It’s been almost 13 years since I moved to the United States. My Alaskan boyfriend and I married in southern Mexico in 2006 and moved to Las Vegas the same year. During my first year in this country, I learned everything at once, being married to a foreign guy in a foreign country and experienced the culture shock that came with that. It wasn’t easy leaving everything and everyone I knew behind. I wanted to embrace my new life, but it was up to me to make it happen.
Over a decade later, I decided I was way past due in applying to become a citizen. The idea of calling myself an “American” didn’t quite click in my mind or in my heart because even though I’ve been living a blessed life in the U.S., many things kept on bringing me back to Mexico; things such as true friendships, the way I AM and act, and especially the things I missed (family, food, culture, music). I had also been aware of how generous this country has been with me and my little family. Access to quality public education, owning our first home, earning decent salaries at work, becoming an entrepreneur, and making new friends were all opportunities that I am thankful for!
It really is up to us to make what we want a reality. While becoming a citizen won’t change my roots, beliefs, or way of being, it will enrich who I am. It will bring new opportunities that are not only a privilege but a right, like voting, which will give me a voice in my community and in my country.
I embrace the best of both worlds and hope that this makes me a good American citizen to a country that has given me so much.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a bimonthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska