That was quite a break huh? A gazillion things have happened in my life since I last checked in and promised that I wouldn’t check out.
First and most importantly, I became a US citizen! I really should have blogged about this while it was happening. I actually spend most nights thinking, I should blog about this, about everything.
I put my application in for citizenship mid April and really didn’t expect to go through the process that quickly. My interview was the day after my 37th birthday in August. It wasn’t a requirement but I brought N and Lucky with to the interview for brownie points.
The interviewer was a tiny young lady who was really sweet. The interview itself was an absolute breeze. I answered all of the questions correctly but don’t remember which were asked (I really should have blogged about this). She literally only asked me to confirm what was on my application. I then signed a few things and that was that.
The ceremony was the day that school started. One of the most important days for me at my job so I was happy but stressed that I couldn’t be there. The ceremony invitation clearly stated that I could only bring one guest which was such a bummer because my friends and US family wanted to be there and I wanted them to be there. And it was even more of a bummer when N and I got to the venue and all the other new citizens brought loads of guests and so many babies. I was so sad. Anyway, the ceremony was long. No, the actual ceremony was 15 minutes. Waiting for the judge?… TWO HOURS!!!
They funneled all of us into the huge hall while our guests sat upstairs in the gallery. It took about an hour to get everyone settled in. They kept coming up to make announcements and tell us to chat to each other. I sat next to a Russian (I think) couple who were chatting to themselves and a younger lady who was not at all interested in making friends. So I just sat on my phone and listened to conversations around me. One man from Israel who had been here for years but thought it was time, chatting to his new friend who couldn’t get a word in edgewise. And another lady yelling on the phone to her colleague that she didn’t know they would be taking her green card so she would likely not be able to take that business trip to Australia.
Almost 2 hours later right before the judge came in the couple next to me peaced out. I have no idea why, I assumed to go the bathroom but they never came back. So they didn’t do the pledge and I never saw them again so I don’t know if they got their certificate. I wonder about them sometimes.
After I got the official documents we grabbed lunch at a chinese buffet then rushed home. N had to get back to work and Lucky and I just spent the rest of the day hanging out. Sort of anti-climactic. No fireworks or parades. Just me and my boy watching reality tv. You know, living the American dream.
But truth be told this journey to become a citizen is something else. I’m fortunate, in that I get to retain my SA citizenship which I absolutely did and even then I found it very difficult to surrender that part of my identity. A part of me felt like I was turning my back on my country and with that came a lot of other emotions so I was dragging my feet for a very long time. But with this current administration’s view on immigration, legal and illegal, my parents finally put their foot down and decided to pay for my application and they all but stood over me with their hands of their hips while I filled out the application.
Now that it’s over and done with I am glad that they did. It still feels weird. But good weird. I was very excited to vote this past Tuesday. I loved the process of registering. I loved stressing for weeks that my registration didn’t appear until a few days before voting day. I loved filling out the ballot and feeding it into the machine. I love the old volunteers gushing over Lucky and saying “congratulations, you voted”.
I love that I get to experience these things for the first time. And then this morning I got word that I get to experience something else as a new citizen and I am beside myself. N laughed at me but I can’t wait.