Saturday, March 29, 2008

Citizenship Saga Episode VI: Almost Done

Yesterday was the day of my citizenship interview and exam. I woke up to a white world, which was quite surprising. Last time I checked, it was spring. The weather didn't care, it still dumped four inches of snow on us.

My first reaction was annoyance. How did the weather gods dare to make it snow on this very special day? This soon was replaced by the realization that this would make for way better stories later. Sitting at the fire, with grandkids all around me, smoking my pipe (wait, skip the pipe), I can tell them 'You kids don't know how easy you have it. When I got naturalized, I woke up to a major snow storm. We had to drive to Manchester with a blizzard blowing around us. Uphill both ways! Barefoot! You kids did it the easy way by being born Americans!' They will look up at me with big eyes, in admiration for their courageous grandmother. (Yes, I am a dreamer and story teller, so what? ^^)

On the way down, I practiced for the exam by running my American friend through all the questions they could ask me. She knew most of them, although she drew a blank on some names, and she didn't even know how many voting members there are in the house of representatives. Neither had she any clue about which amendments deal with voting rights. It was fun to go through them by quizzing her. I felt confident that I knew all the answers by now, and it was good review for me.

We decided to combine the trip down to Manchester with some geocaching. Would be silly to make the trip and not find some caches, right? We ended up finding four and a half caches, which wasn't bad. I hadn't done any geocaching for almost two months, so it was long overdue. The snow interfered with caching, but it was nice to be out and about.

After some caching, we made it to the INS building, where we arrived with plenty of time to spare. I decided to go in five minutes early, which was calculated to show my good moral character, by being in time, but not too early. Too early would have shown me to be an over-achiever, right? The letter had said it could be two hours, so my friend was all set for a long wait in the car.

I went in, where the security guard commented on my cheerfulness. I wondered how I could NOT be cheerful when I finally made it to this interview, something I had been looking forward to for a long time. I chatted with him for a few minutes, went into the waiting room, and got called in almost immediately.

Got sworn in, and we sat down to answer all the questions. She wanted to know things like my birth date, and social security number, and double checked my address information. Asked some questions about the organizations I belong to (La Leche League and the American Go Association were on my list) and about my travel outside of the United States.

She wanted to know whether I was a communist, whether I had ever persecuted anyone because of race, and more moral and political questions like that.

Time for the citizenship questions. She only asked a few of them, and they all were easy ones. 'How many senators are there in the US senate? What is the most important right granted to a US citizen?' One or two more, the funny thing is that I don't remember specifics. I was almost in a trance like state, strong focus and presence, and very composed. It was nice to be able to find that calmness and composure.

She showed me a sentence I had to read out loud, and she dictated another one which I had to write down. This proved that I am able to read and write in English. Barely any time had passed and she told me that I passed the exam. Wow! I did it! This doesn't mean that I am a citizen now, it means that she recommended me for approval on my application for naturalization. Good enough for me.

I should get letter within four months to invite me to a ceremony to be sworn in, and after that ceremony, I will be a full fledged US citizen.

Amazing! I did it!

We celebrated by doing some more caches, and my friend bought me dinner. Mexican dinner ^^ Life is good!


Annelies said...

Way to go!!

Kathy said...

Congrats Karen. I am taking notes for when it's my turn...:-)

Hermes said...

Congratulations, well done.

Meritt said...

GREAT JOB!!!! You've also shown me that you know more than the average American high schooler. LOL.

t in hd said...

Congratulations Karen!

How will this affect your Holland-born children, if at all? Will they also get American citizenship if you are an American citizen? It's so different in the U.S. compared to here where my German-born children will never be allowed to become German citizens (not that we want them to, but they'll never even have that choice).

Tracy (an old DA list member from years ago)

Anonymous said...


Jen (MM99)

CH said...

How long from start to finish was your process?

NannyOgg said...

Thanks all!

I started early January, so it went pretty fast. My Dutch born kids will become American citizens too, because they are less than 18 years old still.


Anonymous said...

So, what is the most important right we have? I'd think that was a matter of opinion! Some would say the first amendment is the big one, others would insist it's the second amendment. Voting, perhaps? Funny that people don't treat that one as particularly important at all.

Rebecca said...

I am glad you are doing this, and blogging about it at the same time. I feel like all I ever hear about are 'illegals' and this goes to prove there are people out there doing it the way it ought to be done.

Kim said...

CONGRATULATIONS Karen!!! I'm so happy for you. I can't wait until you blog about the ceremony.

Anonymous said...

Karen! I didn't know you were doing this! (I probably have missed posts along the way to rkids). Congratulations and well done! If you do get naturalized, there is a beautiful naturalization ceremony that takes place at Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home) on July 4 every year. Monticello is in Charlottesville - you could come stay with us! Bring the whole family and come south!

veganbaby said...

Yay Karen!!!!!! Does that mean you can vote this year?

PS: Let's do a cache together soon. I have a TB that needs to go!

Karen Lanzetta said...

Rereading this from many years ago.
That time I had to stay in NH, since I started the process there. But happy I made it to you and Monticello many years later :)