I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Checking off the list

Spend 3.5 hrs at Autumn Leaves 50/50, helping out runners and RD and giving my rains to Caroline (you do realize, darling, you are bound for years to come, right? Nobody else would agree to do this job:))

Attend last soccer game on a beautiful fall day and scream at the top of my lungs.

Run 10 miles in Forest Park (well, about 3.5 of them were power-walked on the uphills that are steep and/or long) and have a bliss. I did get tired on the way back and confirmed that my running legs are gone, but it's a start!

Clean my place in places I haven't since I moved in (or so).

Take Anatomy and Physiology "challenge test" to bypass the classes - pass! 3 semesters, 90 hrs and $1500 saved! I really couldn't handle anymore starring in this book, but do have to point out - Soviet system of education rocks! Everything that I answered - I remembered from 20 years ago (last time I dealt with this subject on serious level). That and common sense.

Meet with Alex, pay for his GED test, chat to try and smoothen corners, relax and feel good - he is my son, he is going to make it no matter what and how. I've learned on my mistakes most of my life's lessons, and so will he.

Go for an INS appointment to ask a question - and walk out with a set Oath Ceremony time same date!

Take an Oath. Become American Citizen.

Take pictures of my mug and my son's locks - for official services.

Apply for Travel Passport.

Apply for Travel Visa for Stephen.

Book tickets to Russia.

Manage to not miss a day of work.

How do I feel about all this? I was excited...up to the point I walked out of the INS building, holding my new piece of paper. I kept thinking last few days - luck is on my side, finally, "poperlo" (urban slang). And then it hit me: why? As I raised my hand and read the pledge, I had to say words "I renounce my other citizenship", or something to this respect. I did keep my fingers crossed, but at the same time, I felt I betraid my country. My country that gave birth to me, raised me, gave me education (and best at that), instilled ideals, made me tough, yet at the same time kind...There is a long story why I, personally, came to this country, and even longer, why on the spur of the moment did I apply for the citizenship. But the truth to most immigrants nowadays - we come for better life...as in "for easier life". And it is weak. This is the first time in my life I felt weak in character - and it doesn't feel good.
But I'll get over it. Life goes on. Look forward and put one foot in front of another...
And please by no means do I say being an American is a bad thing! And luckily for me, I can maintain both citizenship independently - well, more like both countries follow the "I don't see it, don't know it exists, so it doesn't" rule. I was simply sharing of a feeling of a loss I had today. And I am past it - thanks to Larry, Gail and Sid.

One thing for sure - I will never stop being Russian in my heart. And I am proud of it.


Danni said...

Oh Olga -- being a Russian or being an American is more than a piece of paper. It's your heart and your history and your future -- I can understand your sadness and feelings of betrayal but the modern world just isn't like that. You can have a mom and a step-mom and love them both :-)

Rick Gaston said...

I don't think anything can beat the Russian out of you.

By the time I got my citizenship it felt natural and okay. I was young when I left (12) and it was in this country where I really "grew" up and became a person. Where I learned my lessons. I had a choice for dual citizenship but I choose to be an American and nothing else. I've been back many times to the Philippines since I became a citizen and those trips proved to me nothing will take the Filipino out of me either.

Your life is like a whirlwind right now and I'm glad it's positive, it wasn't that long ago when a lot of it was negative. I am happy for you, for the great things that are happening in your life. Ride that downhill!

Sarah said...

"I don't think anything can beat the Russian out of you."

I've gotta agree with Rick. : )

If you ever need yet another career you should consider professional organizer. You know how to get things done! I'm tired reading it. : )

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Wow, what a great way to get things done.

And I can understand the sort-of grieving process the citizenship could have taken. Congratulations on becoming an American citizen. And you will NEVER stop being Russian. It is so much a part of who you are!!

That's cool that Alex is taking his GED :)

PS I am finally over and done with you-know-who. I realized that I don't need a Coward in my life who is afraid to verbalize his feelings. I feel strong and happy and know I've made the right decision. I must take care of me!

Luc said...


CoNgrATulAtiOns!! That's great news. You will always be Russian! But now you are... part...(?) American. I guess. :)

I have so many Russian friends and they are all great comrades. What a great country to call your (true) home! You are an amazing woman to have done all of this in one day (and still go to work).

I enjoy your blog,

Larry said...

Regardless of going through the oath ceremony yesterday and getting a new passport that has "United Stated of America" written on it, you will always be a Russian. Nothing will ever change that. :)

Larry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caroline said...

Olga, congratulations on such a productive few days! You are an amazing person - smart, tough, willing and able to always keep learning and evolving. You continue to inspire and enlighten those of us around you. Awesome!

Backofpack said...

It was great seeing you at AL this weekend - thanks for giving us your 3.5 hours! Wow, so many congrats in order - on becoming a citizen, on challenging and passing the A&P course, on Alex taking the GED! Life is on the upswing for you and I am so glad. As for being Russian - Danni said it best and I echo her thoughts.

Jon said...

Olga, you're more American than most American's in this country. You have a solid work ethic, care for your family, have pride in your history, have the character & strength to take adversity and kick it in the groin, and you don't blame others for your own personal shortcomings in life.

Your character is anything but weak!

Donald said...

Don't the countries allow for dual citizenship? You're Russian. And you're an American. And you're an outstanding all-around person.

Congrats on your citizenship.

Carilyn said...

So many wonderful things! You wouldn't be you if you didn't feel sadness about the citizenship thing. But like so many people have said (much better) before me, you are still Russian regardless of what the piece of paper says. And now you are an American too! We're glad you came our way because you have taught us so much.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Olga, not just on your accomplishments, but for always sucking the marrow out of the bone, no matter what life throws your way.


JeffO said...

So glad to hera you're finally an American! Wahoo! But part of being American is celebrating our differences - the unique qualities we bring to this country. We are lucky to have you.
It's too bad they make you say that you renounce your other citizenship. I understand how that must hurt.
But America is happy to have you.
Congratulations on quizing-out on your exam. I got my current career doing the same thing - quizing out on two exams, training myself instead of going to college, and not accepting any excuses for failure.
Some of the hard things in life that make us tough are also some of the things that make us good. Nothing worthwhile comes without sacrifice.

kelly said...

Wow, Olga, you have been BUSY! Congrats on your citizenship, another "to do" off your list. I am so happy that you did so well on your exams too. Way to go, Olga. So you are running already? Take good care and listen to your body. We want you strong and running free. Keep smiling.

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Olga...wow, you have done so much in the past month since we have been away.
I agree with the rest.in many ways but also see you can be the best of everything!!!
Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

We all know and appreciate what and who you are so F__K the rest of the world and their misplaced opinions. You are the SHIT!!


Kendall K said...

I wish Bushwhacker would just say what he really means, instead of beating around the bush LOL!! While I expect to only ever have American citizenship, I did move away from Kansas more than 20 years ago and yet it will always "home". And I don't even mind the flack I get for being from the flat lands. Your roots are just that roots; an anchor, a foundation. Nothing wrong with that. KRK

Blog My Runs.com said...

Ya you can't ever run the Russian out of you on your best day....cause if you ever did you wouldn't run as hard and tough ... Rock on my Russian friend!! Get ready TX :-)

robtherunner said...

America is one citizen greater because of you, but I agree that who you are is in your heart more so than with a piece of paper. I know you know that already. It was great seeing you at AL and Caroline was a fabulous replacement.

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