Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tossed Salad

I have been living in the United States since 1995. That's seventeen years, quite a long time. I've had many addresses during those years; I've lived in Connecticut and Hawaii, and we finally made our home in Alabama. We've lived at our current address for over nine years, which is longer than I've lived at any address in my entire life. My status as a non-citizen has changed as my visas have changed, initially as a dependent of a visa holder, then myself a primary visa holder as a medical resident, and then I had a work visa. Through my employer I finally was sponsored to be a permanent resident, which has been my status in the country for the past 5 or so years.

During these years it became more evident to us that living in the United States is our future. Our kids are growing up here, thriving and going to excellent schools. Over five years ago Zakir and I opened up our own medical practice, which has been steadily growing. We see ourselves running our business until we retire, if that's what God has destined for us. This country has been good to us.

So it was finally time to apply for naturalization. Zakir's green card preceded mine by a little over a year, so he was granted citizenship almost 2 years ago. And this year it was my turn. After the application process, the test and the interview. I waited impatiently for a few months until July when I received my letter with a date for my oath ceremony. And that date was today.

I went to the courthouse in Birmingham this morning with the family, and along with 52 other applicants representing 26 different countries, I took the oath of naturalization in front of the Chief Justice of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Sharon Lovelace Blackburn. It was quite an emotional experience, pledging allegiance to this country that has already given us so much.

During her address to the newly naturalized citizens, Chief Justice Blackburn spoke of the United States not as a melting pot, as it is often known (referring to the intermixing of many cultures), but rather, as a tossed salad, where the citizens maintain some of their original identity, as they blend into American Society. I thought that analogy was perfect. Considering yesterday, I was celebrating Pakistan's Independence Day. I was born in the United Kingdom. And now, across the Atlantic, I have come to call the USA as my home.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What a proud day for you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails