Posted on January 15, 2009 by sonjabarrie

13th January 2009

Wow, what a day. I could hardly sleep I was so nervous and excited. I have no idea what I was nervous about as we had taken the test 3 weeks before and passed with flying colors, this was the REAL thing though. The swearing in ceremony. We had to be a the Rose Wagner Theater by 9 am on 13th January and the ceremony would start at 10am. Apparently about 200 people go through this ceremony every month in Salt Lake City. Amazing. The theater only seats 500 and they need 200 of those the for delegates. That means (and we didn’t know this) that the rest of the seats fill up fast so friends and family need to be there at 9 am too not the 10 am the pamphlet tells you!

Luckily Tracey managed to get there in time to get a seat but poor daughter Jeanette and my bff Kathy had to go to the basement and watch the whole thing on closed circuit TV. It was pretty amazing and very moving. We had some speeches, did the swearing in, (everyone in there cheered!) sang the National Anthem and they talked about what it means to be an American and that voting was so important etc. Then they asked some of the new Americans to say a few words afterwords as to how long it took to get their citizenship and why they wanted to become American. It was heart rending sometimes. One woman had come from a communist country and explained that the government even told you what work you had to do for the rest of your life. No freedom to do anything.

Another woman came from Somalia and told about the fighting and cruelty there, and so it went. Our reasons for wanting the be Americans paled into insignificance after you heard them speak. Why did I want to be an American? Strange as it may seem I have wanted to be American since I was a young child. By the time I was 8 years old I wanted to go to America and I am sure I knew very little about it at that time. By the time I was 12 years old it was an ambition and I had no qualms letting everyone know that.

I would achieve that ambition much sooner than I ever thought possible. In my teens I used to emulate an American accent and pretend (quite convincingly) that I was from the states. The first time I came here in 1970 I felt as if I had come home. I just fit, the world suddenly felt in order. I must have been an American in a previous life or something because although I am proud of my English heritage and upbringing (especially my British humor) I FEEL American!

Jeanette, Kathy, me, Tim, Tracey

Tracey in particular was really pleased she had seen the whole thing as it was very different to South Africa. There, you sign a form and you’re done, no feeling of belonging or being wanted or patriotism or anything. The Americans may be a bit too RAH RAH sometimes about their country but it does make you feel part of something big. Some countries don’t have that and although the citizens may BE patriotic they don’t show it and as a consequence the children seem to grow up with no respect for their country and consequently no respect for the people living in that country.

Anyway, we had a nice surprise when we got home, someone had been there and put American flags along the path to our porch, that was such a cool surprise. I have no idea who did it but thank you so much, it was a wonderful gesture.

Now I am in the process of getting our American Passports so that we can visit ‘V’ in Costa Rica and that is only 4 and 1/2 weeks away. Once I have that in my hot sticky hands I’ll really feel “Legal”!!!

5 Responses to “We did it. WE ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS!!!”

  1. Gerd

    - 17th Jan, 09 11:01am

    Hi folks, it's a fantastic moment when a dream comes true. Concrets from Ute & Gerd

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  2. John S

    - 15th Jan, 09 09:01pm

    WAY TO GO Tim and Sonja. Congratulations on becoming official citizens, even though you’ve been honorary Americans for a long time. Now you’ll have two passports to keep track of when you travel.

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    - 15th Jan, 09 03:01pm

    Well done! I went through the same process in 1986 in Houston. They crammed 3,000 souls into a high school gym. It was a scrum, but thanks to my rugger playing days I managed to get my piece of paper and get out alive!

    Richard B

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  4. Tracey

    - 15th Jan, 09 02:01pm

    I am so glad to have been there with you to witness the whole thing. It really was a ‘warm and fuzzy’ moment that I will always remember. Congrats to both of you on achieving your dream and may your new found status bring you everything of the best in the future! xxx

    Reply to this comment

  5. Jeffrey

    - 15th Jan, 09 06:01am

    Congrats!!! Welcome to your new Home Sonja, It is sad our youth has no pride in being American, and I blame it on the pansy liberals that have to be so PC it makes me sick, as an American that has fought, bled and seen friends die for this country, you and Tim are welcome additions!

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