So Guys, I promised to you update you regarding my Oath Ceremony, arrived there around half an hour before. We were told to wait in the room where you normally go for an info pass. In the room was other people waiting for their ceremony and their family and friends. The Oath Ceremony letter asked us to fill in info, but my husband didn't think I should sign it until I went into the Oath Ceremony room, however when we lined up to go in we were told to fill it in and sign it.
There were 23 of us that were to become citizens, I think from around 19 countries. We lined up to hand in our completed letter/form and to hand in our GC's. I had to be a smart ### and say if I give you my GC back will you give me a refund for the cost of it? Too which the reply from the centre manager was there is something far better for you.
So we sat down, the people taking their Oath were in the middle seats and the relatives and friends were at the back and sides of the room. The ceremony began and the Manager asked for everyone to turn their phones off. It started off with a video of immigrants arriving in the USA through the ages, only a phone had rang just before and there was this woman sat there having a full blown conversation with someone. We couldn't concentrate on the video and everyone turned around to glare at her, but she carried on with her chat oblivious. The manager walked over to her, whispered to her and then took her out, I looked through the glass door and he was obviously telling her off. My husband apparently cried when he saw the immigrant video as his great grand parents came through Ellis Island.
Then the National Anthem was sang. After the manager made the welcoming remarks and said he would invite us later to make a speech, even if it was to thank our families. He said he would do a roll call by country. Great I thought, I will be near the end being the UK. I was sat there with the big envelope they give you with the ceremony events, passport application etc. Well blow me down with a feather they called out the UK first. I thought? And I got all flustered trying to put my stuff on the chair to stand up, they called out the other countries out and each time their was clapping. I thought that was weird and the manager then took the stand and said sorry Argentina and Australia, I know you're normally first but I thought we would go backwards this time.
So then we said the Oath of Allegiance and the manager said after it, Congratulations you are now American Citizens. I can't tell you the emotions at that moment, I wasn't expecting it so soon, but the sheer enormity of it all was quite overwhelming.
Then we were asked to say something, two men arose and said a speech, nice speeches and then I said from my chair, can I say something, but I am not getting up. I was told I could stay in my seat and say something. I thanked my husband and I thanked my local field office for always being kind and courteous. The manager said thanks we are so use to getting negative comments and complaints. People then started smirking. He also said in his opening speech to the ones becoming citizens, you Guys are special you have been through years of immigration and obstacles, you probably know immigration inside out and have a PHD in it by now, to which everyone laughed out a loud, but he said, you made it!
There was a video from the President, a speech about voting from a womens group giving us advice and then the presentation of our certificates with photographs. It was an amazing time, it was a lovely ceremony. It was very special. I did notice too that there was two people at the office in Pittsburgh becoming citizens from Virginia and another one from Maryland. I don't know how that happens, but the person from Maryland (a woman, I might add was in the armed forces).
After the ceremony we filled in our voters forms and then my husband and I went to apply for a passport, apparently in Pittsburgh you need to book it online in advance. However, the next day I found out my local library takes applications and I didn't need an appointment. We sent it off on the Thursday paid for 2-3 weeks processing and I received it a week later on the Saturday, it was so quick.
Any way I hope anyone having their ceremony soon, has one like mine, it was perfect, it was just a lovely, couldn't wish for better really.