I have lived for significant periods of time in four countries and have traveled to many other countries. I love other cultures, I love being in countries that are not the United States of America, I love that my husband is from New Zealand and that my children are dual citizens. At the same time, I am so thankful to have been born in the US of A. I think the United States is a truly amazing place. We have it so good. There are a tremendous amount of things right about America.
I am not blind to the many shortcomings of this nation as well. I won’t list any of them, there are other places and people who would gladly talk about them. I am certainly willing to discuss them and I pray for this country to grow and change, but today I want to talk about the good stuff.
Having lived overseas, I have had friends, family, acquaintances and strangers wax poetic about what is wrong with the USA, but I also see the people who believe in what America is about as far as freedom, independence and opportunity. There are so many amazing cultures within this country, amazing stories and things like Slurpees!
I have a worldview of life, a love of “other” places and I’m not crazily patriotic, but I am, indeed, proud to be an American.
I am also thankful for my husband who has joined me in building a life here in the US. He has left his family in New Zealand, things that are familiar and comfortable for him and it’s not always easy for him. That’s a big deal.
Last year, we decided to start the naturalization process for him to become a citizen. He had a green card, but we figured it would just make life simpler if he had US citizenship. It was a reasonably simple process – paperwork, money and a couple of trips to Portland. It culminated in our final trip to Portland last Tuesday for Colin’s final interview which lasted ten minutes and then a naturalization ceremony in the afternoon. All of the sudden, I was married to a US citizen!
It was fun to be a part of the whole thing. There were 29 people from 16 countries in the ceremony, each representing a different story. Colin was the only one from New Zealand.
Here are a few pictures from the day.
God Bless America! (And New Zealand, and the United Kingdom and Jamaica and the whole wide world!)