An Alien in America

An alien's perspective on life and everything else

Archive for the ‘Ausgewandert’ Category

Immigration into the US – Citizenship

Posted by nickxyz on May 1, 2014

Always a topic at the top of the list for every permanent resident and visa holder in this country.

Is it a good idea, is it feasible, does it make sense for me, and how to best go about it? The answers to any of those questions are both subjective and very personal. Philosophically, assimilation and integration into a chosen culture would and should culminate in citizenship. Not only does it mean a person chooses to maintain his or her center of life in the country, participate in daily life and contribute to society and local communities, such a decision also has a very real implication on one’s own understanding of heritage and roots.

Allow me to elaborate; adopting citizenship usually means giving up (voluntarily by decision) or invariably losing (involuntarily forced) one’s birth citizenship. That’s a very hard decision and realization to arrive at, personally. It is more than just changing the color of one’s passport, being able to participate in official elections somewhere else; citizenship in all its meaning is a very integral part of one’s being, it is very emotional and deeply rooted in one’s understanding of the world.

Aside from the “just do it” mentality of administratively embarking on this process, I have personally struggled with this decision for quite a while. I love both sides of the Atlantic, both contribute something to my life and outlook that I do not want to miss or have to go without. It is traditions, mentalities and perspectives that I value as each “world” contributes to my daily life in its own unique ways.

OK, time to get real then. Unbeknownst to me, and quite a number of other Germans abroad, the German legal system has changed in 2000 / 2001. It is now possible, as a German abroad, to adopt another country’s citizenship without losing German citizenship by default! It is called ‘Beibehaltungsgenehmigung’. A mouthful of a word, great for your next Scrabble game, yet, it holds great promise as it opens the door for dual citizenship following a successful petition to the German government.

As with any official legal matter, it has some quirks and procedural steps that will need to be strictly adhered to, yet, given that this window of opportunity has been in existence for almost 14 years now, there is a treasure trove of information to be found on the Internet about Germans who have already embarked on the journey and now successfully maintain two citizenships.

One of those sources has provided immense help to my own journey a few years ago, and which continues to be the go-to site for anyone with a personal interest to do the same: Yahoo Groups – Zweipaesse


Posted in Ausgewandert, Auswanderer, auswandern, Deutsches im Ausland, Info Foren | Leave a Comment »

Germany’s new Migration policy

Posted by nickxyz on July 20, 2008

I just found this article in ‘Die Zeit’: Tuer auf fuer Akademiker.

How long will it take the politicians to really grasp the consequences and implications of some of the EU laws they helped define materially several years ago already?

Not just to be selective about their qualifications to obtain a work permit, but also be less regulating and bureaucratic when it comes to taxation of all aspects of private and commercial life and encouraging its people (citizens and migratory workers) to create value by i.e. owning their homes (have you seen the ratio of renters vs home owners in Germany?), establishing businesses, etc…

How does instituting semester fees at universities play into that picture, the de-valuing of the 3rd tier in the 3 tier school system to really be no longer an entry way into obtaining an apprenticeship. And at the same time make it contingent on a single teacher’s personal opinion and estimation as to whether a 4th grader is “suited” for the Gymnasium via the recommendation process at the end of elementary school!!! Let’s not even begin to discuss G-8!!! I could go on and on about that…

One more  point: the recently made decision to increase the transit fees for logistical and transportation industries to use Germany’s Autobahn system.

One can’t increase the milk quota on a cow, but ignore the fact that the cow does need quality sustenance to even be able to produce milk.

One could even draw a pretty extreme conclusion of the bigger picture: does Germany intent to prevent its own citizenry to obtain quality education at home and instead rather pay for migratory academically trained resources that it can be quite selective about in the first place? If so, they are definitely not doing a good job at that either.

P.S. Regarding tuition at German colleges: Focus article. Hessen just decided to abolish tuition again starting with the winter semester this year.

Posted in Ausgewandert, Culture, Daily Insanity | 1 Comment »

Weather in the Midwest

Posted by nickxyz on May 11, 2008

A common saying in the Midwest is as follows: if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change.

Given the weather patterns over the last two weeks that made the news every time, even internationally, one could almost agree with the above statement. The fact that Tornado Alley runs right through the Midwest doesn’t help the matter much at all either.

