Friday, October 23, 2015

Becoming an American & A Patriotic Look



Dress: Calvin Klein - no longer available (similar styles: 1, 2, 3, 45)
  Shoes: Ann Klein - old (similar styles: here + here)
Bag: Nine West - old (similar styles: here + here)
Earrings: Majorica   ||   Bracelet: Nina    
Nail polish: Essie 'Chinchilly' (pedi)  ||  Sunglasses: Tory Burch (shown in last photo)

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HELLO Lovelies! It's been a while since I sat down to write a post here. I try to keep Facebook and Instagram current as they're quick tools for sharing but I've really missed spending more time here on my blog. I apologize for being such a sporadic blogger over the past year or more, life with a baby-turned-toddler and becoming a new mother in general has been such a wonderful experience but a totally new balancing act for me. After two years of having my Lily at home all to myself, we just enrolled our sweet girl in a wonderful private school and she is loving it and doing so well! She really craves being around other kids at this age (I can't believe how fast she is growing before my very eyes!) She began her first full day class on Monday and it has been amazing to see how much more free time I have to get work and other house-related things accomplished. During the past few weeks I've been working on some new post topics and I'm really excited about spending more time writing here and posting more consistently. I would love to share daily, since I'm just getting back into the swing of things, to start I'm aiming for 3 posts per week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday so I hope you'll join me here again and know that I haven't dropped off the map! ;) Also, if there are some post topics that you'd love to read about, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. I'd love to hear from you!!

Onto some recent news....Many of you, especially if you've been following along here for a while, know that I'm Canadian and moved down south to Florida after marrying my husband nearly a decade ago. I'm excited and so proud to announce that as of  2 weeks ago, after living in the U.S. for 9 years I'm now officially an American Citizen!! Below I'm sharing a peek into my celebratory morning.



We made our patriotic look a family affair. 
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Home countries were called alphabetically one by one, with all remaining to stand until the end when all countries had been announced. Here I'm clapping for and representing Canada!
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Excited to get started! Hubby was snap happy while waiting for everyone to arrive.

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Raising my right hand during the oath.
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My sweetie pea patiently sitting in her stroller (although not looking too happy here)
waiting for and watching mama. She'd rather be exploring the room ;)

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Lily's Dress: Janie & Jack (spring style - no longer available)
  Sandals: Cherokee (summer style - no longer available)
Bow Clip: Janie & Jack (spring color-no longer available)
Stroller: UppaBaby Vista (available in several colors)

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The Master of Ceremonies congratulating me on becoming a citizen.
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Receiving my Certificate of Citizenship. Next up: order my new passport + register to vote!
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After applying for immigration and obtaining my work permit, I was pretty content with being a Permanent Resident and living in the U.S. I honestly had no real intentions of becoming a citizen at that time, it felt as though I'd be betraying my beloved birth country plus we had discussed potentially moving to Canada at some point in the future so I didn't feel the need. However, as time progressed Paul was applying for jobs in various countries and I realized that it would make it tricky for me to live there with him given the length you can leave and reenter the U.S. is six months. It wasn't until the birth of our daughter, Lily (who recently turned 2), that I realized I was the odd one out as she was born in this country as was my hubby. While I cared for her on my own here at five months of age while my husband took a position in China for 6 months, I knew going forward that I didn't want to relive that solo parenting lifestyle again and any future working/living abroad would need to be done as a family unit for everyone's sake.

So, back in July I began the process of applying for my Citizenship, biometrics (fingerprinting) and then I awaited for my big interview + civics test. I learned a lot about America's history prepping for the test and after being told that I had passed and would be recommended for approval, I left knowing that the final step was just around the corner-the citizenship ceremony! I had thought it would be several weeks before the date would be set, however, being the planner that I am I wanted to get a jump on my attire, so I initially bought this dress. My goal was to find a red, white and blue look for the day however, I realized after the fact that this particular dress was actually black instead of navy upon closer look but it's so pretty that it's a keeper. When I received my instruction letter just six days before the actual ceremony (which was only 10 days after my interview-so quick!), I knew the dress I ordered wasn't going to arrive in time because of where it was shipping from. Given my time crunch, I decided to buy locally. When I came across a military-inspired Calvin Klein dress, it checked all the boxes I was looking for: fit perfectly without needing alterations, was navy and worked within my budget (I scored it on sale for $50)! It's perfect to wear into the cooler months of fall as well as early winter here and is totally different than any of the other dresses I own.











