I did it!!

Well, at least that’s the way I planned to start this post. But the truth is, I didn’t do it. Not because I changed my mind.

This morning I decided this would be the day I called the US Consulate for an appointment – to renounce my US citizenship. When I called the phone number I had been given, which is also the one on the US Consulate home page, the phone just rang and rang and rang. Nobody picked up. I tried several times. That’s called determination. Still nobody picked up. Then I remembered that a friend had said they want you to do the appointments online. OK, I’ll do it that way. The consulate’s home page has a link to a very good video explaining how to make appointments for all kinds of services online. That was very reassuring – I can handle that.

So I thought. The main hurdle to making an appointment is trying to find the word “renunciation” on the consulate’s home page. No such thing, nada. That must be a VERY bad word. Or it’s something no one requests….

How can you click on something if it’s not there?

By process of elimination I figured out that it must be under the heading “American Citizen Services.” Sure, helping US citizens get rid of their citizenship is a service provided to them by their government. Makes sense. But it wasn’t listed there either. Then I figured I would just make an appointment, show up and request the unspeakable non-entity. Imagine me showing up at the consulate and telling the big tall Marine in the gorgeous uniform: “I have an appointment, but I can’t say for what. It’s for the thing that’s not on your home page. That’s all I can say. It’s so unspeakable that I don’t dare utter that word.” Fat chance I would make it past security.

The appointment page required more process of elimination: you had to tick off a box for the service you request in order to continue the appointment making process. Again there was no box for renunciation. And no box for unspeakable non-entities. Only boxes for passport renewal, more pages for your passport, registration of a birth and lots of speakable choices. Nothing unspeakable. Nothing that said anything remotely like “I want out.” But the last option was at least very open-minded: request other services not listed above. Wow, that could be it. At least it lookled like it might include unspeakable things. Click.

Then there was one more box that HAD to be clicked in order to continue: “I have read the instructions on the Embassy or Consulate website for the passport services I require.” Mind you, since I couldn’t find a single reference to “renunciation” on the consulate’s website, I also hadn’t seen any “instructions” about how to do it. That’s logical, even if it is unspeakable and instructionless. But since I didn’t want to be too fussy, I just clicked that box anyway. I mean you had to. If you didn’t, you couldn’t continue to the calendar and pick out a date for an appointment. And that was what I wanted! An appointment!! Finally, a page opened up with months and days shaded in various colors: appointments available or not available. Wow, the promised land!! There I was.

Click, click, forward. I wanted an appointment for the fall, because by then I hope to have the (cough) rest of the paperwork taken care of. Unfortunately, it was only possible to make an appointment until the end of July. The rest of the year is not open for bookings yet. That’s definitely too soon considering my paperwork. With that I decided I would have to wait and closed up the site. I’ll have to tackle the appointment process again in a couple of weeks/months. Maybe the unspeakable will have become speakable by then. And maybe there will even be instructions. But, if not, I’ll still know what to do: just keep clicking your way through until you get to the calendar – the promised land!! It does exist!

Do you know what else I did this morning before I tackled the appointment thing? I stopped by the thrift shop and lo and behold what did I find? An oven-proof deep pie dish for American apple pie, like you don’t see very often at all in the heart of Europe. Pie dishes, I mean. Needless to say I snapped it right up. No identity crisis for me. I know exactly who I am and always will be. No matter whose passport I carry. Still, it was a very sweet little coincidence on a day like today.

My thanks to Amy for suggesting that I write a blog about the process of “exporting” myself. Good idea.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful day today, full of speakable and unspeakable pleasures.