I already gave the sneak-preview: we are Americans. Officially.
MDH and I took our naturalization test and interview last week, on Tuesday to be more exact. And yes, it was September 11th and the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center that changed this nation forever.
My husband though it was not a good day to make the test. A friend told us that good things also need to happen on 9/11. And I thought that, maybe, that was just the perfect date to become and American citizen.
However, it was QUITE a day!
We left home around 5 a.m., planning to arrive at the office with enough time to calm ourselves... Didn't happened.
We are that type of persons (and that type of Cubans) that usually reach our goals and dreams but, boy! with a lot of struggle all the way! I swear, we try the best we can, but sometimes I think it is just our karma.
Maybe that's the reason why we don't take anything for granted; because whatever we have accomplished so far, as individuals and as a family, is the result of a huge perseverance and mucho sacrificio.
Anyway, first was the train.
Yep. We live en un campito, remember? And there he was, completely stopped, with no intentions to move. At all.
"@#$%?!", I said.
Something even worse was yelled at the pile of metal by my dear husband.
He: face turning dangerously red.
Me (thinking): is he going to have a patatú, right now?
Then came the efforts to get a shortcut in a city that we don't know very well; alas, getting lost is the norm. MDH ate his pride and asked for directions. The face kept turning red and me (thinking): is he really going to have a patatú today, right now, right here?
To tell the story in a short version, we were in the opposite side of the city, only by a few 120 blocks. We jumped in the highway again, rush hour in the morning in a industrial area. Oh my!, I love the clear county roads in my campito.
Asked for new directions in a gas station, new directions were wrong.
Tried to ask a state patrol; they guy didn't see us (really?) and ran away like if he was being chased by the devil.
Asked for directions, one more time. Ended up in a residential neighborhood. Husband jumped out of the car like crazy to ask a man; luckily he explained us how to get to the USCIS office.
And he was right.
On a quick note, along all these events, I never quit trying to call the customer service toll free number in our papers. No luck. Too many people with appointment were lost in the US streets. After 35 minutes on hold, I quit.
I have to. The gal answered when we were parking the car in front of the building where we were supposed to be almost an hour earlier.
Then, I realized there is always someone up there, watching over us. We were lucky to be interviewed by a nice immigration officer that understood our ordeal, sneaked us between other appointments that didn't show off and, at the end of the afternoon, extended his arm to congratulate us and may be, even said the traditional phrase: "Welcome to America".
MDH: De he really said it?
Me: I don't remember? Everything was so blurred in that moment. I think even my strong accent did pretty good.
MDH: We did it.
Me: Yes, we did it. What did he asked you? Tell me! Tell me all the details?
MDH: (silence) (mute)
Me, shaking his arm: C'Mom, tell me!
MDH: I don't remember. I am still trying trying to breath. I just can not believe it.
Heavy sight. Both of us.
Cellphones started ringing like crazy. Sisters in laws and friends calling from Miami. Aunt and cousin calling from Spain. Suegra calling from Holland. More relatives calling from Germany.
Friends from neighboring town getting ready the barbecue.
Noise, craziness, comelatas, a lot of work and huges sacrifices are the backbone of our lives.