15 March 2014


1998 was, in a way, the Year when Everything Changed for us.

For one thing, Johnny moved back to New Zealand - to Pukekohe, in fact.

Johnny had moved to Seattle in June, 1995.

He had, I am sure, a number of reasons for this.  I myself may have been one - for I was surely at times a rather over-bearing father.  Then there may have been the attraction of wanting to see what his 'roots' (in that his parents are from America, and his mother from Seattle) were like.  I suspect, too, that for people brought up in New Zealand, the very idea of 'America' has a certain draw.

For whatever reason, Johnny moved to Seattle.  By 1997, I think he felt he had quite enough of living on his own, working two jobs to make ends meet, and finding that Americans are, after all, just people, like people everywhere.

Moving back to New Zealand was not entirely simple.  A fair bit of manoeuvring had to be done to make it happen.  He hadn't a job, for one thing.  Nevertheless, he managed it.  He could live at our house (in the outside room where I am typing this!).

Johnny's second job in Seattle had been working at a motel, and I think he was somewhat drawn to the 'hospitality industry.'  He came back either just before or just after Christmas.

And very quickly got a job - working at a hotel.  Johnny will tell me which one it was - was it the Langham?  Or - I think this might be right - the Copthorne.

Helen had started - I think!  She will correct me if I am wrong! - her University studies in 1996.  The normal Bachelor's degree is three years - so 1998 was Helen's last year at Auckland University.  She would earn her Bachelor of Music degree - and what would she do at the end of that time?

Eddie, on the other hand, was finished with high school - and started University (Bachelor of Science, Biology) at Auckland.

Adele was still in school - for another couple of years at most!

It is still unclear to me what the US law is concerning United States citizenship and foreign citizenship.  When we first moved to New Zealand, it appeared to be the case that US citizens who took out foreign citizenship automatically lost their US citizenship.  This seemed not a good idea to me.  In addition, there was a significant cost.  Applications cost $130 per adult (children were free).  So we did nothing.

Now I could see my family in centrifugal motion.  In a year, where would they be living?

Susan and I, at least, had US citizenship by birth.

Johnny was a New Zealand citizen by birth - and had the right to US citizenship by inheritance from his parents.  Helen, Eddie, and Adele had no citizenship by birth (birth in Micronesia did not and does not confer citizenship) - they had US citizenship by inheritance from us.

I had been told by someone - an American citizen who seemed to know what he was talking about - that US citizens could acquire foreign citizenship under certain circumstances - one of which was that they were permanently living in the country whose citizenship they wanted to acquire and that living there as non-citizens caused difficulties.

I decided it was time for us to try to become New Zealand citizens.

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