Before I talk about the next step in becoming a citizen of Luxembourg and the European Union, first I’m going to deviate from the main purpose of this blog and recap my wonderful weekend.
On Saturday, I traveled west on Lake Cook to Ravinia Festival and listened to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform Mahler’s Six. It was a smash hit, if you get my gist. I also found some interesting speech bubbles in my concert program.
The next day I went movie-hopping, or “plexing,” with my sister Cori. Originally we had planned to see three movies, but I couldn’t leave AMC 30 without having seen The Amazing Spider-Man. So, between 3:10 and 11:15, we watched four movies.
We bought tickets for Moonrise Kindgom, a beautifully shot movie with Holden Caufield-esque characters and typical Wes Anderson quirkiness I will never consider stale (especially Bill Murray getting drunk in only his pajama bottoms and drunk-chopping down a tree).
But some obnoxious woman in the back row kept piercing little holes in my ear drums with her high-pitched laugh. The chortles shout of out her mouth so shrilly that whenever I wanted to elicit a chuckle at the same time she laughed, I just couldn’t. Instead, I focused my energy on cringing and shooting her a death stare that, of course, she couldn’t see in the dark of the theater.
The next movie, Ted, played like an hour-and-forty-six-minute Family Guy episode with the same jokes and even the same voice actors, but this time they were starring in live-action roles. Considering Seth McFarlane’s propensity to rehash material, I delighted in knowing I didn’t waste $17 to see that movie.
After Ted, we quickly shuffled across the hall to see The Amazing Spider-Man. Even though it’s a shameless reboot of a superhero series barely a decade old, I prefer the grittiness and acting of this movie to the Sam Raimi’s first three. I still love the first series (minus Spider-man 3, which is the Vietnam of superhero movies). Oh, yes … did I mention Emme Stone is in it? Muy bueno.
Unfortunately, the web-slinging, mad-scientist-turned-reptilian-psycho, Emma-Stone-laden fun of The Amazing Spider-Man was corrupted by a rude audience. The couple next to us kept pulling out their iPhone and texting their lazy friend who used the letter “r” instead of the word “our.” Throughout one humorous scene, the woman would laugh, the man would mumble something in Spanish as if he were perplexed, and she would start explaining to him what had happened in Spanish. Why had he not asked questions during the first 20 minutes of the movie? He knew no English, and she was going to translate the rest of the movie, or at least the parts he liked, for him. Wishing I had web-shooters wrapped around my wrists so that seal their mouths shut with webbing, I raised my left hand to block them and their bright iPhone out of my periphery. Eventually, the gentleman gave up trying to understand the English-speaking actors, so he resumed playing a game on his iPhone. My guess is that they weren’t paying for their movie; they left during the obligatory battle scene between the hero and villain.
Meanwhile, people around us had sneaked in giant Target grocery bags full of snacks. Whenever they reached into their giant plastic sacks to pull out whatever they were eating, they ruffled through their bags with the same ferocity of my mom trying to find her ringing cell phone at the bottom of her purse. The entire theater echoed with the cacophony of garbage bags, Spanish, underfed children and cell phones vibrating in cup holders. My head circled around my neck to see all the violators of the peace.
“You bastards … Emma Stone is talking! HOW DARE YOU. Chewing on popcorn should not register 150 decibels.”
The unbearable noise of popcorn crunching started messing with my mind. I about had it when the chubby kid from the back row kep stampeding up and down the theater’s stairs. I felt a mental breakdown looming, so I focused my attention on Emma Stone and went to a happy place.
I suppose I can’t complain. I didn’t pay for the movie. In fact, I cheated “the man,” also known as Harvey Weinstein, out of $17 x 3 = $51.
After enduring the noisy bastards in theater three, we walked to our last scheduled movie, Brave, a Pixar film that turned out pretty good.
But man, sitting for eight hours can be exhausting. #firstworldproblems
I must now turn my attentions to the true purpose of this blog: Luxembourg citizenship. After taking a break for several days, it’s back to business.
In case you’re new to the blog, I’m embarking on a quest, sans rings or Hobbits or horcruxes, to obtain dual-citizenship in Luxembourg, a petite country in Europe that proves size doesn’t matter — or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
According to the CIA World Factbook’s entry on Luxembourg, the landlocked Grand Duchy boasted an impressive $84,700 GDP per capita in 2011, thanks to the country’s strong banking and financial industry. Luxembourg ranks No. 3 in GDP per capita behind Qatar, an absolute monarchy with rich gas and oil reserves, and Liechtenstein, which is still ruled by a rich-as-f@#$ European prince.
In addition to its people being affluent, Luxembourg also offers a picturesque landscape. I might actually go to Sunday service if it were in this hillside church:
Anyway, Luxembourg is rich, beautiful and cultured. My next step in applying for Luxembourg citizenship is officially called PHASE 1.
Did I name it myself? No, but it sounds like a stage in the diabolical plan of a genius, so I won’t rename it. According to Article 29, phase 1 requires the following:
You must submit proof that:
– Your ancestor was Luxembourger on the date of 1 Jan 1900 (GOT IT)
– You are a direct descendant of that ancestor (I’M TOTES A DIRECT DESCENDANT)
– Documents to submit to:
The Ministry of Justice (Certificat de nationalité)
19, rue Erasme L-2934
– At this stage … the documents in English will be accepted without translation in French or German. (I NEED TO PUT THESE DOCUMENTS TOGETHER)
The ancestor to which the first item refers is my Great-great-grandma Susanna, or Susan, Eischen née Schmitz, pictured here with her husband, Peter, her son, Albert Francis — which my grandpa mislabeled as “Albert L,” which is actually his own middle initial — and daughter, Katherine Eischen née McBride:
She — dead since 1963 and buried at St. Henry’s in Chicago alongside Peter — was born in Enscherange, Luxembourg.
