San Francisco, USA
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.
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.
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.