Monday, April 4, 2016

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

An important milestone happened in my life last week.

Getting our Certificate of Citizenship

I became a U.S. Citizen!

I know that most of you are born here in the U.S. and do not know what it takes to become a full-pledged citizen of this great nation.

Our story wasn't tainted with any drama or sad story (luckily), ours was simple and definitely almost the same as anyone else's who came to call this country home - we wanted to have the BEST LIFE we could possibly provide for our family.

Our Welcome Packet

To make a long story short, my husband came here first in 2004 on  a Working Visa, I followed in 2006 on a separate working visa. My husband eventually qualified and changed our visa to an O visa (visa for extraordinary ability), and eventually we applied for Permanent Residence Status (Green Card Status), and then finally 5 years after that, we applied for our Citizenship.

So you can imagine how long our wait was. 
But then again, you may be wondering WHY would we want to change our citizenship in the first place? True, we could continue living in the United States for as long as we wanted legally with our Green card, so why?

Welcome Letter from The President
Aside from the fact that as a citizen we can now VOTE, the United States is now MY HOME TOO.
And I want to participate, contribute, gripe and complain as much as anyone out there!
I want to live my life to the fullest and best way possible with all the unalienable rights that go with it! I know that the certificate is just that, a certificate, but it is the validation of  everything we've worked so hard for for this country and it's people.  

We had our ceremony in a small town High school in Illinois, attended by some friends and the sophomore class of that same high school.

We weren't expecting much with the ceremony, but it ended up being a very beautiful, meaningful and poignant day for all of us sworn in that day...

Parade of Colors by the Junior ROTC
Lovely songs sung by the Mascoutah HS Choir
"Star Spangled Banner", "America the Beautiful" & "God Bless America"
There were 61 immigrants (10 were physicians) from 28 nations that day.  There was a refugee, now citizen, Guest speaker who gave a wonderful speech about making her "Set-BACK" into a "Set-UP". 

The Judge had us all speak one by one, briefly of course,  about who we were, where we came from and how we felt.  And when my turn came, I almost cried (some did too - you can watch it HERE if you want to see).

Of course, though I consider myself an American now, I will always be a FILIPINO-AMERICAN.
My Filipino heritage is ingrained in ME, in who I am.
 I am just lucky and BLESSED to be both!

Welcome committee from the Daughters of the American Revolution welcoming
us with gifts and greetings.
First Selfie as an American with our friend Dr. Garrido who became
a citizen that day too

And now that the Oath is done and everything is official, I hope that I, along with my family continue to contribute, give and serve this great country we call home!



 Would love to hear your thoughts! Please share away...


  1. CONGRATULATIONS! I'm so happy you are very excited and overjoyed to have become a citizenship of such a great country as the USA is!
    I am happy for you both and I'm sure the USA is very happy that a wonderful, young, intelligent and achieved couple like you 'also' chose the United States to be your country!

  2. Congratulations!!! What a special day!

    The Glam Pad

  3. Oh my gosh Vel, this is so wonderful! I'm so happy for you and your family. :)

  4. Oh Vel I just teared up reading this! Big congratulations- I'm so happy for you both. I didn't realize how long it takes to go through the process. What a special day for you all- I can imagine how emotional it all was. Thank you for sharing this personal and special moment in your lives. God Bless the USA!

  5. Congratulations on becoming a United States Citizen. America is proud to have you!! Beautiful post!! God Bless!!

  6. Congratulations! Proud to be an American...

  7. Oh my goodness, so wonderful and touching!! Congratulations!!

  8. I'm so happy for you and your wonderful family, Vel! Congratulations to both you and your husband, and thank you for sharing this milestone with us. Smiling from ear to ear after reading this! :)

  9. Congratulations Vel!! What a wonderful way to celebrate...surrounded by students. I bet you know more about the country now than they do after all of your hard work and studying!! :)

  10. Congratulations! This is wonderful news and I know how hard it is to do this. I was born here and I don't think I could pass the test. I did laugh a little bit when you said your husband came here in 2004 and I thought gee that was only a couple of years ago - shows my age! Again congratulations.

  11. Oh, Vel! I'm so proud of you and congratulations! Probably most of us didn't know you weren't a citizen. Again, congratulations!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  12. Congratulations Vel! I'm so happy for you and your family. What a wonderful way to celebrate your citizenship. :)

  13. Congratulations to you. I share in your excitement!

  14. I have chills, Vel. A huge congratulations, and I love seeing your images!!

  15. Congratulations and welcome to citizenship. It is a precious gift. As the BIble tells us that to whom much is given, much is expected. We all need to hear stories like yours.

  16. Congratulations Vel!! I am so proud of your and your husband!

  17. That's so exciting and inspiring, Vel. Congratulations!

  18. I am so happy for you, Vel...congratulations! I'm off to see your link and words.

    My brother in law came from Ireland 15 years ago and received his citizenship two years ago. It was solemn, touching and then crazy happy!!

    I am very proud of our country and that so many want to be part of the United States! Again, congrats and hugs! :)


  19. Congratulations!!! What a wonderful day for your great family! All the best to all of U!!!

  20. Congratulations! God bless you too!

  21. Congratulations to you and your husband! Take care, Maria

  22. Congratulations to you and your husband on becoming American citizens! I watched your naturalization ceremony and I was so moved listening to the stories of your fellow citizens; it actually brought me to tears! Congratulations again and thank you for sharing your special moment with us!

  23. Dear Vel, What a poignant and memorable occasion. A proud memory to cherish forever. Congratulations!

    The Arts by Karena

  24. Oh my word, this is so exciting. I am so thrilled for you. Congratulations!!!!

  25. How awesome that is for both of you! Congratulations fellow American citizen!

  26. Congratulations! I know you work hard as a doc and you've been part of the American life, so it's great that it's now "official".

  27. Congratulations, Vel! Such a special day for you and your husband!!

  28. Aww Congrats Vel! I am so happy for you and your husband and family! :0)
    Thanks for your lovely visit today. I hope you have a wonderful week and weekend.
    Julie xo

  29. Congratulations, Vel! Thank you for sharing your experience with us - it is very interesting to hear about the process. And, by the way, I love your dress! :)

    Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo

  30. Congratulations! I'm super happy for you!

  31. A standing ovation is occurring in Texas!!!! God Bless American and you and your family Vel. This was such a beautiful and inspiring post. Live the dream!

  32. Congratulations Vel! I know by going through the same experience, what an important moment this is.

  33. Congratulations Vel!! What an exciting time for you and your husband and friend! I loved your touching post, I wouldn't have been able to keep it together!

  34. Big congratulations, my friend!!! I became a citizen when I turned 21....a long time ago, haha. xoxo, L

  35. Congratulations to you and your husband. How exciting! My husband went through the same long process to be a citizen and there was a lot of waiting for both of us so we understand how emotional and excited you feel. Once again, congratulations, I am so thrilled for you guys!


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