Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Today the Third Graders are celebrating a Christmas party with their RSCJ readers. We are only about six or seven this year but I know the party will be fun and it is so nice to see our Third Graders when we can just enjoy them. They are all so interesting.
Last Wednesday, my nephew's wife came in time for our noon meal and then I drove back to Fairfax with her so that I could see their home which they have been remodeling since I was there in 2013. Gaby is very creative and artistic and they have finished the lower floor so it is really lovely. Their house is way up on top of a hill with a gorgeous view. I managed to climb the hill and went first to the lower floor which now has gorgeous hardwood floors, a combined bedroom, sitting room, a small room made into closet space, a large bathroom, a "viewing room" for movies or TV, and some storage space that will some day house the inside staircase that needs yet to be built. There are new, huge windows downstairs so you now can see the gorgeous view. Upstairs is going to be worked on but I love it as it is except that the floors need to be sanded or whatever they are going to do. The kitchen is small, the living, dining room is lovely with windows giving a view on three sides; the other room is the guest bedroom and bath which I hope they will keep as is. Outside is lovely, too , with plants and porches, and room to sit and enjoy life. On Thursday morning we left the house around 7:10 in the morning to go to Oakland where the ceremony for our new American citizens was held in a lovely theater. The 1,309 who were to take the oath to become citizens of the United States were seated downstairs; everyone else was in the balcony above and Blase and I were in the second row. We arrived an hour ahead, but the crowd was immense. At 9:15 the ceremony began and it was so well-planned and all went so well that we were out by 11:30. First they showed the flags of all the countries represented as the applicants were from 86 different countries; Mexico had the largest number with 22, China had 21, and then India and I did not hear the other countries, but I thought that I cannot identify flags of most of the countries and it would be a good project for someone to study the flags of the 41 countries where the Society of the Sacred Heart is so we would know them. After instructions about registering to vote, changing Social Security card, and how to apply for a passport, we had a short speech, the oath, the pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and then the giving of the certificates that prove they are now United States citizens. It was very moving and I forgot about the choral group that sang for 20 minutes at the beginning. We all stood and sang the national anthem at one point before the end. I am so glad I was there for Gaby and we went to a celebration lunch afterwards at a wonderful little place called "Small Wonder" and we were the only ones there so it was quite special.
These celebrations are held every month in different places with often over 1,000 applicants, I think. Each needs to pay $800 to become a citizen so that, of course, keeps some of our immigrants from applying.