By and large, 2016 has been a difficult year for us as a family. Too many losses. One of the few bright spots however was in July, when Melisa and I traveled into Grand Rapids for my oath ceremony to become a US citizen.
In 2009 I became a ‘legal permanent resident’, or ‘green card’ holder. That was a process that we had been advised could take between 18 and 24 months to complete. For me, the process turned out to be particularly swift and painless. It in fact only took about 7 months. When I embarked on my quest for Citizenship I had hoped that the process would be similarly swift, especially as the USCIS website was quoting a target processing time of 5 months. Alas, it was not to be. The process was beset with delays, with each step seeming to stall out until I made an inquiry as to why I had heard no more since the last communication. Some of the delays were ‘self inflicted’; I had to have my first Citizenship test rescheduled due to conflicts with work, and when I finally got a date for my Citizenship Oath ceremony, I had to have that rescheduled too, owing to being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean at the time!
However, on July 13th it all came together, and I, along with 79 other immigrant from 35 different countries, were sworn in as new US Citizens. It was a very special day.

New Citizen
With my Citizenship Certificate

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