From the Jewish Women’s Archive
Ah, nationality is such a curious thing. And I mean it when I write thing. I’m at my parents’ home in Luxembourg for a week to become an official Luxembourgish citizen. Thus, once my naturalization process is complete, I will be Luxembourgish. And Spanish. And probably German too.
My mother was born in Spain and came to Luxembourg when she was about 20. My dad, on the other hand, was born in Luxembourg but to German parents, which makes him a German national. However, he never felt like going through the pain of becoming a Luxembourger so I am technically German by birth. When I was 14 my mother brought me to the Spanish embassy and asked if I had the right to become Spanish. According to Spanish law, you can acquire Spanish citizenship as long as one of your parents is Spanish. Consequently, I got Spanish citizenship and with it my first passport. If I’m honest with you, I don’t know if I was still German then but I guess as long as my dad is German I am kind of German too. In other words, if I get Luxembourgish citizenship, I will be allowed to carry 2, maybe 3, different passports. (Not sure about German laws about multiple citizenship). Of course, I wonder if I need to have all of the passports with me when I travel and if border control officers will start thinking I’m some sort of danger to their country. In a way it would make me feel like I was an international spy on an extremely important mission. For which country, you ask? I don’t really know.
The funny part is that all of this doesn’t really mean anything to me. Undoubtedly, it will be of an advantage to me. I appreciate that I grew up in a multicultural environment but I wouldn’t say I belonged to a certain country. I belong to the world. At times I belong to the United Kingdom, the next minute I belong to Spain. When I travel to the United States, I belong to the United States too. If I ever travelled to India, I’d belong to India. All the places I go to, all the people I meet, shape and influence me in plenty of ways. I can’t tell you if I’m more Spanish than German or more British than Luxembourgish. I love the British politeness and their weather-talk. I love the outgoing nature of many Spaniards. I can pick and choose who and what I want to be. I adapt to the environment I find myself in by observing those around me. If I was among monkeys somewhere in the jungle in a way I would probably start behaving like a monkey. All this reminds me of a lecturer I once had when I was at the University of Luxembourg. He said to us that all of this – language, nationality and what not – is politics. There’s a certain truth to this statement.
I’m everybody and nobody, you could say. I truly believe we all are everybody and nobody.