Monday, April 22, 2013

S ~ So Are You a Swede or an American?


These are the continuing adventures of a Swedish immigrant during her first year as an American. She boldly went where she'd never gone before...please come along on Adventures in America.

Side Note: The answer to my R post's anachronism question is that those pictures aren't from 1974! (Um, the year I've been writing about.) I'm not in a body cast, DataBoy is at least 4 or 5...Yes, they were bad pictures with shadows from my horrid photography skills and have extra pictures in the shot because they're from a Creative Memories album, but that wasn't what I was looking for. Now back to S.
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So what citizenship do you have? Are you Swedish or American? When do you have to decide by? Um, I don't actually know. I'm a Swede because I was born there, and I'm an American because my parents registered me as “birth of American citizen abroad.” When it was time for my social security card, I got one no problem. I've always marked “US Citizen” on forms and no one has stopped me. I have a US passport.

What I do think is the truth (heard it rumored as kind-hearted people have asked me these questions and then TOLD me the answer) is that I have dual citizenship as far as Sweden is concerned, but that once I got my American passport, I officially chose America, who no longer recognizes the Swedish part of me. Makes the Swedes sound open-minded and accommodating, doesn't it?  (The Swede confirmed this info as accurate as far as he knew.)

I could of course find out the correct answer by consulting an immigration lawyer, but it doesn't matter that much to me.  I feel like I'm an American with a rich, Swedish heritage.  When I visit there, people look surprised to hear Swedish come out of my mouth.  I guess I dress like an American.  

One particular incident cracked me up because I was asking for directions (for the 4th on the same trip, with 6 month old Tranporter on my way to my cousin's house in a town about two hours away) and the guy said, "Where are you from???"  I guess someone so hopelessly lost and who didn't know ANY of the landmarks or roads or ramps or frontage roads he was referring to must be some alien.  And I was.

My last trip to Sweden was that one in 1997.  The Transporter got to meet Farmor.  She died before I knew I was pregnant with OYT.  Though Farmor and Farfar are both gone, the legacy they left me with carries on.  I teach my boys our Swedish heritage, and we celebrate holidays two ways.  I think they're proud to be part Swedish.  

20 comments:

Jocelyn Rish said...

That is so cool that you have such a close tie with your heritage. My family is from Germany, but they arrived here before the US was the US, so I don't have that cultural heritage.

Happy A to Z-ing,
Jocelyn

Alternative Foodie said...

Very close to heart of a subject, Tina. My son happily says he is a mutt, half American half Malaysian - and adopt both cultures as his. And I think it is just fine.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

I think celebrating your heritage is great and I think my primary affiliation would be to where I live ...but then who knows.

Pauleen at Tropical Territory
A to Z 2013

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We all have a heritage, but for many of us, it's mixed to the point we wouldn't know what other country to claim. I think it's cool you are a hundred percent Swedish born.

JoJo said...

I wish I had such a connection to my heritage but once my family came from Italy in 1911, they Americanized so fast it would make your head spin. My grandmother refused to teach me Italian. In fact, I never even cooked with real garlic till I was an adult. I turned my nose up at garlic bread made with garlic b/c my family made it with garlic powder.

Andrew Leon said...

My wife is Swedish. She actually mentions it way more than I ever mention anything about my heritage. I'm wondering, now, if there is some kind of "Swedish pride" gene.

Laeli said...

We celebrate both ways in our house too. It's been 3 generations since Anna came to Canada and met Eric but the roots are strong and proud.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My grandfather came from Denmark, so I'm a quarter Dane. (My husband teases me that I'm a Great Dane.) Outside of reading the book Little Gretta of Denmark, I don't know anything about the country though.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Heritage is important.

Maggie Winter said...

It's good to keep up your heritage, well done.
#atozchallenge
maggie at expat brazil

J. Kwiatkowski-Schuler said...

I like that you are so connected to your ancestral home and identity. I was just thinking this morning how we used to segregate ourselves by ethnicity, and only consorted with our "own kind" but by the time I started dating I found it laughable that my grandmother would approve of my boyfriend because he was "our kind" (Polish! And I'm only half-Polish, so he was more her kind than I was!). Today we celebrate our heritage out in the open. I go to every ethnic heritage festival I can, and I think they all have the best food.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm happy you confirmed you're carrying on Swedish traditions with your family. Based on your posts, I figured you were, but it's nice to hear it.

DayDreamer said...

I'm half British and half Italian, when it comes to filling out forms I always tick the European option, especially for my girls who are also part German. I like that the world is becoming more of a melting pot. But it's good to celebrate our cultures, too.

Ida Chiavaro said...

I was born of one culture into another, and I like to celebrate both - now I live in a completely different culture - even more reasons to celebrate

Imogen Elvis said...

That would be an interesting problem. My dad has the same sort of thing. He's English, but he lives in Australia. He gets round it by belonging to whichever country sounds good at the time. Great for when Australia and England are playing sport against each other.

klahanie said...

Human Tina,

I think it's basically that you feel proud of your Swedish heritage and equally proud of being American.

My human likes to think of himself as a citizen of the earth. Having said that he's English, or British and yet, he thinks of Canada as his home away from home.

Be well, my human friend.

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)

DL Hammons said...

I was born in Hawaii before it became a state, but in a Naval hospital to a parents who were both in the military. Technically, you could say I wasn't born in the US. :)

Amy "Lyre" Turner said...

I think you nailed the importat part - you honor your heritage. It's so cool that you are passing that love on to your kids.

Lyre @ Lyre's Musings #atozchallenge

Rachel said...

I bed it would have been funny to see. The looks on their faces must have been priceless.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I can imagine the boys will so appreciate their dual heritage and have a fabulous time back in Sweden exploring and understand their roots ...

It's sad that the next generation often don't get to meet their future offspring in the genealogy table ... at least now we can go back and find out so much ..

Love reading your story and the understanding you acquire through the change of country .. cheers Hilary