No. 1 on Google

A follower of this blog from the Peach State informed me that I have risen to No. 1 whenever one googles “luxembourg dual citizenship” as a search team. I now rank above the Luxembourg Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as the Wikipedia page devoted to nationality laws in the Grand Duchy.

Exciting, no?

Other than that, I haven’t much with which to update the Luxembourg-American community in regards to my application process. Unfortunately, I still have yet to receive any sort of notification from the Ministry of Justice. However, I now know it takes a significant amount of time, especially as more and more people submit applications for dual-citizenship.

(PHOTO GALLERY: Famous Americans of Luxembourg descent)

I will hopefully be calling Xavier, the contact everyone seems to be using, with the help of my French-speaking girlfriend so that I can check into the status of my application. I keep worrying the USPS box in which I put all the certificates and documents went down in a plane crash over the Atlantic Ocean. But I shouldn’t think so pessimistically. Either it’s there and has been read, or it’s waiting to be opened in a mail room somewhere in the bowels of a bureaucratic building in the capital.

I’ve been busy get acclimated to my new job, but once things settle, I’ll devote a couple hours to churning out pieces on Luxembourg history, culture and famous descendants. Please let me know what you want to learn more about, and I’ll do the research.

Instead of leaving you with a highly important word or phrase to learn in Luxembourgish, I thought I’d link you to a Facebook page at which you can learn completely useless phases in Luxembourgish. It’s rather amusing, and obviously has a very small following, but it’s hilarious and, who knows, might come in handy one day if you move to the Grand Duchy.

Click here to visit the Facebook page.

Äddi!

2nd on Google

2nd on Google

I’m very happy to announce that I now rank No. 2 on Google search when anyone is looking for web content pertaining to “luxembourg dual citizenship.” Hopefully this blog has been helpful to those who have found me via Google!

Best of luck to those still working on their projects, and to those waiting to hear back after sending their applications, I suggest drinking a large glass of beer or wine to calm the nerves.

Äddi!

This Luxembourg tennis player had no chance

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

I’ve been waiting and waiting for the moment when the mailman or woman finally delivers something from Luxembourg in regards to my application. But in the meantime, let’s look at an unfortunate Luxembourg tennis player who’s been walloped by one of the U.S.’s best tennis players, Serena Williams.

As the New York Times reports, throughout her career Serena Williams has had the opportunity to beat many of the her contemporaneous greats from tennis-playing countries across the globe. However, her most recent match against Mandy Minella, a 22-year-old Luxembourger, is the first time Williams has played and defeated a citizen from the Grand Duchy.

Minella ranks 92nd. Her best results were in 2010 “when she made it to the third round of the United States Open before she was crushed by Venus Williams, 6-2, 6-1.” Today, the other Williams sister beat Minella 6-1, 6-3.

Maybe next time, Minella.

Äddi!

Sort of meeting the Luxembourg ambassador to the U.S.

A few weekends ago, the European Union embassies in Washington, D.C., held an open house for locals and tourists to check out the embassies and learn about the countries they represent. After watching my sister’s convocation ceremony online …

cass

One of few people who can be charming when doing the Richard Nixon pose.

… I hopped on the Red Line to get in as many European embassies as I could. My first stop: Luxembourg.

Just as I entered the queue outside the embassy, I ran into a former housemate, Lorena, from the rodent-infested residence on G Street NE. She has since moved, to the disappointment of the mice who loved devouring half loaves of her wheat bread.

After ten minutes had passed, we entered the grand lobby of the embassy where two people, a young woman and a portly man, were seated at a folding table. Both were quietly distributing pamphlets on Luxembourg’s tourism, economy and history. The two were unassuming. I picked up a pamphlet and said to Lorena “I wonder if the ambassador from Luxembourg is here.” The man looked at me, expressionless, and then turned his head toward the person behind me in line. I carried on past the large portrait of the strapping Grand Duke Henri and into the living room.

