One of my favorite things is my subscription to Real Simple. Chock full of simple, down-to-earth ways to make life easier, this magazine makes me smile whenever I read it. This month's issue highlights six women who became U.S. citizens during the past year. Reading their stories in the article titled Why I Became an American Citizen and learning the reasons why they chose to become naturalized citizens made me feel so very thankful for the opportunities I have here in the good ol' U.S. of A. What a blessed live I have here!
Here are the simple reasons:
Lorraine from Jamaica: "To life free of fear." "I had three locks on my bedroom door and slept with the lights on. That constant sense of danger wore me down." "Life in the United States has been good. In Jamaica there's a feeling that you shouldn't have certain ambitions or dreams, because you don't have any money or you're not from the right family. Here, I'm pursuing a nursing position, and my children...can do anything they want in future. We live in a little square box apartment, but they'll grow up knowing that every door is open to them."
Monika from India: "To be in a place where greatness is encouraged." "I like the candidness of the culture. I love being around people who are so ambitious and innovative--where the individual is celebrated. I like the positivity here, too. Sometimes I think Americans must have invented the exclamation point--it's their state of mind."
Than Than from Myanmar: "To escape oppression." "Despite the sadness that I knew i would endure when I left my loved ones. I wanted the freedom that America offered--for me and my kids, whom I am trying to bring here. ...the opportunities that exist here [are] worth any sacrifice."
Avishag from Israel: "To be with my soul mate." "The day I took the oath,... I was so excited. It had taken me many years to get to this point... It felt like a circle had closed: Now my husband and two kids... and I would all be citizens. Looking around the room that day with so many nationalities represented, I realized each of was closing his or her own circle. I hope all come to the same conclusion that...I did: that if you work hard in America, you will have a wonderful life."
Michele from Russia: "To break with my past." "Despite the sad stuff that happened in my past, I remain a big optimist. I like to think that's the American in me."
Maria from Peru: "To give my parents--and myself--a better life." "Many people come to America to help their families, but you have to help yourself, too. ...overall I love being an American. I love the fast pace of this culture, the ability to do a million things at once, and, most of all, the sense that there are infinite possibilities out there--all you have to do is grab hold of the one you want."
(Sloan, Carrie, Booth, Stephanie and Tate, Ashley. "Why I Became an American." Real Simple, July 2010: 186-192. Print.)
Happy Independence Day!