Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Denise took her Citizenship Test today.

I had a big day today. I left home an Englishwoman and came home an American. I hadn't told many that I was taking my citizenship test today, because I didn't want to have to tell people that I might have failed it. I tend to be like a deer in the headlights where tests are concerned but much to my delight I passed and I couldn't be happier.

My appointment was eleven a.m. but there were a lot of people before me and it was around noon when I was called. A very nice gentleman took me into an office and he was the nicest. I had told him I was a little nervous and he smiled and said not to worry, to relax and everything would be fine. I can't say enough nice things about him, he was kind and gracious. He asked several questions and it wasn't long afterwards that he said, "Congratulations, you have passed." and gave me such a big smile and shook my hand. Can't tell you how wonderful that felt and how relieved I was. Here I am with my 'pass' paper outside the building.

I was told I needed two passport photos and told where the Rite-Aid was not too far down the road, and I was to bring them back at one o'clock, that I was to call for him and he would come out and get them.
Before this I noticed several people sitting around me while we were waiting to go in, but no one said much. I think we were all far too nervous. I had forgotten to bring a book but I don't think I could have settled long enough to read it. Gregg took the day off so that he could come with me. I don't know what I would have done without him. He knew I was a bundle of nerves but he was my pep talker and the fact he was there was such a big help.
In that hour of waiting I had a chance to look around. I try not to oggle but it is always interesting for me to observe people from everywhere imaginable, I guess I am what you call a people watcher. There was an older couple sitting across from me and they were joined by their daughters and their husbands; very heart-warming to see them encouraging each other. I noticed several others, and there was a younger couple sitting a few seats away. I looked at them for a while and I could see that the young woman was as nervous as I was. We glanced at each other and smiled a smile that said, yes, I know how you feel. Then they were called and not long after so was I.
Back to those photos, we drove over to Rite-Aid and there was a long line of people waiting to get their photographs taken, I recognized all of them. Everyone had taken their tests and passed and we all connected for a few minutes, laughing when we saw each other, congratulating each other and it was a very nice moment. Even though none of us had talked each other, we had obviously all been 'people watching'.
Back up to the waiting room with photos in hand, we told the receptionist we were back and she called the gentleman who had helped me before. I could see he was in a hurry and as I followed him up the corridor back to his office he was practically running. I was having a hard time keeping up with him and I have to say I wondered what the heck was going on, and why on earth were we going at such a fast pace. The reason was that he wanted to put all my information into the computer in time for the 3.30 Citizenship Ceremony that afternoon. He apologized for rushing me but I was the last one to make the ceremony.
I was in shock that it was going to happen that day. I thought I would have to wait for another several weeks and I couldn't really take it all in. We had plans for my son to attend the ceremony, Gregg's family and a few close friends, to get my hair done, to get a new outfit, a party afterwards, the list goes on. Well, when I knew I could get my Citizenship right there and then all that flew out the window. So to my dear son, family and friends, I hope you understand but there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity. The thought of getting everything done in one day was just too good to pass up. We intend to have a big party when we all get together. I am looking forward to that very much.
There was a lot of waiting around that day, and we had another hour-and-a-half before the ceremony. It was way past lunch-time and we had had no breakfast. We decided to get a bite to eat at a deli in the building next door. In this photo I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and worn out but I am a happy lady.

More waiting around before we were called and we're all on our way to be sworn in.

Me taking the Oath.

And then we get to watch a movie, with a message from the President.

Here I am with the lady who held the ceremony.

Afterwards we were told where we could register to vote, and in the last picture I am filling out the voter registration form.

That's been my day. I put in my application over a year ago and found out about my appointment three weeks ago. It took me 33 years to get get to this day but here I am, an American.