When I entered the living room, I said:

Picture frames on the room’s coffee and end tables showed the portly man at the table standing next to famous statesmen and women including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

obama

Upon realizing my stupidity, I dropped a F-bomb under my breath, snaked through the rest of the first floor and then took a picture of Ambassador Jean-Louise Wolzfeld from across the lobby, where visitors exited on the other side of a red rope that cordoned the line entering the embassy from the line exiting. You can see me snapping the photo in the mirror behind him — the bag I’m holding was a free gift from the embassy, and I call it my EU man purse.

2013-05-11 14.33.36

I’m not proud of the fact that I looked like a complete jerk in front of him. Herr Wolzfeld, a seasoned and experienced diplomat, boasts an impressive résumé.

Here’s his biography, thanks to Matt Bewig at Allgov.com:

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg—a tiny (area: 998.6 miles2/2,586.4 km2) landlocked nation sandwiched between France, Germany and Belgium—sent a new ambassador to Washington last fall who has served in the U.S. before. Jean-Louis Wolzfeld presented his credentials to President Obama on September 19, 2012, succeeding Jean-Paul Senninger, who had served since August 2008. Wolzfeld is concurrently accredited as Luxembourg’s ambassador to Canada.

Born in July 1951 in Luxembourg, Wolzfeld earned his undergraduate degree at the Institute of Translation and Interpretation at the University of the Sarre, in Sarrebruck, Germany, and two Masters Degrees from the University of Paris I in International Public Law and in European Law.

Joining the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1977, Wolzfeld served early assignments as an attaché, as secretary in the office of international economic relations, and as a delegate at the 34th UN General Assembly in 1979. From 1981 to 1986 he was deputy permanent representative to the International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, serving as vice president of the Contracting Parties of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986.

Ten years into his diplomatic career, Wolzfeld was named to his first ambassadorship, serving as his country’s first ambassador to Japan from 1987 to 1993, with a concurrent appointment as ambassador to South Korea for part of that time. Returning to New York, Wolzfeld served as permanent representative to the U.N. from 1993 to 1998. In 1997, as chairman of the European Union delegations to the U.N., it fell to Wolzfeld to publically chastise the U.S. Congress for voting to refuse to pay a billion dollars in back dues as a protest against abortion.

Back in Europe, Wolzfeld served as director for political affairs at the Foreign Ministry from 1998 to 2002. He then served as ambassador to the United Kingdom, resident in London from 2002 to 2013 and concurrently accredited to Ireland, Italy, Malta and Iceland.

Wolzfeld speaks French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Luxembourgish (a Germanic language spoken mainly in that country). He is not married.

I only had time to visit one other embassy, the Embassy of Ireland. Sad to say, Luxembourg, but Ireland won my heart over. Why? IRELAND PASSED OUT FREE CHEESE.

2013-05-11 15.48.01

Äddi!

An update from the Wanna-Be Luxembourger

An update from the Wanna-Be Luxembourger

As of a few weeks ago, I have finished the first phase of my Luxembourg dual-citizenship. After spending about a year and a half compiling all the necessary documents that prove my connection to several Luxembourg ancestors, I finally completed this part of the project and sent my application from the United States Postal Service office at Union Station in Washington, D.C., to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

Now, the only thing I can do is wait. From what I have read and what several followers of this blog have informed me, after about one to two months, applicants receive word from the appropriate agency as to the eligibility of their applications. Then an additional six months takes place before the application is processed. Then, hopefully then, I’m off to Luxembourg to become a Luxembourger.

Those of you in this stage of the process: Let me know how it’s going!

Äddi!

Pizza and basil

I can’t seem to find a far-fetched connection between my girlfriend’s new urban gardening blog and my Luxembourg blog, which I have neglected over the past month or so, but, nevertheless, I wanted to promote her content shamelessly because it’s so damn good — it’ll make you salivate until you’re standing in your own pool of spit.

In one of her posts, her sister and I use basil that she’s grown in front of her apartment to make a margarita-style pizza.

So, get to it, and CHECK IT OUT: Pizza and basil.

Clarifying the translation part of the application process

Thanks to a couple of followers to this blog, I’ve been able to get some clarification about the application for Luxembourg dual-citizenship.

