by guest author Katie Kruse
On a sunny morning in May, a day so wholly unexceptional that I expected nothing more than the customary rising and setting of the sun with the filler that is life in between, a letter dropped into my mailbox. It was no bigger or smaller than your average letter, the little window was neither shiny, nor dull, nor did it instill any particular hope that this letter should be different to any other letter I have received since living in Germany. I did not know at this point just how special this letter was.
Only the stamp in the top right corner caught my eye, the stamp of my district’s administration in Steglitz/Zehlendorf, indicating something of an official nature. Given that I had received numerous such letters over recent weeks, all pertaining to the upcoming European elections, I did not bat an eye. No, this was not an exceptional letter. Only…..well, 8 months prior to receiving this seemingly unremarkable letter, I submitted my citizenship application. Indeed, 5 months prior to this otherwise uneventful morning, I had posted the pass certificate pertaining to the dreaded citizenship test (Einbürgerungstest).
Could this letter be the letter?
Key details started to hit me. Surely, if this letter had something to do with the European elections, then it follows that there should be a second letter for my husband? There was no such second letter.
Quickly, I brought the letter inside. I briefly considered looking for a letter opener, as official things deserve to be treated with a bit of pomp and ceremony. As Sod’s law would have it, a letter opener could not be located, so my bare hands would have to suffice. I carefully opened the envelope, not wanting to risk tearing whatever lie within. I pulled out the twice-folded A4 sheet and spread it out methodically.
For a full five minutes I stared, gobsmacked, my eyes drawn only to the unrevealing yet poignant word marked in bold, Einbürgerungsverfahren, along with the date and time of my appointment. My eyes failed me at this crucial point in time – I was reading words yet, in my excitement, understanding nothing. But, dear reader, let it be known that 8 months after sending off my initial application, 5 months after adding the final puzzle piece, the Einbürgerungstest certificate, to my hopeful claim, the prophesied letter had arrived, and I was holding it in my hands. I would henceforth be a dual citizen of Great Britain and the Federal Republic of Germany.