Woot! I'm Finally A US Citizen!

San Francisco, USA

FInally a US citizen

Last Wednesday 800 plus people from 95 countries gathered together in an old theatre in Oakland to become US’ newest citizens. I was one of them.

So yeah, that was a pretty exciting day. For many of us, it marked the end of a long journey filled with paperwork, countless appointments, and shady lawyers.

The fact is still sinking in and I go back and forth feeling either ecstatic or sad. Ecstatic because I feel that my adopted country has finally adopted me back.

I’ve spent half of my adult life here and I’ve embraced many of this country’s ways. Seeing avocado as a vegetable for example;

(Where I grew up avocado is strictly dessert material. We’d make avocado smoothies with pineapple chunks, coconut slices, and a dash of condensed chocolate milk. It took me 10 years to try guacamole.)

and I laugh (maybe too loud) at memes like this.

kansas

Sad because even though it wasn’t a goodbye, it was still one more tie to my birth country, my past, severed.

But right now it’s not the time to look at the past. I won’t bore you with the details of my immigration story (you can read a little bit about that here), but I will tell you that this will have such a HUGE impact on my future travels.

HUGE.

A lot of places in the world were closed up to me before because I needed a visa. I could name every single country I could visit without a visa on an Indonesian passport – the list is that short. Not being a home owner and traditionally employed made a tourist visa that much more difficult to get.

But now? I can pretty much go anywhere I want. New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia, Argentina, France…

It’s like stepping into a Walmart Superstore for the first time after having only shopped at 7-11’s. Where do you even begin?

The options are paralyzing. I’m simply giddy with the possibilities.

Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, or…? What should the first stamp on my US passport be?

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14 Replies to “Woot! I'm Finally A US Citizen!”

  1. If you are happy I’m also happy for you!!!. You may be able to keep your Indonesian citizenship. As for me I have three passports so far: Peruvian, Australian and American, the more the merrier and the easier to travel.
    I love your writing style and your great pictures. And if you ever make it to Chicago let me know to introduce you to Peruvian food using avocados stuffed with chicken or vegetables as an appetizer, yummy!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and the offer – I’ll keep that in mind and take you up on it if I’m in Chicago 🙂

  2. Woop! Yey Jill! I can imagine just how excited it is for you – all those travel possibilities! Enjoy it 😉

  3. Come and see meeeeee in Taiwan!!! Seriously.

    And CONGRATULATIONS on becoming a US Citizen! My passport is officially the best to hold in the world (along with Swedish and Finnish ones), so I can’t relate to the likes of visa troubles really, but I’m so glad that your new passport opens up a whole host of opportunities without nightmarish paperwork or boring bureaucracy.

    1. Are you in Taipei? Careful of what you wish for – I often have long layovers in Taipei on my way to Indonesia, so I’ll keep that in mind 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Jill! Your smile in that opening photo says it all 🙂 I can’t wait to see what exciting new adventures you get up to!

  5. Wonderful news!!!! So happy the world has opened even wider for you and your spirit of adventure!
    Looking forward to beautiful photos and news of your latest travels. You go girl!!!!! 😀

  6. Congratulations!!! I totally feel you. I’ve been in the US for 10 years and 2 more to go until I will get the little blue book. Hopefully my travels will not interrupt this already time consuming process.

  7. Hip hip hooray, Jill! I understand what a bittersweet moment this must have been to you, but having that passport definitely opens up a whole new world of adventures to you… literally! No matter where you go next, it will certainly be cause to celebrate!

  8. Yay! Congrats! I know the feeling too well! Not gonna lie, I LOVE having a Canadian passport and not having to endure stares/discriminating questions from border agents AND it feels awesome to be able to just pick-up and leave without worrying about visas (to most countries, at least).

    Lastly, SOUTH AFRICA, of course, SOUTH AFRICA!

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