I’m in the middle of applying to get my Danish citizenship back. It’s an interesting process, not just because of the bureaucracy that is evident and shared across the world when you deal with government bodies, but also in the surprising emotions and feelings it has stirred up.
I have been an Australian citizen now for almost 30 years. After 8 years in this country and after the birth of my first born I felt a strong need to commit to Australia and to my new life here. I was married to an Australian and knew this was where my life would be from then on.
I spoke to my father about the need to fully become an Australian and to the fact that I would have to give up my Danish citizenship as Denmark would not allow dual citizenship. I remember being nervous sitting down with dad as I was worried he would be hurt. But in true dad’s form, he was really positive and supportive and totally understood my love for the country. Having just spent 6 months with us here, he himself loved the Australian life but felt he was too old to change his way of living and also had his family and my sister and brother back in Denmark.
I was so happy my dad approved, but part of me was still sad to have to give up being a Dane. But the need to become an Australian was stronger and I applied and was accepted through a ceremony at the local council chambers. It was a special day though I can’t remember much about whether we celebrated. We were new parents and life was busy.
It’s now almost 30 years later and I am in a totally different phase of life. I’ll be 60 next year and no longer busy with family. My 2 girls are grown up, my husband and I divorced and I am living by myself. I find I value and look at life in a different way to when I was a young 20 something. Of course, I’m sure everyone would. We grow and mature throughout life. Hopefully, we become wiser.
In the last few years, I have been able to have a number of visits to my family in Denmark. The first time I went back was after a break of 16 years. I never thought I would leave it that long. I often read stories when I first arrived in Australia, of families reuniting after 15-20 years and remember thinking how on earth could anyone not go back to their family for that long. But there I was in the same boat. 16 years! I had simply been busy raising my family and there was just never enough money for all of us to go. I couldn’t just go on my own and leave my young girls here, so I just never went.
When I finally did it was such an emotional experience and I was astounded at how close and how my siblings and I just connected as if we had never been apart. It was the most beautiful time and I felt truly loved. Something I really needed at that time.
I have had 2 more visits since and each time I have grown fonder of my country of birth. I have seen things and felt emotions that I never felt when I lived there as a young child and teenager. I have appreciated the beauty of the country, in spite of the dismal weather sometimes, and I have felt a strong connection with the people. I have felt emotions just watching my surroundings brought on by distant memories. Sometimes I haven’t even been able to articulate or recall any memory, but something has brought on an emotion. One day while driving in a car along a road flanked by beautiful soft looking beech trees I had this incredible feeling of happiness.
I don’t know why, but believe so many memories are stored in us from our childhood and brought on by triggers. It made me realize just how much is in me that is still Danish after all these years. As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the country, but you cannot take the country out of the girl.
So finally after all these years, Denmark is allowing dual citizenship and I have started the process to regain mine. I have just sent off my second set of papers. I am excited about becoming a Dane again. Not only does it give me options, should I want to stay there longer than the usual 3 months, but it also paves the way for my girls to apply. They are equally excited and we are now all waiting for my application to go through the process.
I still love Australia, but I so hope my country of birth will accept me back. I will then fully be an Aussie Viking Downunder.