By Rozenia Marinho, Media Center Manager, James White Library, Andrews University
Have you ever wanted something very badly and saw someone get it without any effort or desire? When it comes to being an American citizen, the reverse is true for me. In many ways I easily fell in to US citizenship, something that many people around the world are passionately seeking. As a proud Brazilian who loves my country, I never planned to live in the US, much less become a US citizen. However, I came here in December 1997, got my MA in Curriculum & Instruction, and went back home to Brazil in 2004 believing that I would never come back. Instead, two years later, I was back, and in 2007, the same year I got a job at James White Library, I also got my Green Card. In December 2013, I applied for my citizenship, and in September 2014, I got my U.S. passport! I did not have to give up my Brazilian citizenship, which for me was great.
It sounds like things were pretty effortless, but I argue that what looks easy on the outside was not without personal cost. When I think of the many winter days I had to endure compared to the warm weather back home the sacrifice feels real. I also remember missing all my family’s parties and reunions, or not being able to drink a glass of fresh coconut water by the beach every Sunday. In the States, I had to give up enjoying different types of fresh fruit juice and many fresh-fruit ice cream types, as well as Brazilian food. I would often think about and miss my undergraduate teaching career and my students, and felt so limited with my English vocabulary, feeling embarrassed, ashamed and even humiliated sometimes.
For me, the feeling of effort, or not so much effort, depends on the way you see your life. I choose to see my life from the perspective of how much God blesses me. I believe He takes care of me wherever I am. And my extra special blessing now is my grandson–an American boy.
May God bless America!