My morning started like any other weekday. Get up at the crack of dawn, wake the kiddies, get breakfast ready, pack lunch and drive off to school, come back, walk the dogs, make breakfast, well, hubby took care of that this morning… Except, today was super special. To me at least. I had a very important appointment to keep and the butterflies taking up residence in my tummy made sure I was not forgetting it.
I was nervous, not so much because I was afraid of failure but because I was excited and wanted to prove that all the studying had been worth it. This is what I’ve studied for the past couple weeks…
Yes, after 16 years of living in the US, I figured it was time to take the plunge and get my citizenship. I only did some minor chores in the morning and then got myself ready to go for my 1:30 pm appointment. I took a nice long, relaxing shower and took special care getting dressed. Gotta put your best foot forward, right? I primped and primed and had to deal with getting locked out of the bathroom… thanks, little one!!! Hubby saved the day. Forget about eating lunch, no way were the butterflies making room for some nutritious food. That would have to wait until after.
So, off I went, well, drove to my appointment. During my drive I listened to the audio CD that came with the study guide and went over the answers one last time. I couldn’t believe, how packed the parking lot was when I got there. On my previous appointments things were always calm and I got in and out quick and easy. After a deep breath, I walked inside, went through the same routine of going through the metal detector and having my purse go through the X-ray machine, go up to the reception desk and get send on my merry way.
A different room this time, one that was populated by a lot more people than on previous visits… guess, I’m not the only one who wants to live the dream!!! 🙂 I find a seat, look around and let the waiting begin. At this point, the butterflies are going into over-drive, my foot starts tapping and I want to sit on my hands because the signs everywhere clearly forbid cellphones. What am I supposed to do now? No Facebook, Twitter, Google+? I left the study guide in the car, if I didn’t know my stuff by now it wouldn’t make a difference anyways.
I see a screen with ticket numbers and ask the friendly looking lady across from me if I’m supposed to get one. She says no. We start talking. What do you know, another German. Can I pick my seat, or what? So, we pass the time quietly telling each other our story of how we got here, watch the guy in the row in front of us, nervously puff on his inhaler every few minutes and watch people getting called in and coming out of THE door.
Finally, I hear my name, loud and clear and with perfect pronunciation, and it’s my turn to walk through THE door. We walk down a couple of corridors and arrive at USCIS officer K.’s office. He asked me how I was and I told him, ” A bit nervous.” He chuckles. Makes me raise my right hand and I have to swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You think? I take my seat and he starts going over some preliminary information on my application, checking to see if things had changed. One thing leads to another and next thing I know, we sit there chatting for about 10 minutes, about German Shepards, French people and Dresden. He even throws in a couple of phrases in German. Hello? Are we going to do this, or what?
“Not so nervous anymore, are you?” he asks. Of course not, I’m a talker and he talked me right out of my nervousness. 🙂 Thank you, Mr. K.!!! He slides a paper across the desk and makes me read one sentence, you have to get one out of three right, then he asks me to write a different sentence on another piece of paper, again, you have to get one out of three right. He starts asking me questions from the study guide, I think, he stops at five but it could have been six. I really can’t remember if he asked me the last one or if it was my imagination. You have to study 100 questions, are supposed to get asked 10 and have to get 6 out of the 10 right. I guess, since I gave rapid fire answers he figured I knew my stuff. (I did. Ask my son, the study partner.)
Next thing I know, he hands me a piece of paper, tells me to follow him, I watch him make a copy of my marriage license, walk through the corridors again, he holds THE door open, tells me good-by and see you soon. I still have to be sworn in. I wish him ‘Happy Holidays’ and walk out… with a huge smile spreading across my face. I did it. I passed. I’m on my way!!!!
Next stop, the swearing-in ceremony.
Can you tell, I’m beyond excited?