One DOES NOT need to translate the vital records for the first phase of the application. Two followers of this blog have been kind enough to share this with me, and one even provided some documentation and audio as evidence that one does not need to go through the hassle of translating the vital records.

HOWEVER, when you go in-person to apply in Luxembourg, everything must be translated into either German or French. The amount of documents in this stage of the application process is minimal, so don’t worry about having to pony up a lot of money to get an official translation of these documents.

Here is the audio of the phone conversation one of the followers had with Mme Natacha Block, who can be reached at  (+352) 247-84051. Click on the following link, which will take you to a Google doc, and download the MP3 file to hear the conversation.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9LY-5dD6xrZdHNKWGZwb2czRTg/edit

In addition, here is a template letter that can be attached to all the vital record documents when you request your certificat de nationalité.

Certificate Request Model

Lastly, the blog follower also provided me with an invaluable contact in the Service de l’Indigénat, named Xavier Drebenstedt. He can be reached via email at xavier.drebenstedt@mj.etat.lu or nationalite@mj.public.lu.

Thanks to my followers for all the help, guidance and generosity. This is your blog as much as it is mine. Villmols merci!

More documents

Before I moved to DC, I submitted several records request. The documents arrived about a month after I sent the forms, and my parents sent me everything before their two week trip to Europe, which they’re currently enjoying as I write this blog.

For this batch of documents, I focused on my great-grandfather’s birth, marriage and death certificates. Unfortunately, Davir Orr and his less-than-stellar employees at the Cook County Records Office didn’t certify two of the three documents, even though I explicitly wrote in a detailed letter that all document have to be certified in order for the Luxembourg Ministry of Justice to recognize them as official.

I explained this in an earlier post, but Illinois has a whacky law — one of many — that makes any birth certificate older than 75  years old, any marriage certificate older than 50 years old and any marriage certificate older than 20 years old not an officially certified document. These two uncertified documents, stamped in red ink on the back, are “FOR GENEALOGICAL PURPOSES ONLY.” Every time I read the stamp on the back of the documents I hear Gilbert Gottfried shrilly screaming those words, followed by an “Aflac” or two.

So, per usual, Illinois government is making my life rather difficult. Meanwhile, my girlfriend in Iowa can call up random hamlets in Luxembourg where my ancestors lived more than 100 years ago, and the local officials in these small towns can find everything I need in a day, certify it and send it to me through the mail free of charge. Strange how that works.

For anyone hoping to obtain dual-citizenship in Luxembourg as an American citizen who resides in a state other than Illinois, be grateful to your relatives. Illinois is notorious for corruption, money-sucking politicians and suspicious fires that destroy records departments.

Anyway, before I bore everyone with one of my rants, here is Francis Albert Eischen’s vital records.

Day 1 – My Conversation With a Drug Dealer

Part II: My Time in the Big Apple, or How I Met the Condor

Day 1 – My Conversation With a Drug Dealer

After spending only a few days in Washington, DC, about which you can read here, it was time to head north on the Amtrak NE Regional for a week vacation in New York City and Boston. Before I had received the internship offer, I had already planned a trip out east to see friends in New York City and meet up with Sarah, who, after her two-month stint in France, was flying into NYC to reunite with her friends in Brooklyn.

On Friday, September 7, I arrived at Penn Station, found Gary and Evan at a PATH station nearby, went on an impromptu bro shopping mission and then headed to Gary’s new pad, conveniently located just down the street from one of the best bagel shops — Wonder Bagel — on the planet.

The first night’s craziness commenced at a bar in the East Village. Evan and I, not accustomed to big city folk waterin’ holes, learned that buying a round for your fellow bros, specifically yourself and two others, can cost a minimum of $40. But when one is having a blast, he sometimes ignores the large dollar amount on that small receipt. It’s when he wakes the next morning and pulls from his pocket a drink receipt — one with a very large number — that regret smacks him in the face and from his mouth drops a sharpy enunciated f-bomb.

After much dancing, yelling and 강남스타일, better know as PSY’s Gangnam Style, I left the bar in typical Trevor fashion.

