Give Me Dual Citizenship or Give Me Death

13 Dec

Before I came to Ecuador I was trying to find a job in Argentina. It’s kind of been a dream of mine to live there for a year or so for a few years now. I couldn’t find a job and wound up getting accepted teach in Ecuador, so here I am. But being down in South America and the lack of a stable economy back home has gotten me thinking about working in Argentina again once I leave Ecuador. Since I’m already an experienced English teacher it would be feasible to think I could find a job teaching in Buenos Aires, but I’d settle for working in a hostel or bar, whatever to be down there for a while and experiencing the country.

The reason is because my mom is from Buenos Aires. Though she never taught me much Spanish, just random words here and there, I still give her credit when people tell me I speak Spanish well. People always seem surprised that a gringo can speak the language. “Well,” I tell them, “I lived in Spain for a little and my mom is from Argentina.”

“Ahh,” they always say, as if the last piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. So because I’ve always been interested in the country, I want to live and work there for a little bit. It’s also a sure bet to be able to get a job, at the very least teaching English, if you are from the U.S. and speak Spanish as well.

A week or two ago the light bulb finally went off in my head. It should have gone off a year ago, but there must have been a power outage. A professor at the university overheard me talking about wanting to work there, and she told me that she is married to an Argentinian and has dual citizenship. Her children, who were born in Ecuador, also have dual citizenship. She told me I should have no problem getting citizenship as well because my mother was born there, and Argentinians never lose their citizenship.

I got busy right then and there. First I sent an email to my mom to see what she could wrangle up with the consulate in New York. I sent another email to someone at the embassy to see what they could do, but they haven’t responded. And it hasn’t been any easier for my mom. Luckily she speaks Spanish well enough to deal with bureaucrats, so she’s been playing phone tag for the last few days on my behalf. Rerouted from one person to another, she’s been told that I can’t be a citizen, that I can have residency, and that I’ll need a dozen different forms and papers in order to get it. It’s free, however, which is a nice change of pace.

She got in touch with a woman at the consulate in New York who told her I’d never be a citizen, but I could have residency. However, on the Web site that she told me to check, it says very clearly that I can be a citizen. So I’m a bit confused. I might even have to take an expensive trip down to Argentina in February just to go to the national registration building in Buenos Aires to see what the deal is. I just want that citizenship so I can easily get a job there. Another perk would be getting into Brazil. It’s currently very difficult and expensive for Americans to enter Brazil, but with an Argentinian passport I could enter easily and cheaply. Not that I plan on going to Brazil next week, but it’s nice to have the option. If all goes well I will have to go through extreme obstacles and hassle, but if it gets me the citizenship, I’m Okay with it.

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