Although I’m American, by birth and by blood, I’m also something else too: my mother was English.
I recently applied for a British passport – and was approved! Joint citizenship for Americans is now allowed, so I can carry both. It means, in a few weeks, a second passport will be winging it’s way to me. I’ll be the bearer of not one passport, but two!
How did this happen? After filling in many forms and providing much data to show 1) I am me, and 2) I am related to my mother, I was granted approval to ‘naturalise’ as a British citizen. Yesterday, I attended the all-important naturalisation ceremony to receive a shiny new paper, confirming the same.
It was a lovely event, with a prominent citizen from my locality addressing and welcoming us all, cups of tea and biscuits afterwards, and a view over a verdant park. A quiet day to reflect.
Has this changed me at all? In a bureaucratic sense, possibly. Both halves of me are now recognised by relevant bureaucratic powers.
And yet fundamentally, there is no change. I am who I am, one man from two sides of a very large pond. I savour cool Jack Daniels as deeply as a room-temperature Glenmorangie. I drift away to Hotel California as effortlessly as I do to Stairway to Heaven. And I enjoy Hemingway and Proulx, as much as I admire Austen and Conan Doyle.
These halves of me – they’ve been here all along.