Anyone can make a mistake.
One of my first priorities after arrival was to visit the local office of Útlendingastofnun (UTL), the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration. It was a quick, painless* visit: in the door, take a number, present my US passport and my residence permit letter when called, pose for what will undoubtedly be an awful ID-card photo, verify my address in Kópavogur, sign my name, and back out the door in 20 minutes. No muss, no fuss, no bother.
Getting my cat, Hobbes, into Iceland was every bit as easy. After taking him to Boston in the passenger cabin, a high-school classmate delivered us a hard-sided carrier for kitty’s international flight. The folks at Icelandair took Hobbes on board the aircraft in a special cargo pod for animals, and gave him to the folks from the quarantine station on our arrival. The only thing left to do after his quarantine period is up is to clear Hobbes through customs; and since I’m a legal resident of Iceland now, that’ll be no problem either.
Except Þjóðskrá Íslands, the Icelandic National Registry, has me listed as a resident of Canada.
The nice lady at the National Registry office has no idea why I’m listed as a Canadian: “Did you perhaps come from Canada?” I assured her that no, I haven’t set foot in the country in over 15 years and never lived there. She sighed and suggested I call UTL. Perhaps they mistakenly heard “Canada” instead of “Kópavogur?”
The nice man I spoke to there was equally perplexed: UTL shows me living in Kópavogur, but the National Registry says Canada, which he said makes no sense at all. In a perfectly deadpan voice he asked:
Are you sure you aren’t from Canada?
I assured him that I’m not.
Have you ever wanted to become Canadian?
No, not really.
Canadians are very nice people, I hear.
I allowed as how I have also heard Canada is very nice, and the people are very pleasant, but no.
It’s part of North America, too, you know, so it would probably be no problem.
I acknowledged that might be so, but since I want my cat to clear customs in Iceland, becoming a Canadian would probably not be helpful. He agreed with that, and said that he would make sure the records were cleared up as soon as possible. In the meantime, he encouraged me to enjoy my status as a temporary Canadian.
So I’m trying to learn more aboot Canada, eh. Anyone want to play some hockey?
* if you overlook the fact that I took a wrong turn and nearly wound up in a lake, and that’s hardly UTL’s responsibility, now is it?