On Dual Citizenship

The other day I met up with some friends from out of town. They were in Rome for the day to get their two-month-old daughter’s citizenship papers at the American Embassy. Rob is American and Anna is Italian. They met in Nepal, where they were both stationed while working for various transnational employers. They married in Italy, and their daughter Clara was born in Perugia. In a few weeks she will be returning to Nepal, where she will spend the first few years of her life.

“She’s lucky,” I posited. “Being born with dual citizenship will make life easier for her.” They both smiled.

Anna explained that Rob would be eligible for Italian citizenship even if he never actually lives in Italy. She, on the other hand, would have to spend three years in the United States before being able to apply for U.S. citizenship.

“Go for it,” I told Rob.

“Think it’s worth it?” he asked.

Worth it? “Maybe not for Italy, but for the rest of Europe it is.” I couldn’t believe the words had come out of my mouth. Read more…

Is Santa Claus Really the Pope All Dressed Up in Red?

Madeleine Johnson, my colleague at The American, has a brilliant satire on the Italian citizenship quiz. Of course, I challenge anyone to guess whether she made this up or not. That’s what’s brilliant–it just might be true.

— Which of the following is known to cause cancer among Italians?

•a. Drafts;

•b. Indigestion;

•c. Not wearing a woolen undershirt;

•d. Smoking.


— Padre Pio is:

•a. The center of a lucrative cult that aims to defraud and delude the credulous;

•b. The priest who administered the last rites to Elvis Presley;

•c. A saint whose good works and popularity has attracted envy and hostility from the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy;

•d. The patron saint of taxi drivers.