The Dual-Citizenship Project: An Update
I haven’t written anything for this blog in a long time, even though many people from across the newfangled Internets have stumbled upon this site and have left many comments that, unfortunately, I don’t have time to read. To be honest, I’ve been putting this project on hold. Every time I claim to restart the damn thing, I inevitably shove it onto the back burner and resume status as a citizen of only one nation, however great that nation might be. I won’t continue to make anymore false promises, but I think I can finally allot time to this project, whether it means writing records requests, organizing my application or, most importantly, learning one of the languages used in Luxembourg.
Yes, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must learn a language. Or two.
I’m obviously not an expert at this applying-for-citizenship thing. I’m unilingual, as you already know, so whenever I look at a document in German or French that explains dual-citizenship, I’m using Google translator to understand the text. Awful? Yes. Ignorant? Most definitely.
I suppose I could keep clumsily tripping until I finally reach the end goal of dual-citizenship, but it wouldn’t feel right. I’ve already shamelessly exploited my girlfriend for translation services, which she claims is a fun project for her. But she’s from Iowa, and I’m worried I won’t wake up one morning because she’s shoved an ear of corn down my throat for asking her to translate too many things the night before.
I have no knowledge of French. I can say “hello,” “goodnight,” “my name is Trevor” and “I am aroused.” As for my German, my understanding of the language gets foggier every day, and when people ask me what a word means, I roll my eyes, and, in my head, shout “oh, brother!”
I can confidently, and angrily, say I want a Coca Cola in German, but I can’t engage in conversation the way I’d like to auf Deutsch. One’s affinity to a culture doesn’t necessarily denote his fluency in that culture’s language. However, I think it’s time for me to stop being stupid, or at least stop being as stupid as I’ve been, about languages. I need to become more proficient in German and start learning French.
Sure, you don’t see a bunch of Frenchmen and Teutonic kights running about these United States. But now that I’m in an international city, I hear other languages — my favorite language being Crazy-Old-Man-Yelling-At-Pigeon — spoken sometimes more often than my own.
Oh, but no one speaks German and French in the U.S. Well, you might be right about German, but French is another story. When I went out to Bethesda to see a movie with a friend, himself fluent in French, I thought we took the wrong Metrorail that ended up on a track to France. Seemingly everyone on the train and in Bethesda were conversing in French.
“Merde,” I thought, thinking I was all cool for knowing how to say “shit” in French. “I wish I could speak French.”
So why I should I learn French? My girlfriend speaks French. Some of my best friends speak French. The country in which I’m applying for dual-citizenship uses French, in addition to Luxembourgish and German. There are jobs for both French and German speakers to which I would like to apply. And apparently Maryland, just a few miles away from my DC home, has a French constituency milling about.
The year is almost done, so I can make this a New Year’s resolution. I actually have two resolutions in mind. First, I will start learning more languages. Second, after fooling people into thinking I’ve been to Europe, I will pull a Liz Lemon and finally go to there.