So you are Moving abroad and going to marry a US Citizen? Good Luck!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So you are Moving abroad and going to marry a US Citizen? Good Luck!
She’s from Mexico he’s from Nigeria
Dear  Engaged Couple-
     When I was in college I spent a year abroad in Montpellier, France.   I can’t say that I was homesick really.  I lived with a French couple and they had a son just a few years older than me.  He introduced me to his friends and there you go.  For a year I was a member of a French gang—well not really.  They too were students at the Universite de Montpellier. We weren’t into guns or knives or anything.  We just had a good time together.  The point I am trying to make here is that I did not phone home every other day.  I was not weepy.  I did not mope.  I was busy learning about France and hanging out with warm and friendly French people (it’s a myth that they are snooty, I promise). Now for the sake of this story, I need to give you one other tidbit of information.  The chateau in which I lived with my French family was quite a distance from the school I attended, so I bought myself a red mobylette—or motorbike.  Today I own a red Pontiac vibe—in memory of my very first motorized “wheels.”
I say I was not homesick but actually that is not the whole truth.  One day as I was scooting off on my mobylette after lunch in the “restaur U” (University cafeteria),  another student backed his car into me.  His car didn’t hit me hard, but it did knock me down so that one leg was pinned under the bike.   I had a serious gash in my knee, and I was afraid other serious injury had been done to my body. 
Within seconds I was surrounded by concerned French students all talking very excitedly at me, in French of course.  Although I had fairly good command of the language, I couldn’t understand any of the strings of words they uttered.   I just lay under my mobylette wishing to high heaven that my mother would suddenly appear:  “Poor thing.  I know you must hurt right now, but I’m going to make it alright.”
the groom is on the right.
Guess where he’s from?
I tell you this, because although living in another country is wonderful, and mind-expanding in a way that drugs could never be, it has a definite downside.  There will be times when you have to swallow your pride, since others in your adopted land will become impatient with you.  You will take too long to order your food at a restaurant for example, or need an explanation as to what the drycleaners means by “starch.”  They have a long line of people to serve and you are demurring over the menu or how you want your shirts cleaned.    And, God forbid you ever have to communicate with people from cable TV your internet server, your insurance company or your bank–unless you are from a Spanish speaking country.  In that case you may come out ok.  
This bride is a US citizen but her  parents came here from Italy.
Her groom is from Mexico.
Even your new found US friends may think you are a little slow, or odd. We all have traditions and customs specific to where we were raised.    For instance, in France it is common to deliver o a kiss on each cheek to a friend as a form of greeting.  I remember being so flustered the first time a female French friend leaned in to me to kiss me.  “What do you think you are DOING?!”  Finally, there will be times when you just want to hear your own language spoken. Like when you get hit by a car! In stressful situations, words spoken in your own language are like comfort food.  
This week I officiated at two weddings in which the bride was from another country.  Estefania is from Spain and Miki  is from Japan.  Their new husbands are both United States citizens.

Mosaic at the UN.  Title of the mosaic is
“the Golden Rule.”  It’s by Norman Rockwell.
Note the words near the bottom of the mosaic, “Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you.”  Amen

I wished them luck in trying to secure citizenship in our country.  I am sure that is going to be a supreme hassle in itself., undertaken in the name of love, of course.   I also silently wished them courage as they navigate what for them will surely seem a perplexing land. Still,  it is possible to create and be happy in a home away from home. Many people are.  May it be so for you as well.     

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