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Eve Dean

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Eve Dean comes from a family which has moved between the US and Europe frequently for work reasons. She has spent much time in Switzerland and with her French grandmother.

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0:02:33

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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My name is Eve Dean I am a citizen of the US and France.

Today, I’d like to share the story of how my family has travelled back and forth between the US and Europe for the past century.

This is my Grandfather, Gramps. His name was Billy Roe Dean and he was born and raised in Chicago, one of 7 siblings. His father was an Irish immigrant who came to work on the railroads. His mother was a farm girl from Indiana. His father died when he was 15, so Gramps worked a lot of odd jobs to help support his family. He eventually enlisted in the Marines where he worked in radio and communication. After serving in the Marine Corps and attending university, he worked at the Radio Corporation of America.

Gramps moved to Europe in the 1950s for work. He spent time in France where he met my grandmother, Yvonne Louise Alphonsine Rosand; we call her Baba. Gramps and Baba moved around a lot. Once they were married, they kept moving around for work. They lived in the US, in France, and eventually they bought a farmhouse outside Geneva, Switzerland where my dad grew up.

They were all very fortunate, having both French and American citizenship, they were able to travel back and forth between the US and France with ease. My dad and his older sister both moved to Ft. Collins, Colorado to go to Colorado State University in the 1980s. My dad lived in the US until 2009 when he moved back to Geneva.

My sister and I moved to France to live with my dad a year later. I was nine years old. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t speak any French and I didn’t know anything about the culture. I was very fortunate to have my dad and all of his family nearby to support me. I had all the help in the world in my transition, but it was still terrifying, despite my advantages. I struggled a lot with making friends. My friends were British, American, or related to me. I was always 'the American' and I really struggled with being othered while I was there.

Being able to live abroad and travel was a really difficult time in my life, but it broadened my world view and shaped the person who I am today. Today, I have the privilege of having dual citizenship in countries that provide me with lots of advantages. My family has a long history of moving around, but we've always had the stability of family and citizenship and we never stay anywhere too long.