I acquired French citizenship! Ha ha. Je suis française. In fact, I’ve been French for two months now and didn’t even know it. Two days ago I found the belated letter in my mailbox –
What was my reaction as I stood in the lobby of my apartment building, letter in hand? Surprising calm. I’ve lived here for such a long time, have worked 95 per cent of that time, and forked out A LOT in taxes …so I have paid my dues. But it was a funny feeling all the same.
“Je suis française,” I said out loud as I pushed open the lobby door and headed off to work, a spring in my step. I’ve never uttered those words before.
I told my boss and some of my colleagues. Everyone congratulated me, it was a novel experience.
“So, now you have dual nationality!” exclaimed a colleague.
“Well, triple, actually,” I replied. (Canadian, British and now French.)
I’ve decided not to be critical of the French anymore because (a) I’m one of them now, and (b) I feel privileged and, well, grateful. Thank you, France. Merci.
If my parents were alive, I think they’d be astonished and then tickled pink.
This all started because of BREXIT and that dreadful man, Boris Johnson. It was terrible. British nationals suddenly found themselves stripped of their European citizenship. It was a rude jolt. Imagine being European your whole life – or for decades, as was my case – and then waking up one morning to find that you’re no longer European. What’s worse is that we British nationals living outside of the U.K. were denied the right to vote. I don’t find that very democratic.
I had to get that status back, which is why I applied for French citizenship. The process was arduous, costly and took two years from beginning to end. But totally worth it.
Here’s the post I wrote in September 2019, weeks before my interview at the Préfecture de Police to obtain French citizenship. It’s about the beauty (and necessity) of being bilingual.