I have always been an American. Even though as a child I had a green card
with my picture on it, I never considered myself anything but American. I became a
naturalized citizen on the United States in my early 20’s. I have lived my whole life
as an American.
I am not sure exactly which year I changed in my longing of wanting to fill a
void. A void of a puzzle piece of me is missing. The last few years I have felt it. I was
longing to have a connection, a bond of a part of who I was in connection of where I
was from. Where I was born. I was born in Grantham, England, and came to the
United States just before I turned three years old on the Queen Elizabeth 1 with my
parents and siblings.
I have lived a life of work, marriage, having and raising children and now I
discover there is a part of me missing. I wanted and needed to know and feel my
birthplace of England. There is a part of me that is British. I even changed the voice
of my GPS to a voice of a British man a few years back. I wanted to meet my
relatives across the pond. Who is that part of me?
Last year about this time a recent Ada graduate had come to speak to my
writing class at Smith. In her conversation she mentioned she had done a summer
program abroad the previous year at Oxford University in England. My ears caught
those words and when I went home that evening I googled it. I found out I had two
weeks to apply. I did not know how I was going to pull it off, but only that I was
After getting accepted I worked on raising the funds. I then applied for
something I had wanted to do for many years. I applied for my British passport,
which would give me dual citizenship since having a British passport means you are
a British Citizen.
Last summer I lived abroad for eight weeks in the UK. I extended my stay to
visit the relatives whom I had been longing to meet. I visited an old church in a small
village that my parents got married in over 60 years ago. I visited the flat in Sleaford
where we lived when I was a baby before we came to the States. I went back to my
roots, I embraced my British side.
Who am I? I am a British and an American citizen. I have filled that void and
found that puzzle piece in England.