After several months of research and help from my Great Aunt Mary Lou and proficient-in-French girlfriend, I finally found Susanna’s birth certificate, the document that proves she was born in the Grand Duchy prior to 1900. In addition to the birth certificate, I must also provide her death certificate. According to the law, she must have started pushing daisies after 1900. A close look at her tombstone, as well as several other certificates, shows Susanna kicked the bucket in 1963.
I’ma give that requisite a nice “√.”
“But even though she was born in Luxembourg before 1900 and died after 1900, she lived in the U.S.,” I thought to myself. “Does that mean I’m ineligible?”
Not at all, I found out.
Although she applied for U.S. citizenship and renounced her Luxembourg citizenship, a Powerpoint presentation — given to me by Pamela Schroeder — states that “the fact that a person applied for naturalization in the US is irrelevant to the Luxembourg Ministry of Justice.” To view the entire presentation, click here to view the Powerpoint in a public Google doc I created.
So, now that the hard work of searching for and notarizing my great-great-grandmother’s birth certificate is complete, I must now show my connection, via documents and an organized family tree, to Susanna Eischen, and then I must present preliminary proof, which is then followed by a more in-depth explanation of my connection to Susanna that I bring directly to the Ministry of Justice in Luxembourg.
Most of the following will be a recap of a previous post, but this time I want to include faces to the names I’ve mentioned throughout my posts.
Before I go back into the 19th century, I need to give credit to my Grandpa Eischen, whose interest in family history made possible this hunt for a 140-year-old birth certificate. Before he died in 2006, he compiled several volumes of family history. In his first volume covering 1890 to 1943, he wrote a forward. It says:
This album is comprised of documents and literature of public and family events of the Eischen and Pinnel families since the late 1880s. I have also compiled associated photo albums of family, friends and activities under separate cover.
Notations herein are based upon relationships to me, (Albert Lee Eischen), which hereafter may be abbreviated as “Al E.” Until I was about 20 years old, I was usually called “Albert Lee” or “Albert” much to my chagrin. A symbol “~” preceeding a date indicates approximate because of uncertainty of the date. A lesson to be learned: If a document is worth saving, put names, date, etc. on the document immediately.
This effort is dedicated to my ancestors and all their descendents. Hopefully, succeeding generations will find the contents interesting.
As a member of a succeeding generation, I find it very interesting and even more useful to my citizenship project. His album contains photos, certificates, Hungarian bank transactions, newspaper clippings, his childhood drawings and variety of other documents that in some way record the Eischen family’s history, as well as the story of the Pinnels, my great-grandma Eischen’s family. He also provides commentary on how the times then were better than now. One page features a large photo of Jesus, and on a sticky note on the bottom right-hand side of the pages in his all-caps penmanship, he wrote:
People of this period were more religious than today.
After the forward, the first page of the album contains a group photo taken in Luxembourg with my Great-great-grandpa Peter Eischen siting on the far right.
Peter Eischen’s son, Albert Lee Eischen, or my great-grandfather, is pictured here in his wedding tuxedo:
And this is his wife, Theresa Eischen née Pinnel, in her wedding dress:
In addition to these lovely wedding photos, I found a love note from Albert Francis to Theresa:
Nov. 4 – 1929
No doubt you and all who were present last nite have formed a wonderful opinion of me. There’s no question as to your being justified in doing so because I’m about the most stubborn fool anyone could ever me.
Personally, I was never more embarassed in my life, actually being on the verge of walking out of the room. Altho my embarassment was great, your’s must have been heap’s greater.
As much as I dread to say this, dont you think, that in order to save yourself from the same predicament again, you forget your even met me. No, I would’nt want you to forget me altogether because I think the world of you. As I write this letter, I dont hesitate to say my affection for you is as great, perhaps greater, than ever.
Why, should I be in the way when I’m not capable of giving you the enjoyment you deserve? Please dont misunderstand. I dont mean to say you ever showed any signs to that effect.
I dont believe it necessary to repeat, that I [really] enjoyed such company as yours and if ever I can do any favors for you, I’ll be glad to do so. Trusting you will understand and hold no grievance against me, I remain,
P.S. Not being much of a correspondent, I hope you’ll understand enough to convey the meaning within me.
Please destroy this letter
The photos in the album also highlight how different, and horribly racist, people were. Someone on my Great-grandma Eischen’s side enjoyed acting and theater. This Sue Pinnel, however, was a person of her time, when racism and bigotry were tolerated. I’m not sure her relation to me, and the notes my grandpa left only further the ambiguity. Here she is pictured, in blackface, with others in the production.
The rest of the album is stock full of family history. In upcoming posts, I want to write more about individual members of my family and their stories. Albert Francis Eischen worked as a milkman and was chosen for a series of advertisements at the Bowman Dairy Company. Mike Pinnel, my grandpa’s uncle, served during World War II (and not as a Nazi, THANK GOD!). He manned low-flying balloons called barrage balloons that made attacks from enemy aircraft more difficult. He also spoke German and worked at a POW camp somewhere in the U.S. I’ll save these fascinating family stories for later posts.
In the meantime, I’m going to revisit some childhood memories and play another hour or two of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Äddi, for now!