May 9th is Europe Day in the European Union. It commemorates the 1950 Schuman Declaration, regarded as the first step towards the EU, and celebrates “peace and unity in Europe”. So in honour of this, today our larger than life, born and raised Houstonian talks about his heritage, which is a lot more European than you may think…
Indy here. So… I’ve been a European for a year now, meaning I have citizenship in a European country. Actually, I have dual Swedish and American citizenship. I was lazy about getting it, though.
I had permanent residency in Sweden already from 1997, but I kind of had to take the plunge last year. In April 2020, when everything was closing down, I was worried how we’d continue filming since we do that in Germany. At the time there were exactly 23 countries in the world that allowed American passports to cross their borders and I traveled on an American passport. So I finally applied for a Swedish one after all those years and just ten days later I was holding it in my hand as a newly minted European. But what does that really mean?
After all, my mother is English. Well, she was, but she’s had American citizenship for decades (though she still has an English accent), but hang on a second- she wasn’t actually born in Europe, she was born in Africa. My grandparents were working in Egypt when the war broke out and my mother was born in Cairo in 1940. So is she African? But she grew up in England postwar, so is she European? But she’s lived in the US since the 1960’s, so is she American? My Dad’s from New York, so am I technically African-American?
On top of that, three of my grandparents’ sets of parents were born in a country that doesn’t exist anymore- the Russian Empire, two sets in what is now Poland and one in what is now Belarus. But none of my grandparents ever identified as Russian, and certainly not as Polish or Belarusian- two were American and one was English.
But whatever I was before, since last May I have official papers that say I’m both European and American. Hooray!