January 16th, 2012

empty calendar


For some people, a to-do list gets the job done: just seeing their projects or errands laid out in black and white is enough to get them buzzing. But for other things, the ones that sit and percolate in the back of your mind, but never seem to get bumped to the top of the priority list, it might take something a bit more drastic.

One way to get motivated when you have things to get done is to set yourself a deadline. Another way is to dare yourself...or better yet, have someone else dare you. People procrastinate for all sorts of reasons: laziness, fatigue, lack of time, fear, frugality, forgetfulness.

I've been eligible to become a Swedish citizen since July 2001. 10 years ago! I've been meaning to do it since it passed into law, but never seem to get around to it. The requirements are pretty simple. To become a Swedish citizen, you must:
  • be able to prove your identity
  • be 18 or older
  • have a permanent residence permit
  • have lived in Sweden for a specified time period (in my case, 3 years, because I'm married to and living with a Swede)
  • have conducted yourself well in Sweden
Oh, and pay 1500 kronor.

I have a US passport as well as a Swedish driver's license. I am over 18 (assuming 29 for the 13th time counts). I've had a permanent residence permit since before we moved to Sweden, though the proof of it (a sticker in my passport) actually expired 2 years ago. I've lived in Sweden for 15 years. And I have no debts and have committed no crimes during those 15 years.

What does Swedish citizenship get me? It doesn't seem like much at first glance. I'll be able to vote in the national elections, instead of just the local ones. But I can barely keep up with the 2-party system in the U.S.; Sweden has SEVEN major political parties. And I'll have a ABSOLUTE RIGHT to stay in Sweden; to live and work here. No one can kick me out (not that anyone would, but still).

There are other, less tangible, benefits: if the case came up, it would be easier to move around to live and work elsewhere in the EU. I would be able to travel using a Swedish passport, to places where I might not be able to go as a US citizen (Cuba, for example), or places where my US citizenship might not be...a plus. (This point is admittedly mostly theoretical, since I have little desire to travel to most of any such places anyway). If I WAS traveling and something should happen, I could not be separated from my husband and/or family because of my citizenship and the fact that I might not be allowed help at a different embassy than one or more of them.

Whenever anyone has asked me why I haven't gotten my Swedish citizenship yet, I usually answer, jokingly, that I keep finding more important things to spend that 1500 kronor on.

But I think it's time. Past time, really. I live here, I work here, I contribute to society and pay taxes here. I speak Swedish, and am raising half-Swedish children. Since they make it so easy, really, and simple, why shouldn't I? I don't have to give up my American citizenship (though with the recent tax and banking laws, it's becoming more of a question for many of us expats). Isn't having more than one citizenship really a way of starting the process of becoming a citizen of the world? Who knows, maybe someday, we'll be able to say we're citizens of EARTH, and not have to deal with nationalities anymore.

The Squam Art Workshops blog posted a challenge recently: the Double Dog Dare and I thought, heck, why not? Most of the people who commented on the dare were looking for ways to kickstart their creativity or plan to attend SAW itself, or make lifestyle changes like losing weight or whatever. But I figured, maybe this particular to-do is something I need to be dared to do, since I haven't managed to get it done for 10 years, though I've had it in the back of my mind that entire time.

So, I've taken the Double Dog Dare to become a Swedish citizen this year.

I've already sent an email to the Swedish Migration Board to find out about getting my permanent residence card (which replaces the expired sticker in my passport), and downloaded and completed the application form. As soon as I hear back from them, I plan on sending it in. If I get this DDD done in a short time, why, there's no knowing what I might dare myself to do next!

Do you have something YOU need help getting going on? Why not head over to the Squam Blog and get a Double Dog Dare yourself?
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