My Own Ellis Island
Well it took 36 years, but I guess I am finally an official citizen of the United States of America. Never mind the fact that I was forced to register for the draft when I turned 18. Don't worry about the fact that I've voted in numerous elections over the past 18 years. Yesterday I became officially official.
The confusion all started when my mother, born and raised in Texas, married my father who was born and raised in Canada, but long before I was born became an American citizen. After living in Texas, New Hampshire and Kentucky and having two children, they decided to move back to Canada. Port Hope, Ontario to be exact. That's when I came along. However, six months later they packed up the family and moved back to Texas.
Because I was born on foreign soil, but born to parents who were both American citizens, I figured I could claim dual citizenship or I was simply a US citizen. When I visited Canada, I just showed them my birth certificate and they welcomed me in. When I returned to the states, I simply explained that while I was born in Canada, I was born to two US citizens, and they welcomed me home. Mexico, it seemed, couldn't care less about my citizenship and just wanted my money. I never went anywhere else.
Then came September 11, 2001. I have not crossed a border since.
Now Stephanie and I are dreaming about making a trip to Europe next year, so I need a passport. Alas, my original birth certificate is nowhere to be found. I have a copy of it and an original certificate from the Canadian Consulate saying my parents were indeed both American citizens living in Canada when I was born. However, after a very confusing conversation with a lady at the post office, she told me I had to have the hospital where I was born send me an original birth certificate. This was no easy task, but after digging around the internet and making numerous phone calls to Canada, it was accomplished.
So yesterday I returned triumphantly to the post office. The lady was not there, but I was met by an older gentleman with a long ponytail and a beard. He was very laid back and told me he had been working in the passport office for 25 years. I told him my story and gave him all of my documentation. Turns out, the document I had from the Consulates office was all he needed! Within 5 minutes, the paperwork was done and he had me raise my right hand and swear that I wasn't a terrorist (or something like that). After the oath he shook my hand and said dryly, "Congratulations. You're an American citizen."
God bless America.