Initial Facilitated Naturalization Application

Last summer I received my packet of papers from the Bundesamt für Migration. All in German, the application check list went something like this:

  1. Application Form
  2. Marriage certificate, no less than six months old from the Heimatort
  3. Wohnsitzbestätigung (residency certificate) from the last five years in Switzerland, no older than 2-3 months.
  4. Residency Permit photocopies

The application form asked similar questions to our marriage application form. Things like parents’ names and dates of birth and checking a box to note that Kay had his citizenship from birth. If Kay had gained his citizenship through marriage, I would not be eligible for facilitated naturalization and would have to do it the harder way with regular naturalization.

There were also some forms in the application promising that I am not a criminal and some papers that Kay needed to sign stating that we have a valid, honest marriage.

October-November 2013:

From October to November I went about ordering the marriage certificate and the residency certificates from all four towns or cities that I have lived in during the last six years.

Neither Kay or I have ever been to his Heimatort, the town that takes you back and takes care of you when you are bankrupt, so it was a bit funny ordering something from them, but they had an easy online site to use to order the marriage certificate. Also… how weird is it that we’ve only been married for three years and I already need to order a fresh marriage certificate for this? It’s a little over the top.

The residency certificates were easier. They all came at about 30 a pop, whereas the marriage certificate was 35.

December 2013:

The Migrationsamt (Migration office) told me on the telephone and wrote me a confirmation email that it was OK to turn my application in 1-2 weeks before my five year residency was completed, so 1.5 weeks before the end of the year, I went to the post office and sent my bundle of love in the mail.

I was pretty excited.

IMG_4068The day before we left for our New Year holiday in Oman and Thailand, I received a letter from the Migrationsamt stating that they had received my application and that it would take at least 1-2 years to process, possibly more if they are very busy.

Kay was dismayed that they said it would take so long, but it was exactly what I expected. They had my application and just wanted to let me know that they will take as long as they want to process it, which you can’t do anything about. 🙂

The waiting had begun!

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Facilitated Swiss Naturalisation Part I

Gluten-free Homemade Muesli

As a typical American, I came to Switzerland eating cereal for breakfast. Kay, on the other hand, ate a very Swiss breakfast of freshly sliced bread slathered in butter and jam. For years it went on this way. He had his bread and I had my cereal.

One could argue about the healthiness of either breakfast, but eventually Kay switched over to the dark side so that he could be a little faster in the morning and sleep a little longer. Slicing bread and doing all that buttering and spreading takes a long time! But he didn’t switch to conventional brand cereal like me… no. He started buying ingredients to mix his own muesli so that it would be healthier and less sugary than whatever I was eating.

I called it “Pferd Futter” or “Horse food” because that’s what it looked like to me.

Anyway, I more or less stopped eating cereal in an effort to incorporate more fresh fruit in my diet and then with the celiac diagnosis and Kay’s absence, I didn’t even want to think about cereal and how depressing it is here. We don’t have Chex in Switzerland. You can buy gluten free cornflakes from Migros and Coop, and from Coop you can also buy chocolate crispy rice for kids. From non-specialty stores, that’s it!

L-R: Bio cornflakes: 2.20CHF for 300g ($2.45 for 10.5OZ) / Schär cornflakes: 2.90 for 250g ($3.23 for 8.8OZ) / Schär Flakes Milly Magic 123: 4.95CHF for 250g ($5.51 for 8.8OZ)

You can’t even buy most normal muesli ingredients in the store without them being laced with gluten. I can buy puffed amaranth from Migros, but all the soy flakes are coated with malt flavoring, making them a no-go.

So why don’t I just let Kay buy his normal muesli ingredients and let it go? Crumbs. CRUMBS. Or shall I say, dust. Every time Kay makes muesli in his tupperware and every time he gets some out in the morning, cereal dust flies into the air and all over the counters.

If that cereal dust happened to be wheat-y, barley, malt or otherwise gluten-y… it would be all over our counters. And because we are in a hurry in the morning, that gluten death trap would be there in the evening too. Cleaning up his muesli mess is not one of Kay’s strong suits, but if he did… I would have to worry about him contaminating the dish towel and then forgetting to change it out with a new dish towel. I know… anal. But with celiac, you have to be.

There’s always a question of how much gluten is bad for you, but in my own home, I would rather not doubt what I am eating. I don’t want to worry about wheat particles flying around while I bake, nor do I want to question what the dish towel was last used to clean. Nope. Gluten-free cereal for all is the way forward.

But since oats are a no-no the first year, I wanted to find a way to make oat-free granola to mix with those boring cornflakes. I’ve been lurking on Against All Grain and found this recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Granola, so I had to try it out!

First I soaked the nuts overnight which is supposed to break down the phytic barrier and give the granola a nicer crunch. Kay just thought I was crazy to be soaking them in water and then dehydrating them.

All chopped up and ready to be baked. We have a convection oven, so I used that instead of going out and buying a dehydrator, but after baking 3-4 hours at 75ºC/170ºF, the muesli still came out pretty moist.

I didn’t feel like baking it longer at this point, but I would definitely bake it longer next time. I feel like buying a plastic dehydrator from the store seems like a waste of money when we have an oven with airflow, but maybe I’m wrong.

I threw all the muesli in Kay’s new GF cereal container with GF cornflakes, buckwheat flakes from the health store, puffed amaranth balls, and millet flakes from the health food store. Then I poured it in a bowl to mix before putting it back in the container.

This muesli is delicious! It smelled heavenly and it had a lovely autumn flavor that had me wanting to start eating cereal again too!

See all that mess up there? Haha… homemade muesli is still quite messy, but I don’t have to worry about it being a gluten mess now! And by watering down the expensive health store gluten-free alternative flakes with homemade muesli and cornflakes, I can feel better about the cost of our gluten-free muesli.

Even if you aren’t gluten free, you should go try this muesli out! It is seriously delicious!