As of February 21, 2013, I can proudly call myself a U.S. citizen. After nearly 11 years in the U.S. it is extremely exciting to belong to one of the greatest countries in the world. Living in the U.S. has been a unique and inspiring experience and I am humbled to be able to also now call it home in addition to Italy, where I have retained my citizenship as well.
Becoming a U.S. citizen means so many things to me that it’s hard to relay what I feel about it in one column, but allow me to try:
- Goodbye little room in Customs at the airport (hopefully).When I travel with my American colleagues back from Italy, they pass right through Customs, no questions asked. I, myself, have many stories of long hours in the little room that I hope to never see again with my U.S. passport in tow.
- While I am not sure it is a great privilege, I can now convict criminals serving on jury duty.
- I must now accept that European football is defined in the U.S. by the term soccer and that football is a whole other American sport. Living in Charlotte, I guess that makes me a Panthers fan.
- And while we are on the topic of soccer, I now have two teams to root for in the World Cup. More reason my wife should let me make the trip to Brazil next year.
- Ladies and gentleman, I would like to announce my candidacy for… Well, it has a nice ring to it and if my future aspirations gear me towards politics, I can now run for office. Governor Marco Casol sounds great!
- My U.S. colleagues can no longer use the phrase, “But, Marco you aren’t an American, so you don’t understand…” I am an American, though there are some things I may never understand.
All kidding aside, having spent the last years and months preparing for even the opportunity to become a citizen has been a continued eye-opening journey that has only increased my ardor for this country. I love Italy for its thousands of years of history and culture, but find the progressive and multicultural outlook of the United States a refreshing differentiator. Belonging to both of these countries you could say I have the best of both worlds.