I can't explain why it took me so long, but after forty-one years in Canada, I finally became a Canadian citizen yesterday. It was a remarkably moving experience.
I was one of 72 people from 36 countries who swore allegiance to the Queen (and her heirs!), promising to be law abiding citizens. It didn't take me long to break my pledge though. Probably no more than ten minutes later, I jaywalked across the street while walking with my son and husband on to our celebretory breakfast. Oh dear.
The judge read the list of countries off, beginning with Afghanistan and ending with Vietnam. Couldn't tell if I was the only American in the room, but I can say that chances were pretty good that I was the only person with blue eyes.
I wasn't the only person choked up when the judge told us we were now, officially, safe in our new home. She said that many of us, particularly the refugees amongst us, had endured great hardships to get here, suffered long and worked hard to reach this day (as opposed to me who just sat on my duff for 41 years).
While I was teary, the young woman in front of me just started sobbing when the judge said this. I looked around and knew the room was full of remarkable stories, probably like hers. I'm sorry I didn't get to hear them.
I think it was a moving day for all in the room. Heartfelt smiles, tears and inspiring words. All made me want to stand up, be proud and roar: I AM CANADIAN.