I got a very important phone call last week...one that will literally change me, my life, and the person the world sees me as. Yes, it was the call I have been waiting for: from the consulate, welcoming me to my naturalisation ceremony. I am going to become a Dutch citizen. I have fulfilled all the obligations leading to this moment in the past 7 years...and my final step to complete in becoming a Dutch citizen arrives on Thursday when I will head to Antwerpen for the final installation...and then have every right that a true Nederlander has, including carrying a Nederlandse passport and the right to live and work at my own will in any of the European Union lands. I have this mixed up feeling running through my veins. I am completely thrilled that I will be accepted as a Dutch person, and be a true citizen of the land my heart has called home for these past years of my life. Holland is a place I have come to love and treasure, and even since we have moved to Belgium, Holland is my true European love...every time we head to the border, I truly feel as if I am home. There is so much to love about the tiny, clean, historical,flat, crowded land I first called home in 2000. But there's another side of me that feels a bit funny, in the sense of 'who am I?' When asked my citizenship, will I answer "Dutch", my adopted nationality, or "American", the born and bred blood flowing through my veins? I have patriotism to my homeland, and it feels just a teeny-tiny bit like I am cheating just a smidge. How can any one person be two, both from the inside, and on paper? It's a bit of euphoria...but also confusion.
I have been trying to find online examples of naturalisation ceremonies so I know what to expect. But I can't find much of anything, and that makes this final step a bit scary. It's a relatively new concept, but one I am required to complete. And I'm sure it will be just fine. And come Thursday, it will be me proudly wearing that Dutch-American t-shirt I purchased at Ellis Island a few years back, with the Dutch and American flags intertwined, and a pride and love of two countries which I can officially call mine. So watch out world, it's going to be the new me...the Dutch-American girl walking these European streets!