In college, whenever I’d had enough with a particular venue, craved food or needed a few minutes of alone time, I would leave the bar without telling anyone and eventually return to the bar (unless I told them to meet me at the Columns, where I enjoyed watching bats fly around the dome of Jesse Hall). I found a convenience store as large as a Port-O-Potty, purchased a pack of American Spirits and found a place to sit and watch the scores of over-served New Yorkers scurrying from bar to bar. Gary, Evan and another Mizzou friend we met at the bar, Ashley, found me outside. While they filled their stomachs with food in a diner, I continued to loiter at the intersection and people-watch. Many passers-by asked for cigarettes, and since I never smoke cigarettes, I handed them out as if Marlboro had hired me to wear a Santa Claus suit and give all the good boys and girls of New York City lung cancer.

One gentleman asked for a cigarette and then proceeded to inquire if “I did anything else.” This caught me off guard. I do many things, I thought. I eat Frank’s Hot Sauce straight out of the bottle. I dance to George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I count the number of people I’ve judged while strolling down a busy sidewalk. I do a lot, but by “anything else,” he meant something specifically.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Drugs.”

“Well, I take hypothyroid medication and Vitamin D. But no, I don’t do drugs.”

“Oh, really?”

“Why, do you sell them?”

“I might.”

“What do you sell?”

“Coke and pot.”

“REALLY?!”

The journalist inside me kicked in. This drug dealer was about to be assaulted with questions pertaining to his illicit trade.

“How much does it cost?”

“$120.”

Yikes. That’s, like, four really good presidential biographies. I can’t afford to snort lines of coke when I’m invested in learning about every Commander-in-Chief. Forget coke. I’m sticking with cheap beer and presidents.

“How much coke or pot does that get me?” I asked.

“You know.”

“I don’t. Does it come in a Ziploc bag? A carton? A can?”

He smirked. I changed topics.

“So, what else do you do?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you sell drugs all the time or do you do something else?”

“Oh, I like to rap. I’m a rapper.”

His shoulders relaxed, and the stiffness to his body dissipated as we veered into a legal topic of conversation.

“You should pursue the rapping instead of the drugs.”

“Well, I gotta make a living.”

I went on and on about how he shouldn’t sell drugs and should work on his art form, even though I assumed he was an awful rapper.

“If I ever need drugs in NYC, I promise I’ll return to this intersection and buy from you.”

“Can I have your number?”

Oh come on, I thought, I only said that because I’m being nice, which is only the case because I’m still feeling the libations from the bar.

“I know where to find you. At this intersection.”

“Why can’t I have your number?”

In case I ever get a call from the FBI or the DEA asking if I’ve purchased drugs from someone in the East Village, that’s why.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured this misguided young entrepreneur. “I know where and when to find you.”

“My name is Dell. Like the computer. Aight?”

“Perfect. I’ll see you soon.”

As I left Dell, I implored him to pursue the rapping and ditch the drug dealing.

I habitually become disgustingly optimistic, Libertarian and preachy after several drinks. Both have nothing in common with the other, but my alcohol-fueled interactions can make me either extremely entertaining or annoying. I will motivate this drug dealer Dell, I thought. Perhaps my Grey Goose-induced message would catalyze the change he needed. Stop selling drugs and pursue your dream of rapping about monitors, screensavers and processors, or whatever you rap about, Dell. But, like the crappy computers for which he is named, his future is bleak and his processor so slow that I could never play The Sims without it crashing before I could save all of my progress.

With that, I rejoined the group, ranted about how much I dislike Michael Bloomberg for telling me what size soda I can gulp and then segued into a long-winded complaint about the lack of fans in the subway stations. I of course blamed Michael Bloomberg for the crappy ventilation and cursed him to the bowels of Jersey.

Thanks to the our trusty guide Gary, we returned to his apartment without being attacked by a giant sewer alligator or Sarah Jessica Parker, though I’d rather be viciously dragged into the filthy sewer water of NYC, relentlessly ripped apart and then completely devoured by a mythical New York sewer alligator than look Sarah Jessica Parker in the eyes for more than five seconds.

