I have begun to do my research. My wife and I lived in Ireland in the late 1990s, when I taught at University College Cork, and I would love to go back there. It’s become one of the most progressive countries in the world. And, there’s the Guinness and the Murphys and the Beamish. The music. The reverence with which the county treats its writers. The wild Atlantic off the Dingle Peninsula.
Irish citizenship, however, is available only if your grandparents or parents were Irish; exiles from the Great Hunger of the mid-nineteenth century (like my Boylan forebears,) are a generation or more too distant.
My mother’s family came to this country from Germany — or to be more specific, East Prussia. But Mom was born here, and the Germans won’t give you citizenship unless your parents were German. (Or if you’re a descendant of German citizens who fled the Nazis.) So Germany looks like a long shot. And of course, East Prussia doesn’t even exist any more; after 1945 it was divvied up between Poland and the Soviet Union. Would emigrants from East Prussia even be considered German nationals by the current Bundesrepublik? Es ist nicht sicher.
Then there’s Lithuania. My paternal grandfather was born in Mazeikiai in 1890. Lithuania will consider you for citizenship if your grandparents were citizens — although this is complicated for me by the fact that when my grandpa was born, the country was still part of the Russian Empire. But it’s not impossible that this is my last-ditch route to an E.U. passport. Once I’m officially Lithuanian, I could use the E.U. passport to move to — that’s right: Ireland! You see? The system works!
But what do I know about Lithuania? The language, for what it’s worth, is said to be a lot like Russian. Except harder.
I know that to say hello you say sveiki! And to bid farewell, you say atsisveikinimas.
I also know it’s not exactly the most L.G.B.T.Q.-friendly nation in the European Union. So that gives me pause, too.
But so does another four years like this.
The journalist Audrey Edwards has an amazing new collection of essays, “American Runaway: Black and Free in Paris in the Trump Years,” about her experiences as an expat. “Running has historically been a revolutionary move and valuable skill in my community,” she writes. “Historically, we had good and noble reasons to run: To save our lives. Reclaim our spirits. Be free.”