Every couple of weeks, the group will be issued a
"challenge entry". The site will post a excerpt from the challenge entries, as
well as the link to the complete entry found on the journaller's own journal site.
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE...
November 21, 2000
I had a great photo that was going to accompany this entry, but I left it in a computer in Hollister, a 3 hour drive from here, so Ill have to wing it and perhaps post the photos from today at another time. Nelson and I drove to Hollister today so I could leave him with our mutual friend Sonia, her husband Charlie, and their kids, Denise and Daniel.
I love looking at Sonia and Nelson because they remind me that at some point I did make a difference in the world. Nelson was the leader of our first group of Brasilian students back in 1980. When he returned to Brasil, and when Sonia, who at that time worked for him, was traveling to the States, he gave her my phone number in case she happened to be in California and needed some help. She ran out of money in Oakland, and was having problems with her traveling companions, so she called me, in tears, because she had nowhere else to turn.
I brought her to Davis and she moved in with us, then happened to meet Charlie one night at a bar and soon after moved from our house to his. They lived together for several weeks until her return to Brasil. She and Charlie had great plans to remain close, but as time passed, they lost contact with each other.
Many years later, Sonia contacted me about a trip she was making to the US on business. She hadnt heard from Charlie in a couple of years, and had no plans to contact him, but wanted to visit us. As it happened, we were going to be out of town the day she was scheduled to arrive, but I made arrangements for her to get into the house, if she could get herself to Davis. Then, on a whim, I called Charlie and said, I dont know if you want to know this, but Sonia is arriving on Saturday and has no way to get to Davis...
There was a long silence and then he said Whats her flight information?
When we arrived back home again, there was no indication that Sonia had been there. We didnt hear from her for a week, and when she called, she had been with Charlie. Six months later, I was the matron of honor at their wedding. And now they have 13 year old Denise and 15 year old Daniel. And the big news I heard today is that Sonia has passed all of her tests and will soon be notified about the ceremony at which she will become a US citizen. I am so excited for her.
We plan to attend the ceremony. It seems to bring it all full circle. It all started with Nelson showing up on our doorstep with a group of Brasilian kids. And here we are, twenty years later, standing in Sonias kitchen with Nelson, and talking about celebrating Sonia's citizenship. It brings great joy to know that after all these years in this country, she is finally going to be able to become an American citizen.
But while I have great pride in and happiness for Sonia and her family, it makes me angry too. Im thinking of a couple whom I will call Paul and Bob. Bob is an American, Paul is not. They are deeply in love and committed to making a life together. But unfortunately neither country will accept them as a couple and so they are faced with the choice of separating forever, or having one of them live illegally in the others country. If they choose the latter, they will forever be looking over their shoulders for immigration authorities. Whichever of them is living illegally will be unable to receive health benefits, will be unable to work. Their crime is only that they love each other, but because governments make moral judgements, their love is not considered valid and so they are denied the right to make a life together in either country.
Theres something very wrong about that.
|created 11/5/00 by Bev Sykes|