Miss D. and I are safely home, after an emotional roller-coaster of a day.
I became a US citizen this morning, as mentioned earlier. I found it very moving and awesome, in the true sense of that word: awe-some. I’ve regarded myself as American in spirit for years, but this put the official seal on the process of becoming one, along with new citizens from 40 other nations (including, sitting next to me, a woman from Zimbabwe, who formerly lived in Bulawayo, a city I knew from previous visits. We exchanged congratulations and memories of our former homes.) As we shared the national anthem for the first time, I couldn’t hold back a tear. It’s my anthem, too, now; and even though I’ve sung it innumerable times before, somehow this time was very special.
I was astonished at how many emotions and memories rolled through my mind during the ceremony. In my previous post, I said that I thought many memories of my deceased friends and colleagues from South Africa would be with me when I took the oath. That was an understatement. The emotions were very powerful indeed. Miss D. says she’s heard others say something similar, if they came out of backgrounds of oppression and struggle, so I’m glad to know I’m not alone in feeling like that at a time like this. I was truly surprised at how real my late friends seemed – not just memories, but almost tangible in their presence. I hope they’re as happy as I am at present.
Thank you to all who sent congratulations, both here on this blog and via other means. Well over 250 of you have done so, which makes me humbly grateful for so many friends and well-wishers. Now, I guess it’s time to take a deep breath and get on with life – until the weekend, at any rate. Old NFO and sundry other friends and blogging buddies are planning a citizenship party for me, which is attracting far more interest and enthusiasm from friends around the country than I’d imagined it would, and bids fair to get out of hand. (Old NFO? Out of hand? Say it ain’t so!) I might have to leave town temporarily, in sheer self-defense, if it gets much larger!