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Posts Tagged With: immigrant

32 and 9 and still new

32 years ago I immigrated to the United States with $178 and a guitar.

9 years ago I stepped forward with 78 others to take the Oath of Citizenship.

It was one of the proudest and most emotional  moments of my life.

(more about my journey here.)

You see, someday I will be a citizen for 15 or 20 or 35 years and I’ll still choose to tell folks that I’m a “new” citizen.

Why?

Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it.    The choice of it.

We’re not perfect, this country, we’ve got our flaws.  Like most families, there’s bickering and divisions and  always someone willing to point out what’s wrong with us … but still … there’s a heart and soul about America that continues to inspire people to imagine a life here.

* * * *

God Bless America, Land that I love

Stand beside her,  and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above

From the mountains..to the prairies

To the oceans..White with foam

God Bless America!

    My Home Sweet Home

Happy birthday, America …. from a grateful citizen.

 

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Categories: Attitude, Faith, Holidays, Home, News, Opinion, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random 5 – Landmarks, Adventures, Immigrants and Connections

So I’m home for a few days before I blast off again (~sigh).  I enjoy what I do but I miss my home.  However, this is my “Triple Crown” week – the last of three with me traveling, yay! With that, here are my random observations over the past seven days:

1) Flying into Newark a week ago, I looked up from my book to take in a birds-eye view of One World Trade Center.  *Chills*.  The last time I was in the NY metro area, I was on a flight bound for Texas.  Oldest boy and I were moving with my job, Hubbs and I had fallen in love but were still just dating, albeit long-distance.  When I last looked out at that skyline …. our towers were still there.   And then, off to the right, I saw her – Lady Liberty.   And that new tower and her presence gave me comfort.

lady liberty

2. I’ve written a lot about saying YES to things I want to do – experiences, relationships, you name it.  First, I had to learn how to say “no,” and doing that helped me make space for more joy.  My flight got into D.C. early enough on Sunday that I had several hours to explore The Smithsonian Museums or stay in my room and work.  It didn’t take me long to head out into the throngs of people!

the count

Imagine my delight at discovering “The Count” at the Museum of American History? 🙂

3.  During a chat with a Senate staffer Tuesday a colleague and I were given passes to the Senate and House Galleries.   Several layers of security screenings later we found ourselves up in the Senate chamber watching votes being cast.  No pictures allowed and when I began jotting down names of Senators –  Stabenow, Peters, Paul, Franken, McCain, McDonnell, Feinstein and more …I felt a tap on my shoulder and a directive to stop writing.  Oops.  It was kind of like when you go on vacation, sometimes it’s best to just put the camera down and let your mind freeze frame the moment.  Later, as we exited the Capitol, we stepped out into a sea of K9 units, with barriers up and police officers everywhere — there had been a threat called in and the response was immediate.    This is a photos I was allowed to snap – Justice and History.    It’s fitting I think.

History and Justice sculpture_the Capitol

The sculpture Justice and History is located above the Senate bronze doors on the Capitol’s East Front. The draped female figures of Justice and History recline against a globe. Justice holds a book inscribed “Justice / Law / Order” in her left hand; her right hand rests on a pair of scales. History holds a scroll inscribed “History / July / 1776.”  source: http://www.aoc.gov

4.  We took taxis everywhere and I have a stack of receipts several inches high to show for it.  When the opportunity presented itself, I asked my drivers about their lives as I could tell most were immigrants.  I led with the fact I had been an immigrant once and sharing that opened the floodgates to conversation.  The countries they came from (Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria,  Zimbabwe) were different from mine but their story was not.  Many spoke of previous careers as engineers, scientists, and mechanics.  All spoke of their families, hopes, dreams and happiness at just being here.  If you ever find yourself disillusioned with the state of things, take a taxi ride with a Ghanian engineer who plays classical music while joyfully pointing out landmarks and incredulity at his “most lucky life.” -Direct quote.

taxi

5.  A highlight of the week was meeting my blogging friend Dianna and her husband, Motor Man, on Thursday.   Last year when I blogged about visiting D.C. she mentioned they lived nearby (a 3 hour drive!) and that she’d love to meet up.  I tucked that comment away and this year, as my trip approached, I made contact and soon plans were formed.  It’s difficult to put into words what our meeting meant to me.  First I have to share Hubbs’ commentary: “You know this is how people go missing and end up dead, right?”  The same man who champions my work successes and pushes me to get in there and “show those boys how it’s done” was convinced meeting strangers was a terrible idea.  I couldn’t believe they were going to drive all that way for little old me!  And, when thinking about it, the only ones who ever had were: 1) Hubbs, 2) my sissy and 3) my cousin.

When I saw Dianna’s smiling face, we both rushed to share a hug and then another and maybe even a tear or two.  Over lunch, and in between a host of stories,  I spoke of Hubbs’ trepidation and her hubby teased “text him and tell him you’re in the trunk!” HA!   The conversation flowed, laughter came easily, and we talked about our backgrounds and updates on our lives and families.

Why did I make the trek to meet with people I don’t know? Here’s the rub: I did know.  I know, through her blog, that she is a loving wife to him and Momma bear to her son and others she cares for.  I know, through her encouraging words to me and others, that she is a kind and caring person.  I know, through our shared experiences and easy camaraderie, that she is someone with whom a soul connection just comes naturally.  Sometimes you just know and this was one of those times.

dbmj3-6-11-2015-12-39-28-pm1

Dianna & me. “Soul connections are not often found and are worth every bit of fight left in you to keep.” -Shannon L. Alder

And how was your week?  What have you said YES to lately?  Have you ever made a soul connection in an unusual way?  When was the last time you took a risk and how did it turn out?

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Friendship, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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