I may not have been born in America, but I grew up here. We moved from Curacao when I was four and I stayed until I was 23. From there, it has been a lot of back and forth between America and Ireland for me. But I have always been American, just my status as an Alien Resident said otherwise.
It is a strange thing to feel so American, sound so American, act so American, yet not fully be considered American for so many years. I also wouldn’t be considered fully Dutch, as I haven’t lived in the Netherlands since I was one. So, for the longest time, it was conflict between the Dutch side of me and the American. Figuring out which one I truly was.
If you ask me now, I’d say I’m both. I have my parent who raised us with Dutch traditions and the Dutch language, but I have my whole childhood and adulthood which made me American.
As of yesterday, October 6th, 2021, I can proudly say I am an American citizen. It was 27 years in the making, but it’s finally official.
It’s a weird sensation becoming a citizen, both an emotional one, but a calming one. Emotional, as I feel a big weight lifted off my shoulders, but also calming because I finally feel that I belong.
I will always consider myself to be Dutch American, never fully one or the other. It fills me with pride to have such background and I am honoured to be able to be both. But ‘American’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?