Well finally as of 17th June 2009 I am a US Citizen, having had my Oath Ceremony yesterday.
The ceremony started with a lady from the immigration service singing the Star Spangled Banner, like she was doing it at a concert. It was full of warbling, extreme high pitches etc, but her voice was definitely not good, so most of it was not only off key, but went up and down and croaked at the same time, with intermittent really loud sections. It was like one of those American Idol auditions that is too painful to listen to, and the woman sitting next to me looked at me as we sat down after the singing stopped and we both laughed, because of course the singer got great applause, and nobody dared to laugh for fear of losing their long waited for status for showing disrespect.
Then came several speeches, introducing people that were there, a couple of short videos, including one from the President, and then the Oath itself.
It was amazing how many people were there to be sworn in as new citizens of the USA, 170 people in all from 40 countries. They called each country in turn with the number of people from that country who were being sworn in, and it went like “Albania 1, Belgum 1, Cuba 6, Colombia 15, France 2, etc. More people from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela as expected, only 2 from the UK, and finally 30 from Haiti and 35 from Jamaica!
It’s a miracle that there is anyone left in some of the islands in the Caribbean. I heard years ago that there were more Jamaicans in new York than there were in Jamaica, and probably the same is true for London, let alone South Florida. I think that the more family and friends you have in another country, the more attractive the move becomes.
Well finally, I got my certificate, and a US flag to wave (I couldn’t help wonder if it was Made In China like so many other things these days which woudl be ironic), and then some forms to fill in.
I couldn’t apply for my passport there and then, so I have had to make an appointment at the Post Office to get that done. Until I get my US Passport I can’t leave the country, which is a little bit worrying for anyone who has family or friends overseas, just in case anythign happens that requires you to travel in an emergency.
I also completed a form to update my Social Security status to Citizen, and felt sorry for the solitary guy from Social Security who had to deal with all the applications. He had a desk outside the building, where it had been raining at one point, but in any case was really hot and humid. The desk was in a corner of the building, and he had over 150 people both trying to take forms to complete as well as hand completed forms in to him, all in a narrow space. It took a while for him to take my form because of people coming up and thrusting theirs in front of him, which was rather rude, and it’s not in my nature to do that. When he did take mine I thanked him, which almost nobody else did either. At least he acknowledged that. They could have found a place inside for him and maybe given him an assistant, that would have helped a lot.
So now I just have to get my passport, and I will be 100% valid to come and go and won’t have to worry about my green card expiring either.