An American Wanting to be in Luxembourg

Every time I find myself at a loss for conversation, I bring up my project to obtain Luxembourg dual-citizenship. When I tell people I’m becoming a Luxembourger, some people’s ears perk and their focus is directed toward every word that pours out of my mouth.

Other times, people cock their heads to the side as if they were dogs whose owners were trying to explain the economic function of the International Monetary Fund.

I don’t care who Christine Lagarde is … GIVE ME BACON.

These folks’ reactions are not rooted in stupidity or ignorance. Did I know about Luxembourg before I started this project? I barely knew a thing about the country before I started pursuing this project. I began learning more about the Grand Duchy when I started reading The Economist and talked to my Aunt Mary Lou about Eischen heritage.

Instead, I think people are curious about my motives.

Q: “Why would you leave the U.S.?”

A: “… wait, what??”

I would never leave the U.S. permanently. Would I work in another country? Of course, but only temporarily, unless I were in a permanent position working for the U.S. in a diplomatic or political post.

I would also never renounce my U.S. citizenship. Whenever I write “Luxembourg citizenship,” I make sure to stick the word “dual” in front of it. I would never renounce my American citizenship.

People might believe I hate the U.S. because I’m applying for dual-citizenship in Luxembourg. That is not the case at all. Do I believe the country can strive for the “more perfect union” about which President Barack Obama spoke on the 2008 campaign trail? Hell, yes. But I would never renounce my citizenship. Although I will never own a pickup truck with an American flag bumper stickrt, admit that apple is my favorite flavor of pie (Key Lime and Banana Cream Pie far superior) or sport an American-flag T-shirt with the sleeves cut off — putting Old Glory on clothing is against flag code etiquette, by the way — I am extremely pro-American.

But I’m also pro-globalization, and I believe that the more we share, the better we can strengthen relations, democracies and economies. Whether one is looking at economics or diplomacy, isolationism never works. I want to branch out and connect with another part of the world. In the process, I can understand the place from which my ancestors hailed. I mean, the Eischen family stubbornness must be explained somehow, right?

Luxembourg’s national motto: Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sin or We want to remain what we are.

Ah, so that’s why the members of my family can be unyielding, if not absolutely difficult, with their beliefs and opinions.

Going back to my first post, I mentioned some of the reasons why I wanted to do this. I think I’m going to rewrite them, but with better clarification as to my overall intentions.

  1. To see Europe — It’s a life goal that I know I can achieve myriad times. Applying for Luxembourg dual-citizenship provides me the excuse and motivation to plan my first trip. I want to educate myself about other cultures and peoples, and traveling is one of the best ways to do this.
  2. To learn about my family — I’ve already learned so much about my family’s history. Sifting through old photo albums, I’ve learned about how the members of my family and their respective generations lived.
  3. To have something to talk about — It’s not every day you meet someone who is applying for dual-citizenship in Luxembourg.
  4. To write — The time period directly after college can be anxiety-inducing, and if you’re one of the 50 percent of colleges graduates who, like me, didn’t have a job set up for the day after graduation, then most likely you’ve fretted, thrown plates at walls in an angry stupor and then realized you didn’t have the job to make the money to pay for replacement plates. But anxiety only kills you. As Neil Gaiman said in his keynote address to the University of Arts:

Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.

I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.

As an American, I know what Americans fear most: inconvenience. I fear it, too. I don’t want obstacles impeding my goals or making cracks in my dreams. We want it all right away, but in a changing world that is changing quicker than it ever did for our parents’ or grandparents’ generations, we can’t have it all right away. Nor should we want it all right away. If we had it all, we’d be bored out of our minds. I’d rather grow through trials and tribulations, and even suffer in the process, than be bored with the simultaneous completion of all my goals.

If I got my citizenship right away, if I got my dream job right away, if I did everything I’ve ever wanted to do all at once, I’d have nothing left to do. Out of boredom and the fact that I would never do anything exciting ever again, I would jump off a bridge, walk in front of a fast-moving bus. request that an ex-KGB agent snipe me or leap into a woodchipper.

Although it’s not anything made from the likes of Monet or Rembrandt, this blog and anything associated with my project is how I will make art for now. It is an enjoyable, satisfying distraction from the grind of finding a job and the utter crap people say about how one should live his or her life.

“Why would you do this?”

“Why would you want this low-paying job?”

“Why do you believe this?”

“Do you think that’s really going to work?”

At my age, it’s rare not be bombarded by these questions from relatives or “friends” or neighbors. It’s frustrating, especially when defeat seems imminent. Pessimism metastasizes when we cannot handle failure, and these negative feelings sometimes overwhelm us to a point that we submit to defeat and easily give up on our dreams.

But when such feelings begin to permeate our minds, we must remember the Dowager Countess.

Maybe not that quote, but these:

And …

I like ridiculousness. And the more I focus on this unusual project and the other things I desire from life, the more ridiculous experiences I accumulate in my life story. I’m applying for Luxembourg dual-citizenship not because I hate the U.S. or want to leave it. I’m applying because I know that the pursuit, not so much the end goal, will educate, enlighten, entertain and enliven me. It’s also something completely different.

For the time being, I’m going to do some homework for my eventual trip to the Cook County Records office. I’m a bit confused about what I need to do exactly for my next step in the application process, but I know for certain that I need to gather official copies of my relatives’ birth, marriage and death certificates. I’m worried the Cook County bureaucracy will slow down the speed at which progress on this project has quickly unfolded as of late, but I wouldn’t be an Illinoisan if I didn’t deal with the awful bureaucracies and bloated government agencies that plague the Land of Lincoln.



2 thoughts on “An American Wanting to be in Luxembourg

  1. Hey! Me too. My dad’s great-great-great-great grandmother and grandfather were from Luxembourg and as of January 1, 1900 she still held Luxembourgish citizenship. I’m going to Luxembourg at the end of August (after almost a year of document gathering, translation, sending, receiving, list-checking, double-checking, etc.) to formally submit my final documents and application. I’m not sure if you can see my email, but if so let me know how your search is going and if you may want any help or insight on finding records for your ancestors.

    • Ryan,

      I’m glad someone else out there is going through the process! My search is going fine thus far. I’m in the process of ordering copies of all the certificates in the U.S. that I need to show the ancestral connection between me and my great-great-grandparents in Luxembourg. I’ve acquired everything I need in terms of vital records from Luxembourg (at least I think so). If I have any questions, I will definitely send them along to you.

      Actually, come to think of it, I can ask you a couple questions right now: Where did you find a translator, and how much did it cost to translate all those documents?

      Thanks, and I hope to chat with you soon.


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