Tree and the city in background, Olympiaberg

A piece of home

So my cousin Nancy asked me to write some more notes, which is very sweet of her.

But then I started asking myself, “What should I write about?” Just like in other people’s lives, there are a million things going on, and yet at the same time, there’s not much going on.

My life these days has been full of wedding-related matters. Pick a location. After nine months of looking, check. Find additional accommodation. Check. Apply for a marriage license. Not quite check, more like check my blood pressure level before vessels burst. I won’t go into all the boring details but suffice it to say there will be plenty of hoop jumping before I can tick ‘check’ next to that point.

Which brings me to the thought – the question that many have asked before – why don’t I get a German passport? It will make things so much easier, people say. I won’t need to get a visa to visit the UK, I won’t need to get a visa to enter most territories in the world. Among other things. And face it, living in Germany, it would just be easier to be German.

A part of me is extremely German. I like punctuality and cleanliness and neatness, and I’m beginning to want to tell people off who walk down the bike path. It’s the bike path, dang it and I have the right be on it! It’s a passive aggressive streak that I no doubt had before, but became a bit more developed since living here.

But this is not a dis on the German culture or way of life, because after over a decade of residency here, I really do start to consider Munich as a home. It’s more about the fact, that well, I feel as German as I feel American as I feel Indonesian. So it’s not about not wanting a German passport, it’s more about wanting an international one. Why can’t there be a passport for people who choose to consider the world as their home? Which, I’m willing to bet, is not an inconsiderable number of people. I know there are all the practical considerations of birth, taxes, death, laws and jurisdiction, but wouldn’t it be nice to really be a global citizen?

The bearer of this passport belongs to mother earth. Mother earth requests that passage be granted to all polars and continents, valleys and mountain tops. Then I can visit the refuge home of the Dalai Lama, go to a safari, walk along the themes, all without going through any bureaucracy.

As idealistic as that may sound, I think the real reason I don’t want to trade my Indonesian passport in yet is because I already have such tenuous connections to Indonesia as it is – having not lived there for the last 27 years, now more than two thirds of my life. I can’t speak the language as well as I can German. I go ‘home’ about once a year and I keep in touch with a small group of Indonesian expats. But that’s about it. Unless I’m attending an IndonesiaMuenchen event or some birthday party, or cook something myself, I hardly eat Indonesian food anymore. There is one restaurant in Munich and I’ve flown more times to Jakarta than I’ve visited it since I’ve lived here.

So to give up my passport, the one official thing that connects me to my roots, seems like a bit much. I’m not ready yet. It’s the tie to my family, to my mother and two sisters, and to my dad, even if he’s passed away. We might live in different continents, and we might not have the same family name, but we all have the same nationality.

I realize it’s a contradiction. On the one hand, I would welcome an international passport with open arms, on the other hand, I need the Indonesian one to remind me of where I came from.

So well, that’s what’s been going on in this corner of the world. There will be a lot of phone calls, rupiahs and euros yet until the German authorities will be satisfied with all the paperwork and grant us our marriage license. I think that until both the German and Indonesian governments allow dual nationalities, for the rest of my life, whatever official thing i need to do, i can expect more of the same red tape from both sides of the fence.

And that’s okay. I’m willing to make Germany my home and take advantage of all that it offers, but i will also hang on to that Indonesian passport for dear life, even with all its disadvantages. Cause after all, that’s a piece of home too.

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