Getting Ready for My U.S. Citizenship

Why did I want to get my U.S. Citizenship? 

I wanted to have more opportunities.

by Maria C.

When I became a resident through my husband, my first goal was to drive. I needed to drive to work and to take my daughters to school and to appointments. I was nervous and scared to take my driving test. I got my license in 2014.

My next goal was to improve my English. I went to school in the mornings in Morgan Hill for one year. It was fun to see new words but it was hard. When my mother died I felt bad and did not go to school for a while. I wished I had sponsored my mother to come to the U.S, but I was not a citizen. That was my next goal, citizenship. I want to sponsor my dad.

I saw my English class friend at my child’s school and at the store. She told me, she and her husband got free tutoring at the library. I phoned Nathalie at the Reading Program and she gave me an appointment. About two months later she phoned me back and said Betsy would call me.  We talked and agreed to meet at Morgan Hill library.

It was good to learn English. I needed it for my citizenship. Part of every meeting we worked on my citizenship. We used the book Nathalie gave us. It looked thick! I worried I could not learn it all. I thought, “Puedo hacerlo.” At first I thought, “This is hard.” The book was in English and was full of new information.  It was hard to remember all the numbers and names.

One thing that helped was the question and answer cards Betsy made. It helped that Betsy made fun of English when she explained. We looked at a funny three point rusty fork that a Civil War soldier really used. I liked looking at the bills with presidents’ pictures and the coin with Susan B Anthony. My daughters came to some tutoring meetings and helped with the Susan B Anthony lesson. 

I studied six months and Betsy said I was ready. I filled in my big application and got together the money. It was a lot. Juan, a citizenship advocate at the church sent it in for me. In May, I got my fingerprints done at the immigration office. We kept working on the citizenship questions.

I felt nervous because I needed to pass for my opportunities and for my dad. My husband and Betsy believed in me. My daughters believed in me. They wondered why I had a different colored passport than they had. What would my daughters think if I did not pass the exam?

I had to wait to October to get my exam. I felt nervous and scared. My husband came with me.  My examiner looked like a nice person. When I looked at her, my nervousness passed. I felt safe and sure of myself. I did not make mistakes. She said, “Congratulations.” I made passport photos and gave them to the office. We celebrated with our daughters and Betsy and her husband. At my ceremony, I felt happy and nervous. My husband and daughters took the day off work and school. There were so many people I was scared my husband and daughters could not come in. They DID get in. I saw them in the balcony.

I invite other people to get their citizenship. It is hard work and scary. Think, “Puedo hacerlo.”     
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