Citizenship: One Step Closer

As you may have noticed from my blogging absence this week, I have been caught up in a whirlwind of activity and incidents. Running around between physiotherapy, psychotherapy, the assorted government offices to submit requirements, and studying for the German citizenship test was a lot to chew. I am supposed to be resting and recovering but everything happened this week, on top of helping my daughter pack up for her great exodus today.

Why do I attract crazy situations wherein everything happens at the same time? I had wished for a luxurious recovery time for my aching fractured shoulder, but that wish was never granted. I went against doctor’s orders and took the bus a couple of times this week because the distance to be covered was simply too far to be walked while carrying files and documents, and I can’t afford to be running around in taxis all the time. I immediately regretted the bus rides and found out exactly why the doctor forbade it. On one trip the bus driver jammed on the breaks and all the passengers lurched forward. Although I was seated, the woman standing behind my seat basically fell on my injured shoulder. Ouch.

The new school year begins on Monday in Berlin, which means the buses are going to be jam packed with people again, and that is a serious risk for me. So I will taking long morning walks to the next tram or underground, and am not taking any chances with the bus. I have been sleeping on the couch for the past weeks simply because the elevation it provides me is far more comfortable than a bed. It is, however, narrow (it is a foldaway, but I don’t need the bed part) and I really don’t get much sleep. Turning around is not really an option, but when I do, it has to be a conscious movement to protect the injury. This morning I wasn’t that conscious, turned around, missed the the edge and landed on the floor with a thud. Ouch.

Of all days to fall out of bed – the day of my citizenship test, and the day my daughter moved out. Geez. It was not even 5:00am yet, and the cats were a bit confused, but since I was awake I decided to review one last time. By 9:15 I was out of the house and headed to my designated examination venue. There were 14 other candidates with me (there was supposed to be one more, a Brit who decided to pull a Brexit and forfeit the exam) and we were given one hour to answer 33 questions. There are 330 possible questions for the exam, and each exam paper is individually generated per candidate so that no two papers are alike and the likelihood of cheating is completely eliminated. The normal course of action is to take a language course and be duly certified, then you take a citizenship course that will prepare you for the exam. I skipped the first two steps because I had the supporting documents that qualified me to do so, and there is an official App issued by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) that you can use to review. In addition, each exam is tailored to the state you take it in.

On the average, during all the practice tests it took me between six to eight minutes to complete the 33 questions, so I was baffled when the proctor announced that we had one hour to complete the exam. You could spot the people who used the App to study for this… The woman behind me handed her paper in after five minutes, the next guy in six, and I was third with eight minutes simply because I went back to review my answers!

It is a bittersweet moment. I am one step closer to becoming a German vis-a-vis EU citizen, but this conversely means that I am also a step closer to surrendering my Filipino citizenship. German immigration law does not allow dual citizenship, only in very specific cases where there is an existing bilateral agreement between the countries in question.

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