The three bros passed out at Gary’s place. The next day, we’d be heading to Queens for a Mets game and then back to Manhattan to watch the Mizzou game.

Tune in tomorrow for Part II, Day 2, also known as PART II, DAY 2 – Queens, Mets, Mizzou and …. THE CONDOR.

On how I ended up in DC, toured the East Coast, ran into Ron Paul, witnessed an old lady threaten a couple of punks with a Taser and survived as an intern for only a week

It’s about damn time I wrote a post for this here blog of mine.

I’ve already written 5,000 words for what I had initially planned as one gruelingly long post, but I’ve decided to divide it into four chapters, which are as follows:

PART I: GETTING THE INTERNSHIP, OR HOW LIFE HAPPENS RATHER QUICKLY

PART II: MY TIME IN THE BIG APPLE, OR HOW I MET THE CONDOR

PART III: BOSTON, OR CHEERS, WHERE NOBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME

PART IV: RON PAUL, CRAZY OLD LADIES AND MY FIRST JOB, OR HOW THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER THAT MAKES EVERYONE IN DC BAT-SHIT CRAZY

It’s strange to think that I’ve done all this in less than a month, which is the main reason why I’ve been rotten about posting anything online, especially updates on my Luxembourg dual-citizenship project.

But I’m back, eager to blog and ready to post lots and lots of gifs. So here we go.

PART I: GETTING THE INTERNSHIP, OR HOW LIFE HAPPENS RATHER QUICKLY

On Thursday, Aug. 27, I received an email offering me in internship on K Street in Washington, DC.

My reaction:

Many discussions with my mom and dad ensued. We planned how I would make the move and afford living in DC as a $0-an-hour intern.

That following Monday, my mom and I embarked on a 14-hour, 741-mile journey across the flat, corn-covered plains of the Midwest during the day and up and down the rain-drenched mountains of Appalachia at night. Madre and I only stopped for Diet Coke and coffee, our respective stimulants of choice that we abuse more than anyone. We’ve not shame but unabashed pride in our dependency, and y’all can go to hell for criticizin’.

Besides, we needed to stop for fuel, both for the car and our bodies, because we were on a mission. We weren’t spending the night at a hotel to dillydally like a couple of whiny bitches who can’t trek the entire 3,912,480 feet of beautiful Amurrrca between Chicagoland and DC. We were headed to the nation’s capital, and nothing, not even the signs tempting us to visit countless historic sites or outlet malls, would stop us from successfully finishing our mission.

My mom drove the entire flippin’ way. Bet your mom can’t do that. She also makes these amazing homemade donuts, the recipe of which I need to get from her, unless, of course, she’s reading this blog and could kindly send me the recipe after she’s finished reading.

At 2 a.m., we arrived at the Fairfield Inn near Dulles International. For the next few days, we hunted fiercely for the apartment in which I wouldn’t end up with a roommate who’s pastime involves murdering his roommate, skinning him and using his epidermis to make chique lamp shades now on sale at Ashley Furniture.

The first abode on our list, in Alexandria, Va., was nice, located in a decent area and situated by a Metrorail station. PERFECT, RIGHT!? But when we returned to the rental office, the young man who gave the tour handed us a copy of the apartment application, which required that the tenant be employed and earn a minimum salary of $38,000.

I’m glad this tidbit of information wasn’t mentioned until after the management office had wasted its and our time showing the efficiency. The moment we walked out of the office, we both unanimously rejected contestant No. 1.

We then went to a city in Maryland for the second apartment on our apartment-hunting list. As I drove farther away from DC, the state of the neighborhoods rapidly declined into an urban wasteland, replete with cracked sidewalks, dilapidated row houses and the vibe that you’re probably going to be shanked. Worst of all, the apartment was nowhere near a Metro station into the city. When we finally saw the house advertized on Craigslist, I frowned, quickly turned around the car and, at a red light, texted the subleaser that I wouldn’t be able to make it that day.

His textual response: “nice..”

If anything confirmed my feelings about this place, it was the subleaser’s use of two periods, which I refer to as either a mutated period or a prematurely birthed ellipsis. It was time to leave.