When we left our house early in the morning it was already insanely humid and hotter than I was expecting (into the 90's at 8am! That's 'normal' by Florida standards during fall though) so we preferred mainly taking photos indoors (please excuse the darker/somewhat fuzzy photos as hubby isn't used to using my camera.). I had also intended to give my bare nails a deep red mani for a more polished look before we left however, my little one woke up earlier than expected and kind of took over my morning while her daddy was on a conference call but what can you do right? ;) Including myself there were 68 people from 28 different countries who all became American Citizens locally here on Oct.9th-it was a neat experience! Lily was entertained with her favorite sticker activity book (that I've now bought her for the second time because she loves it that much). Seriously, if you have a toddler-get it.) as Paul looked on and snapped some pics. I had to laugh though because at one point when it was quiet, Lily looked up and said, "Mama? Where's Mama?" Bless her little heart, she was so quiet and well behaved for over an hour sitting in her stroller next to daddy.

There were a few times during the ceremony that I felt myself tear up and get emotional, in thinking back on my own journey and all of the steps involved but as they played a video in the background of what citizenship means to some (mainly for those who have overcome so much more than relocating within their own continent-who learned English as a new language, gained freedom that they never knew in their birth country, the new opportunities they had access to that they never knew possible before and how they had traveled so much further to even enjoy this day that we shared in common). I feel so incredibly grateful and blessed to be a dual citizen, to have the ability to live and work in another country and now call both countries home!

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Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness!

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Later that evening Paul suggested that we celebrate as a family and headed out for dinner to Disney's Polynesian Hotel where we each had a delicious noodle dish at Kona Cafe followed by the best view of a spectacular fireworks display from Magic Kingdom which was done as part of  Mickey's not-so-scary party, which we could see across the lake where we were. That's one of the perks of living in the Orlando area, you're able to see fireworks any night of the week. We tend to frequent a lot of local hotels and resort properties, we just lucked out that it was a Friday night and they were having an extra special finale and that I was able to catch a few of them via camera and phone. It was the perfect end to a great day!



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I wanted to say 'Thank You' to the many of you who left such kind congratulatory messages via Facebook and Instagram the day I shared this news-I really appreciate your thoughtful words as it was a special day indeed. :)


Thanks so much for Reading!

XO

13 comments:

  1. Congratulations on becoming a U.S. citizen. You did it the right way!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. Congratulations! Though one thing to consider as an American citizen, should you ever work in another country: The U.S. Is one of the only countries that require you to pay full income taxes on your salary if you get a job in another country. For example, if you get an expat assignment in Ireland, you will be required to pay full income taxes to the U.S. On your Irish-earned income, plus Irish income taxes -- essentially being taxed twice. It becomes very difficult to make a decent wage as an American expat because of this. Also, if you ever move back to Canada and get a job there, as a U.S. Citizen, you will be required to pay the U.S. Taxes on that Canadian-earned income. This is one of the few reasons we've been wary about pursuing expat assignments, even though we'd love an international experience.

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    1. I do think there is some exemption up to a certain amount of income, but it would still be very expensive given our situation.

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    2. Hi There! Thank you so much for sharing this information, I'll be sure to look into it further. I have a family member who was born in another country and is now an American Citizen also, she is pretty well versed as it pertains to taxation and the laws surrounding it so I'll be sure to ask her about it. :) I considered many things before making this decision but this was not something that I realized would be an issue. It's certainly no fun being taxed twice. Warmly, Karla

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  3. Great photo's of your special day Karla; I have memorial photos when I became a dual citizen of Canada from the US...it was an awesome day!

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    1. That's awesome, Sherry! Congratulations on becoming a dual Citizen also! :)

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  4. Cute photos :)
    BLOG M&MFASHIONBITES : http://mmfashionbites.blogspot.gr/
    Maria V.

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  5. Congratulations on becoming a U.S. Citizen!!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. Thank you also for your blog! It is always so refreshing and delightful to read your posts - I look forward to the three new weekly posts that you are aiming to write :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your congratulatory words and also your kind sentiments. Your sweet comment made my evening! Since becoming less consistent in posting, I don't receive as many comments these days and I often wonder if anyone is reading what I'm sharing and it's so nice to hear that you are enjoying them. I'll have a focus for each particular day's post so readers like yourself will know what to expect and when, then going forward beyond that I hope to publish daily content. Have a wonderful weekend! ~Warmly, Karla

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Thanks for stopping by, your comments make my day! I read every single one and will answer any questions you have. I hope you'll visit again soon! :)

Warmly,
Karla

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