As you know, for now, Emilia has got two nationalities and citizenship, British and American. At some point I will find the courage to face Italian bureaucracy and apply for her Italian nationality/citizenship as well. But that will be another chapter of her life and therefore another blog post. As for Rob, you know he is American; however, a few years ago he established permanent residence in this Country and from then he was entitled not only to stay in the UK indefinitely but also to apply for full British citizenship. For the permanent residence he had to pass a test on British history and civilization, for the nationality/citizenship he had to pay a lot of money! But it was worth it and it will help him out in many things and in so many ways. Also, after living in the UK for ten years we are all a bit British in our hearts and we are so very proud of it! There are so many things I like and admire about the Brits and I have learned so much from them during my stay in this Country. And when you are a foreigner living abroad you can really pick and choose what you like most about the locals' habits and make them your own, in your own, personalised way. I like to think that we are a nice mixture of what is best about Italians, Americans, and British people.
So, a couple of days ago, Rob officialised his new status attending a formal ceremony and I went along. Neither of us expected too much but I have to admit, we were both pleasantly surprised and were very happy to have attended. First of all, the ceremony was held at the same place where Rob and I had our civil ceremony over two years ago; so that alone was a good reason to go. It was emotional to go back there and lots of memories, good memories of the day came to surface while we were waiting. About thirty people were there to receive their official certificate and almost all of them had at least one member of the family or friend with them showing their support. While we waited, we were served a nice cup of tea with biscuits while The Beatles' greatest hits were playing along. Now, that was a nice touch! What's more British than tea and the amazing Beatles? I really enjoyed it. And then, once our bellies and souls were full, we were invited into the main room where the magic happened. The ones receiving the certificate were seated in alphabetical order on one side of the room and friends and family on the other. The registrar was very nice and kept us entertained for about an hour or so. In true British style, of course.
The ceremony was essentially divided into two parts. After a rather long, but lively, speech from the registrar, there were the oath first and then the national anthem. Each individual one said their names loud and then they all promised loyalty to the Country and to obey to Her Majesty the Queen! Sounds cool, right?
In the second part, each person was invited to step forward to have a picture taken with the Queen (well, a portrait of) and the official certificate. Friends and family could join in, and of course I did! It was very nice and something different for us to do. When you are born in a Country from both parents from that same Country, you automatically receive that nationality so you don't have to attend such a ceremony. It was definitely something to do, I really enjoyed it.
After the ceremony it would have been nice to have a British celebratory lunch but sadly both Rob and I had to rush to our offices. So no fish and chips and a pint of ale for us! However, we left with a full sense of joy and achievement. By living in a new Country we have already gained something new and special. I believe that by getting another nationality and citizenship Rob has enriched his persona. Forget the advantages and practical reasons why one might want to go ahead and do this. It is also an honour to be fully and officially accepted by another Country as one of their people. One of the many things I love about Great Britain, and London in particular, is its diversity and the ability that the Country has shown in integrating so many different ethnicities making us all feel at home. I am not *properly* British, at least not yet, but I am proud of my husband and baby to be British and maybe one day I will officialise my stay here as well, at the very least to end all the jokes about me being the minority, and different, in my own house and with my own family! :)