hold a passport if I so wish. so I don't really think about citizenship much at all.
 Reading the blog about having to renounce the citizenship of the country of origin made me aware of how difficult that could be. It could feel like you were renouncing all your roots, family and friends.

People that emigrate or move to another country for whatever reason can go into mourning for the life they have left. If you spend the first twenty or so years of your life in a country then that will inevitably be where your roots are. The years between fifteen and twenty are recognized as beeing the most important for the formation of a person's very being.

You need to find something in your adopted country that will help you  overcome this loss and find a new balance. You can't go around with your head in the past and you can't forget it all either. So you end up being two people, having two parallel lives.  You still keep up with what's going on in your land of birth because you love it and are interested and care about it. At the same time you have to build a new life, make lasting friendships and become familiar with new habits and traditions. Some people are better than others at this. Most people will suffer from homesickness at some point, or nostalgia, as Italians would say, but then there will come a point where they are more at home in their new country.
I like to think that I encouraged my family to look for the best in both countries, to love them both.

It must be awful to have to choose though, like my fellow blogger.

Interesting roots for this Magnolia tree. Our roots are very important.

Snowdrops give hope new life piercing the snow, like trying to build a life in a new country

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