On December 18, 2005, my plane landed at Dulles International Airport.
On February 23, 2011, I became a U.S. Citizen.
When we moved to this country, it was because my parents wanted me and my brother to have better opportunities for education. They wanted us to succeed and my dad worked 18 hour days to make sure that we had everything we needed. A roof over our heads, food on our table and the ability to go after the opportunities as we choose. For me, at first, it was law school. And then, I decided to move forward with Journalism.
Because of our move to the U.S., I was able to choose my own path, make my own mistakes and redefine the path as I needed.
Ironically, as much as we wanted to get our U.S. Citizenship a few years ago, the application fee was the only thing that delayed the process.
It was this past year when my dad and I decided we would save up, and send in our application to become U.S. Citizens after being greencard-holders over the past decade.
We were fortunate enough to have our interview on the same day, though our Oath ceremonies were a couple of hours apart.
The actual day was long and grueling, simply because of the wait for our interviews & the ceremony once we were approved. Once our interview was over, we were given an envelope & told to go to the waiting room for the ceremony.
In our envelope:
During the Oath ceremony, the officers conducting the ceremony first reviewed the rules, and then asked us to stand up as our country of birth was called. Once we were all standing, we represented the ‘many’, and after the ceremony was over, we were all ‘one’ as U.S. Citizens.
Following the pledges (First the Oath of Citizenship & then the Pledge of Allegiance), we stood for the national anthem, followed by a message from President Obama.
I may have shed a tear or two. Turkey will always be home to me and I am very proud to be a Turkish-American.
The final step was actually receiving my Certificate of Naturalization.
If you had to take the U.S. Citizenship test today, could you pass? Take the quiz to find out. Remember that you have to get 6 out of 10 correct, and it is not multiple choice during the actual interview.
If you are in DC, come celebrate my Citizenship/Birfday with me on March 26!