Monday, November 14, 2011

Bundesrepublik Deutschland Reisepass

Today my German Passport arrived in the mail. YAYAYAY! It's so exciting!!

It's been about 2 years in the making, so to speak.  I had always wished I could claim my German citizenship, but it wasn't until October of 2009 that I found out that I actually could.  As I started exploring the idea, it became clear that this would be a very daunting, difficult process.  Documents and dates were misplaced that would take a miracle to sort out. 

Ian and I prayed about it, and we just felt like I should go ahead and pursue it anyways.  I'm not really sure how to explain that feeling.  It's not like I heard God say out loud, "Do This." But, it was like an urging, that I just HAD to follow through.  With that go-ahead, I went online and downloaded the form off of the German consulate website, and proceeded to fill it out with as much information as possible.  After a few calls and emails to wonderful family members to fill in the gaps, off it went to the Consulate.  A few months later, I received an email from the German Consulate in San Francisco, stating that they needed more information.  OK!  I could do that.  Dug a little deeper and mailed off more information...

Another email followed.  We're sorry, but your Aunt and Uncle's files are no longer there with all of the other family documents that you need.  (Apparently they only keep them so many years, and it had been over 10...)  Could you please send new certified copies?


This was becoming difficult.  They wanted a copy of my Grandpa's birth certificate... which we had no inkling of where it might be.  Keep in mind, this is not a simple document to procure.  The other  papers they wanted would have been difficult to acquire.  At this point they were asking for documents that originated in Germany, during or before WWII.  And our family was Jewish, so the likelihood that they were still on record was very slim.

Enter: my amazing Aunt Ruth, who God used in an incredible way!  After several months talking to the consulate and explaining the situation, I received a package in the mail from Germany.  In it was a letter from my Aunt Ruth, explaining how she was just looking in a filing cabinet for something unrelated and TA DA there was the missing file.  Copies of Grandpa's birth certificate, registration papers, documents of his time in England at a refugee house, and so much more!  It was truly a miracle!!  Sadly, there were no originals in the file, and you can't make a notarized copy of a copy.  I prayed, and decided that it was in His will for me to send them anyways.  So, after making copies of everything for our own personal use, I sent off the only notarized copies I had of those documents.

It took a while longer for everything to get sorted out.  Eventually, in the summer of 2011 I got the letter in the mail.  Come to the consulate and pick up your naturalization certificate!  We ended up moving to Washington, and fortunately there is an Honorary Consul here near Seattle, so I made an appointment with her to pick up  my papers.  While I was at it, I also filled out the paperwork and did the fingerprint scan for a passport...

And here we are today!

Sometime later I will need to talk about the emotional journey that this all took... it was quite a learning experience, and I dealt with some tough stuff.  But for right now, if you want more information on this process, check out this link to the German Consulate Website:

I'm still not sure why God wanted me to go ahead and do this.  It turned out that my cousin Laura was getting the same message, so she was in the same process.  (She had slightly different circumstances, though, so didn't need the same documents.)  We shall see what God does!!  In the mean time, I'm hoping to plan a trip to Germany in the near future...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Cookie Monster!!

Monday was Halloween.  Ian and I signed up with our Fusion Group (like a small group) to participate in Canyon Creek Church's annual Trunk or Treat.  Basically, families and fusion groups sign up to take parking lot spaces at the Mill Creek Town Hall.  You open up your trunk, decorate your car (and yourselves) and hand out candy to kids.  This is a big event.  No, this is a HUMONGOUS event.  There are fire trucks and policemen to help navigate and control the crowds.  Before it begins at 6:30pm, there is a line-up of kids and parents waiting.

So, this year, our Fusion Group decided to decorate a dump truck with a basketball hoop and lots of white, orange, purple, and green lights.  The truck was able to lift up, so that way the basketballs would roll back to where we were standing.  It worked great!

My awesome sister and brother in law visited us just a few weeks back, and she brought some home made Halloween costumes that they weren't going to wear this year: Cookie Monster and an un-named Muppet.  Since we had them already, Ian and I decided to go ahead and don them for the big event.  We were so surprised at the response from the parents and kids!  We were handing out candy right before the kids could step up and try their hand at making a basket.  Kids would gasp, "It's Cookie Monster!" Parents asked to take their picture with us.  I even shook a little girl's hand (she thought I was the Sesame Street character "Rosita.")

Some of the other displays that groups and families came up with were a pirate theme, Lego land, Angry Birds display, King Kong (with a snow machine!), a "petting zoo" where the group dressed up like animals, a magic carpet, and more.

All in all it was a huge success of an event, and loads of fun!  Thousands of kids came through that day dressed up as their favorite action heroes and princesses.  If you ever get the opportunity to participate in something like this, I highly recommend it!  It doesn't take a lot of supplies to make a fun "trunk", (we just had lights to decorate, but it looked great!) and the church and community provided the candy through donations. (Otherwise we would have ran out in minutes!)  Already we are thinking up ideas for next year.  Perhaps another game or activity?

What did YOU do for Halloween?