Antonio and I have been together for 12 years this August and married 10 this September and for the last 9 years, we have been going through the biggest battle of our marriage the battle against immigration! We have paid at least $10,000, filed tons of forms, spent 6 months in his birth country of Brazil waiting on appeals, and played the waiting game after he finally got his green card (3 years to file for citizenship) BUT after yesterday Antonio is now a US Citizen! I am very proud of him and so happy to never have to deal with immigration again!
Our day started by running around, getting 5 of us up, ready and out of the house by 9:00 am is no easy task but we did it. Anthony got on the bus, the babies were dropped off with a sitter, and Antonio and I were on our way to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. We got there at 9:30 as stated on his appointment slip, and walking up we realized how big this ceremony would be with over 100 people in line ahead of us.
They let me in after a few minutes of standing there as I was to sit up in the balcony to watch the ceremony and Antonio was sitting on the floor with the other 800 applicants. This is when the waiting began, it took from 9:30 to 12:30 for everyone to check in and be seated. I spent the time snapping pics over the balcony, snacking from the concession stand and playing solitaire on my phone.
Once the ceremony started it only took moments for the oath to be administered and all the applicants to be made US citizens. Following the oath, they played the national anthem and it was exceptionally beautiful knowing how far this journey took us. Then the judge stood up and gave a nice speech to the new citizens about what it means to be an American, then two elementary school children lead us in the pledge of allegiance. The whole ceremony only lasted about 45 minutes and seemed to pass in the blink of an eye after all the waiting 7 years to get here and 3 hours to start.
Once the ceremony ended guest were asked to wait outside while the citizens waited to get their naturalization certificates.