This year will mark the seventh anniversary of my naturalization at the federal courthouse in Chattanooga. I still get this little rush every time I have an occasion to affirm my nationality–checking off “United States of America” for citizenship on a 4473, for example, or acknowledging verbally that I am an American citizen.
I did it for the first time the day I got back from the courthouse with my naturalization certificate in hand, and went straight to the town clerk’s office to register to vote and apply for a passport. So far, it hasn’t lost its thrill.
I’m not a dual citizen, by the way. According to Germany’s new citizenship rules, you have to file a formal application to keep your German citizenship when you acquire a foreign one. I didn’t have the necessary inheritance or business interests in Germany, and I didn’t want to waste the non-refundable 200-some Euro fee, so I never bothered filing the application. I still have a German passport in a drawer somewhere, but legally speaking, it’s no longer valid. If I want to visit the country of my birth for more than three months, I have to get a visa, which is kind of a weird feeling.
(The post title isn’t actually accurate–I’ve been living among the Injuns for fifteen years now. I learned their tongue, and showed great prowess in the buffalo hunt, so they made me a full member of the tribe seven years ago.)