In case you hadn’t noticed or heard on the news yet, the Midwest has been hit twice in the last 10 days with severe weather conditions up to and including tornadoes up to F4 strength. Just another one in Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri yesterday evening.

We were headed back North from Branson, MO just as the announcements by the National Weather Service had just begun. Warnings of severe weather, tornado watches and warnings, sirens going off and people being told to see shelter. The supercell was making its way up from Arkansas and into Missouri quite rapidly as we were just coming up Highway 65 to meet I-44 to get around and past Springfield, MO. Not even 30 min after we had left Branson, the supercell hit the area between Branson and Springfield.

The sky takes on a green tinge, clouds are building up quickly and the air is just super still. Then suddenly all weather breaks lose. Rain so thick not even the fastest windshield wiper speed can get you any visibility, winds that take off roofs in a matter of seconds, debris falling from the sky, hail the size of baseballs, …. ugly. And very dangerous!

Tornadoes in the Past

Severe Weather from May 1st and 2nd, 2008 (a)

Severe Weather from May 1st and 2nd, 2008 (b)

Supercell from May 10th, 2008

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Week 7 – Germany

Posted by nickxyz on March 15, 2008

It is the middle of March. We are aborting the move efforts and packing up the doggies to go back to the States. Will be tacking on a few more weeks with the family at home and fly back in April.

Posted in Ausgewandert, Culture | Leave a Comment »

Week 4 – Germany

Posted by nickxyz on March 13, 2008

Closing in on the end of week 4 in Germany. The novelty is about to wear off and things are starting to go their regular order: get up in the morning, go to work, come home, eat dinner, sleep and start over.

I have spent the last weekends house hunting. All sorts of houses, all kinds of locations, all kinds of odd landlords… why should it be any different here??? Nothing so far that really catches your eye or holds your breath. And everyone seems to be on the edge as soon as I mention I will be bringing two dogs with me. As if their sacred hardwood floors would take irreparable damage when crossed by doggie paws… Ever heard of little children dropping stuff, playing matchbox on the floor, driving their bobbycar, spilling food and drink,… I guess not.

Starting to pay a little more attention to the cultural transition and the cultural details. One example that just floors me is Aldi. When I lived in Germany last, Aldi was the discount store that one went to in order to pick up the basics, like milk and some cans. Now, Aldi seems to be THE store of choice for most people as it carries almost anything at reasonable prices (boy, did I ever mention the DMark to Euro conversion before???). There are special flyers every couple weeks that list the specialties that will be for sale in the coming weeks. Depending on the season, it could be running shirts, grass seeds or school supplies. And guess what? As soon as the stuff is officially on the shelves, the stores experience this huge run. As soon as the doors open in the morning, a huge number of people already waits to get in and get first dips on the ‘stuff’. By 9 or at the latest 9.30 am, the specially advertised items are gone; zip, zero, zilch left.

Since the conversion to the Euro (or the Teuro, which is a play on words for ‘teuer’ = expensive), everyone is so intent on saving money. Not because they would want to for any exzessive rational reason. No, because they really have to. The absolute price tag remained the same, say 1.50 for a stick of butter. While before it was in DMark, it is now in Euros. Not much of a deal, you would think. All that changed was the unit symbol. Well… far from the truth. When the conversion took place, 1 Euro was set at 2 DMark. So in effect, everything had doubled in price over night, while salaries and wages got split in half, nominally. While I am not sure that this is really completely accurate (I haven’t been in Germany for the last 10 years, other than for vacation), it is the strong perception of a lot of people I met. Both my age group as well as older generations. From my limited perspective, I would tend to agree with the perception personally. I used to pick up Focus quite regularly when I still lived in Germany. If I remember correctly, it had run at 4.50 DM or there abouts. Nowadays, it runs 3.20E. Perception…..

Anyway, it is now just amazing how cost conscious everyone has become. Not sure if it had made the front page of all international papers. But the OECD has just published a study of income vs tax burdens within the EU. Germany ranks right up there, but behind Denmark and Sweden, I think…. According to the study’s calculations, German workers receive about 48 cents net for every 1 Euro gross earned once all taxes and other required contributions had been deducted. Interesting…..

Posted in Ausgewandert, Culture | 2 Comments »