On Tuesday I’m in the office and I get called to the reception at the front, because there’s a delivery for me that I have to sign for and I get a bit excited, but obviously not too much – within reason (3 out of 10?).
So I pick up the envelope and I think I know what it is and I open it and I’m right – it’s the decision for my British citizenship application.
To those who haven’t been following the story, this has been an incredibly long and relatively costly and quite tedious process. I had to have worked in the UK for 4 years and I had to apply for permanent residence in the UK and then I had to study and take a test about “Life in the UK” (even though I’ve lived here for 9 years) and finally I sent off my application on the 14th of May this year. And all this cost me around £750-£850 in total (I can’t remember exactly now and I don’t care anymore), because obviously every part of the process costs.
And I had no reason to do this, I can stay here as long as I want with my Greek passport, apart from I really wanted it – for some reason which I haven’t figured out just yet.
So anyway, I open the envelope and I find all my supporting documents (passport, payslips for the last 4 years, all kinds of shit), but I don’t care about any of this, what I care about is the covering letter and the covering letter says:
“I am pleased to say that your application has been successful and you will shortly receive a letter inviting you to attend a citizenship ceremony”.
And when I read this my excitement goes up to the next level (6 out of 10?), but obviously I try to conceal that, because I make a point in my life of not being excited about anything. It works better like that.
So then I go back to my desk and I send an email to a few good friends to let them know, and my email reads:
“I just got a letter (and my papers back).
The letter says: “I am pleased to say that your application has been successful and you will shortly receive a letter inviting you to attend a citizenship ceremony”.
I AM BRITISH!
Ha! In your face!
USA! USA! USA!”
And that’s it really – I can now look forward to my citizenship ceremony (whatever that is) and then I can apply for my shiny new passport.
The best reply to my news comes from Andrews, who says:
“Eeek so you are a Briton now! What happens at the ceremony? Does this mean you will stop speaking in that ridiculous accent now?”
And the answer Andrews is no, I will keep this hilarious accent, because I may be suddenly be British but Britain celebrates its diversity, welcomes people from different backgrounds and is a melting pot for international influences and cultures*. (*This is all bollocks obviously, the real reason is that I can’t shake off this damn accent no matter what I do).
Anyway, this whole thing has left me with a bittersweet taste and slightly upset (because I guess if I didn’t get upset over everything I wouldn’t be me) and what I’ve been thinking is:
OK, I lived in Greece for 18 years and I know everything there is to know about it culturally (the language, how people behave, what people do for fun, where people live etc). And I’ve lived in the UK for 9 years and I feel almost the same, i.e. I’ve figured it out and I sort of belong here.
But what upsets me is that I’m kinda old now (27) and there are some other countries out there that I would love to know more about, but I’ll never have the chance. And I could go on holiday there endlessly or I could go traveling and spend a couple of months in The Netherlands for example, but I will never really get to know any more countries and be part of them (like I am to Greece and England), because I would have to spend a good 10 years there to do that and I don’t think I have the time for that.
For example when I’m in a hotel abroad sometimes and I watch TV there (where they have a selection of different European channels) I will catch a Saturday night talent show from Germany or something, and I’ll watch it for a while and think about the millions of German people also watching it at the same time, and how they recognize the people on it, and how they’ll go to work on Monday and talk about it, etc. And I’ll never see this program again.
Basically, there is a whole other world out there (or several actually) that I will never really find out much about. And I feel a bit left out and upset.
And the countries that I would love to live in and be part of are: Germany, Holland, Australia. And to a lesser extent New Zealand and France. So 10 years in each of those would take me to 77 years of age, and I’m planning to be dead long before that.
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