november 5th, 2016

In four years i will be eligible to become a dual citizen of Romania and the US.

i have been warned that this process makes the US green card process look easy. The US green card process took us six months, consultation with a lawyer, hours of filling out forms, a stack of paperwork literally an inch high, a doctor's appointment for Vlad, and an interview at the immigration office. And tears. O yah i shed some tears. i'm man enough to admit it.

i have been warned that this process is unpredictable and idiosyncratic. Like, we might get everything in order and then have to start all over because, say, i don't have a receipt from the national bank or something that no one told us we'd need to have.

i have been warned that this process takes a long time. i found a Bucharest lawyer's website that says it takes at least a year when it goes smoothly. i also found a blog of a lady with a Romanian mother who's been trying to get Romanian citizenship for twelve years. Another dude spent six years trying to get his citizenship card.

So i expect this process to be rough. i expect to feel gaslighted by an entire government.

then why would i want to do this thing, this stressful impossible thing  Wellllll it would be fun and convenient to have EU travel and visa privileges. Assuming my interest continues apace, in 2020 i will have been learning Romanian for eight years. That will be more than a quarter of my life. i think it'll be worth taking those language skills out for a spin!

This is my family now. The Dacians whose flag was a wolf carcass on a pole, who drank and laughed at the Roman army stuck on the wrong side of the Danube. Then stopped laughing when the Romans built a bridge and liberated the Dacians from their freedom. The expatriates in Paris who invented Dada. The survivors of the darkest parts of Ceaușescu's regime. This is my family history.

It also [Elle Woods voice] sounds like a challenge, and i like a challenge. Especially when it involves studying for tests. So far i've gathered that the tests include:

  1. knowing the national anthem
  2. a test on the Constitution
  3. a test on Romanian culture (?)

Some things we have going for us:

i have only ever had one name  Same for Vlad. That means that all of our paperwork shows the same name. The names we were born with, the names we had at marriage, the names we will have when and if we become parents: same names, no discrepancies. This is good, because each name geometrically increases the amount of paperwork.

Vlad's paperwork is up to date post‑Communism  Very helpful. Lots of Romanian government paperwork was lost in the '90s. Other paperwork, like the CNP number, you basically had to be living in Romania in the '90s or born there afterward to get.

i can already read Romanian about as well as a third grader according to Vlad. Maybe by 2020 i will also understand as well as a third grader.

i'm starting now  In this case “starting” just means learning the anthem, building fluency, and staying organized. Which can't hurt :)

strength through naivete  i don't know enough to be pessimistic, which may lead to successfully braving a situation i might otherwise reasonably avoid.