On May 22 we welcomed Miss Afton Rose into the world. The day before, on May 21, I became a United States citizen. The timing was a little scary for me because you cannot mess around with the immigration people. The last thing I wanted was to go into labor on the 20th and have to miss my swearing in ceremony! Thankfully, Afton cooperated, and all went well (unless you don’t like waiting around an auditorium for hours on end!).
I was very lucky to have my father there and also some very patriotic friends who wanted to show their support. We even had a little barbeque after so that we could celebrate. If you’ve never been to one of these ceremonies before, there are many, many people. On the day of my swearing in I think there were over 400 new citizens from over 80 countries. They call each country and have everyone from that country stand. I;m pretty sure that I was the only one from Canada, but my cheering section was very large!
So, just in case you’re wondering, here’s why I became a citizen:
I am Canadian by birth, and I love Canada. It is where I came from and what shaped me. I liked growing up in Canada. I liked the education, and I really liked the food. I was pretty certain that I was going to marry a Canadian and spend all my days in Canada.
I had no idea that I would marry an American, and not just any American, a southerner. It was one of the things that worried me a little bit when we were dating. Would my northern sensibilities mesh well with his southern charm?! It didn’t really occur to me right away to get citizenship. The process of getting a work permit and traveling papers and a green card is somewhat arduous, and I didn’t really relish the idea of more paper work and more cashiers checks made out to the USCIS.
Then I started having children … American children. There’s somehing nice about everyone in the family having passports from the same country. There’s something very nice about not being grilled by the customs agent every time I cross the border. There will also be something very nice about voting in my first election.
I like to consider myself pretty well versed in what’s going on around the world, and it was extremely frustrating not being able to have more than an opinion. I wanted a say. Now I have it. There is also a responsibilibty, though. For those of you who haven’t ever looked at the oath, you should check it out here.
The ceremony was fairly emotional for me. I’m sure part of it was the hormones associated with being nine months pregnant, but part of me felt like I was leaving a part of who I am behind. At the same time though, I have felt very welcomed here. I am loving being American and being able to say what I think and having it count for something. It was very nice to be able to accompany my little sister into the back customs office at the airport and not be afraid of having the guy not let me into the country!
So, although I still say, “zed” and “chesterfield,” I am feeling very at home here. I love this country, and I love what it stands for.
But, if you want to know where I came from, check this out: