Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning. - Churchill
It has been a while since I posted anything on my site. Today was a great day for us. 11 years and 2 months, the amount of time it took for me to become a U.S citizen. This afternoon at the USCIS office in Durham NC, I and my wife underwent the Naturalization Oath Ceremony along with 51 other individuals from 30 nations and became a U.S Citizen. Everyone can see the excitement and jubilation "in the air". As a visual manifestation of how diverse the crowd was, the officer who lead the proceedings read off the names of all the different countries that were represented, asking people to stand up when their country was read. I felt proud as the name of my first country Pakistan was called. I won't go into all the details of the proceeding but it was definitely an amazing experience. After ceremony, seeing everyone accepting their certificates of citizenship, posing for pictures with the certificates proudly displayed, it was abundantly clear that we all felt a great sense of accomplishment, joy and pride. It was a moving experience that was also a great reminder of how difficult it was to get to this moment.
So, today, I am a citizen of United States of America. Today I felt that I have finally reached an end and feel like I've had a huge load lifted off my shoulders now that I'll never have to deal with U.S. immigration again, what a great feeling! I've lived in this country for more than 11 years, took care of my family, owned a house, paid my taxed every year, completed two master degrees and eagerly waited for the time when I can apply for citizenship. And now that the moment has finally come, the one thing I can safely say I feel is "relief," an emotion I'm sure is shared by others who joined me in taking the Oath today.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty"