This week I became an American and was overwhelmed by the rush and mix of emotions that this caused. Pride and joy in making my adoptive country official, tinged with sadness and thoughts of my parents (both deceased) and remaining family in England, would they be proud of me (of course) would they think me disloyal (of course not) – it’s amazing what goes through one’s head at key moments.
Up until this week I had approach the whole process as purely a logical decision. While I miss family and many things about England we have built a fun life here in the States and 7 years in it made sense to become a citizen vs. a resident alien (which just smacks of two heads and other out of world features).
My head, the logical side to this decision told me that this made sense. In becoming an American travel in and out of the country will become slightly easier, I will be able to bid for Government contracts and further grow my business, my sons (who will now become citizens automatically) will be able to work in the US and Europe when they grow up, I’ll be able to vote in the upcoming elections. It made sense. Fill in the forms, take the oath and job done. Simple, straightforward, logical, no big deal.
Then I went for my final interview and test of American History and Government. As I left that meeting, having “passed” and with instructions to return at 1.15pm for the naturalization ceremony the emotional aspect kicked in. This was a big deal. I cried.
Returning for the ceremony with two friends to cheer me on and formally welcome me to the US, the butterflies were doing display formations in my stomach as I filed into the room. There were over 50 people representing 27 nationalities in that ceremony. A video from the President to welcome us, words from the officials and then we were asked to stand and swear the Oath of Allegiance. I cried.
The final part of the ceremony was to turn and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. I have heard this many times, I may even have said the words. On Tuesday, saying the Pledge of Allegiance as an American for the first time brought a whole new depth of emotion and feeling. I cried.
Why this post? Firstly I wanted to share the news! Secondly as a reminder that the decisions and actions we take rarely (if ever) fall into the “logical” category alone, there is ALWAYS an emotional element that if we overlook can have an unexpected impact.
To everyone who has connected with me in some way and however fleeting or longstanding that connection, I thank you. Unknowingly you have contributed to this decision and to this moment.
- I am proud to be English.
- I am proud to be American.
- I am proud to be an English – American.