So on Monday I finally got my American citizenship at a ceremony in Montpelier, so no more green card.
It was a nice ceremony. The speech from Judge William Sessions was heartfelt, but it rather missed the point for me and most of my fellow emigres, or at least the ones to whom I spoke. He was talking about us now having an opportunity in the United States, but that’s rather an old-fashioned idea fit for the huddled masses on Ellis Island.
The modern reality of immigration is that it’s almost impossible to get citizenship from outside the country. Instead, you come here, apply for a green card and work between three and 10 years before even being eligible. So legal immigrants are here and settled, not yearning to be free. The only thing I’m free of that I wasn’t free of last week is the threat of an arbitrary decision by Immigration ending in my deportation …
Having said that, I will add that the immigration experience is the single most frightening, arbitrary and dehumanizing experience I’ve ever been through, and that’s coming from somebody who was once stuck up at gunpoint by three Russian cops.
On the bright side, after the ceremony, we decided to celebrate in the most American way we could think of: Binge eating.
We went to Ben and Jerry’s for the factory tour in Waterbury, where four adults and four boys between 4 and 8 years old finished off a Vermonster: 20 scoops of ice cream, four ladles each of caramel and chocolate sauce, four bananas (Hey, bananas! It must be good for you!), three chocolate chip cookies, a fudge brownie, walnuts, whipped cream and your choice of four toppings. We passed on the walnuts and two of the four toppings (just rainbow sprinkles and Reese’s Pieces, please).
The funny part is that the boys all had a couple of little dishes, decided they were full and quit eating … it was the adults who really pigged out. We got close enough to being finished that we got pins to celebrate the feat and my sister-in-law took the bucket home as a souvenir. Is great country, this America, yes?