Hi my name is Mahsa and this is my hope story…
On February 24, I became an American citizen after graduating from Catholic Charities’ Citizenship Preparation Program. After the ceremony, my family had my advisor from the program over for lunch at our home. I told her, “I am an American now! You will come eat at my home to celebrate!”
My husband, who was a former Citizen Program student, now citizen, told her, “You missed my ceremony! You will come eat at our home!” He told the advisor, “We cooked a vegetarian meal just for you! You have to come!” My daughter and I prepared them a traditional Iraqi meal including Turkish coffee and then topped it all off with a slice of homemade chocolate cake. But here’s the best part of the celebration – my husband also invited a friend, Tom, from work to our celebration dinner as well, but he declined the offer because his brother, Joe, was going to be with him and Joe was afraid to go to a Muslim’s home. My husband insisted Tom bring his brother, Joe.
Joe sat quietly and looked scared for the first part of the dinner. After a while he loosened up, enjoyed the food and conversation. Our celebration dinner was at a busy family time just like many of our neighbors. We have a daughter who is a soccer player hoping to make the team in tryouts next week, our eldest son is an Eagle Scout who was preparing to leave for a weekend of camping and snowboarding with his troop, and our youngest son, a mischievous two year old, who explores everything around him and is very curious about his visitors. We all ate together, laughed, shared stories and celebrated my new status as an United States citizen. And as Joe left, he smiled, shook my husband’s hand, and thanked us for inviting him. Joe told us he wasn’t afraid anymore and felt silly for being afraid. He congratulated me on becoming a U.S. citizen and wished our family well.