On April 26, 2016 I will be in this country for 14 years. Only 3 years less than the time I lived in Venezuela, 11 years more than I ever lived in my birth country of Colombia.
Today I went at 8 am to take my citizenship test. I don’t need to share with you, my gentle readers, how many times I went to the bathroom. I debated whether I should take one of my Xanax, which are always in my bathroom cabinet, ready to be taken when I fly but since I am planning international travel this year, I decided to brave the nerves and the fear without pharmaceutical aid.
They called me into the interview room five minutes past my appointment time, I was so thankful the emotional torture would soon be over, I rather be facing the agent and getting on with the test that sit there with my stomach in knots pretending nonchalance.
I swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth and sat down. They asked me to signed and initial two passport photos that I had sent with my application. You mean to tell me I have to grab a pen and perform a motor skill related task while my hands are shaking this badly?
That’s the thing, my heart is not pounding, my voice is not shaking but my hands are always a dead giveaway. When I had to give a maid of honor speech last year, I joked, I laughed, I was sarcastic, the only reason people knew I was about to piss my dress it’s because my cheat sheet was shaking so much it was almost vibrating.
I went through the application, promising that I had never been a prostitute, broken the law, arrested or involved with the communist party. The agent asked me about the deportation order and how it had been lifted, she asked me what had caused it. I was afraid of this question, I was afraid they were going to say, you know what? We are not so sure the immigration judge should have lifted that order, here’s the ankle bracelet again! But I explained it was from a prior case, she nodded and then moved on.
I was asked to say “Who can vote” and write “Citizens can vote” my handwriting looked like a preschooler’s with the shaking and all, but I did it! She then proceeded to ask me about the vice president, the reasons why we fought the British, the number of amendments in the Constitution, and what the highest court in the U.S. is. That was it...I was all ready to recite all 13 Colonies, describe the “Rules of Law”, tell all 22 names of the Native American tribes and list all Cabinet level positions… but no, that was all.
She checked the little box that said “you past the test” and told me to be there this Thursday to have my Oath Ceremony.
You guys…I am going to a U.S. Citizen on Thursday. You, who have been with me throughout this whole process can understand how monumental and life changing this moment is.
I feel…I don’t even know what to feel! My phone has been ringing nonstop since this morning with family and friends congratulating me for what they know it’s the biggest moment of my life since my marriage.
I think about every moment that had led to this and I want to hug that frustrated me who never thought this day would come. And what a year for this day to come!
I can’t wait to register to vote and exercise a right I have never been able to because I have always been an immigrant in the country I lived in.
I wish I could explain the feeling in my chest, the constant need to cry a little, the way I wish it was Thursday already so I can stand there and vow to be loyal to this country that has given me and my family so much.
I can’t wait to stand there and wave the flag and lift my hand along my fellow new citizens and enjoy the privilege of being an American. I am soooo going to Europe with my blue passport!