Uncertain of our surroundings and fueled with a thirst for more Diet Coke and coffee, I hit the pedal to the metal and our Nissan Sentra zoomed out of that city and back into DC.

But, as the saying goes, the third time is a charm. The third apartment turned out to be the place where I’m currently typing this post. Here’s my recently decorated fire place mantel:

Located in an up-and-coming area off the H Street Corridor, I’m within walking distance of Union Station, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court, where I’ve already creepily attempted to snap a picture of the Supreme Court justices playing drinking games in their offices late at night. Failure has thus far been my only outcome.

But more importantly, I’m within a few blocks of a plethora of bars, an English Pub, an Irish-Jewish fusion restaurant (ישראל go bragh!), a hookah lounge, a place called Dangerously Delicious Pies, a to-die-for pizza place and the indoor Eastern Market, where I can buy fresh produce, meats, cheese and baked goods. On the weekends, farmers from outside DC set up stands around the indoor market and cut up slices of tomato, peaches, nectarines and other crops for free sampling. I have spent the past two weekend walking up and down the row of farmers’ market stalls to gorge on this delicious array of fruits and veggies for free sustenance. I’VE NO SHAME.

My mom and I decided that this would be the perfect place to start my life in DC. We felt too confident with our decision, so we retraced our steps to make sure we didn’t miss some glaring issue with where I had chosen to live. But we couldn’t find any reason not to commit to our plan. We solidified the plans at the hotel. Mission accomplished.

I don’t live in a apartment, actually, but it’s a yellow row house where I rent out a room. A gentleman, who worked at Department of Defense for twenty years and whom I best describe as “the most chillaxed person I know,” lives on the third floor and leases rooms for students and interns. I occupy a large bedroom on the second floor and have my own bathroom. Although I share a kitchen and living room with the owner, he’s rarely around; oftentimes I feel as if the place is my own.

To celebrate our find, which really was meine Mutters discovery, we toured what I call the Acronym Monuments on the Mall: the FDR Memorial and the MLK Jr. Memorial (Congress, I want to let you know that I, the good people of Texas and Robert A. Caro are impatiently waiting for LBJ’s monument on the National Mall). Speaking of Robert A. Caro, I saw him, Walter Isaacson and R.L. Stine last Saturday at the National Book Festival on the National Mall.

He talked about the JFK assassination from the points of view of LBJ and the people who were with him that day.

Issacson discussed his biographies on three geniuses: Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. I now own an autographed copy of Steve Jobs!

Sadly, my iPhone’s battery died before I could snap a shot of R.L. Stine, who was working with his audience to create a ghost story about a boy named Bill and his magical pumpkin.

Anyway, after only being in Washington for fewer than two days, we left for the Land of Lincoln, except this time I besought my mother to hand over the steering wheel so I could drive. Perhaps she regretted this decision; I sped perilously through the mountains at 80 to 85 mph. But it wasn’t the speed at which I was driving that posed the most danger for my mother and me. It was every person with a New York license plate.

When we returned to Sleepy Hollow, I packed everything I needed for the move, and I, alone, departed for Washingon, DC, once more. But this time, I had no return trip in mind. I left the following Monday, stopped for the night in Zanesville, Ohio, where a man released 48 exotic animals before killing himself and leaving the mess for Jack Hanna and the police to clean up. Then I started the last leg of trip to DC.

For some reason, the parkway down which I was supposed to drive was closed, so I rerouted and drove southeast on Massachusetts Avenue instead. I zipped by the National Cathedral, the vice president’s swank crib and an assortment of embassies, my favorite of course being this one …

OH, LOOK, SOMETHING FINALLY RELATED TO LUXEMBOURG IN THIS BLOG. IT’S A LOW-RES, GRAINY, ZOOMED-IN IPHONE PHOTO OF THE LUXEMBOURG EMBASSY. AND YES, I was photographing and driving. Come at me, DC police.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, titled PART II: MY TIME IN THE BIG APPLE, OR HOW I METTHE CONDOR.