Thursday, April 7, 2016

Canadian Mennonite

Continued from Ecstatic Mennonite

I waited and waited tensely as I heard strange names being called that I had never even heard of before. When the name Fatima was called the lady beside me tapped my arm, and in a heavy accent she said, “That’s me! That is me! I go up then you can take a picture yes?”

“Okay, yes. I will,” I answered and as she proceeded to show me how to take a picture with her fancy camera. I heard my name called and almost dropped the camera and said, “That’s me. Anna Wall that’s my name.”

I was so excited and relieved I didn’t know what to do with myself. I thought “this is probably the first time I have ever been in anywhere where I am the only Anna in the room” and wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

I turned to Fatima and asked, “Can you take a picture of me when I go up?”

She nodded her head and said, “Yes, yes, I take a picture for you.”

When they finished calling out the names of the people that got to stay. About half of the people left the room with sad disappointed looks on their faces. I felt bad for all of them and wondered where they would go after that.

The police officer announced that it would be about an hour before the ceremony would begin and we were free to leave and come back or stay and take a break in the same room if we wanted too.

I got up and asked Fatima if she knew where the bathrooms were. She got up, put out her arm, and gestured me to follow her. I could only see the very tips of her fingers as she waved me toward her and said, “Come, come I show you.”

I followed her down a long hallway with many doors on both sides. Walking down that hallway reminded me of my day in the courthouse and how I thought that I wouldn’t make it through that day. But there I was walking down another hallway on my happiest day of my life.

I had an emotional moment while I sat on that toilet. I thought about the letter I had gotten, and in that letter, I read that they were sorry that I missed my first appointment. I thought about how lucky I was to be there, and who I could tell how sorry I was for missing it. 

When I came out of the stall I thought Fatima had left because I couldn't see her anywhere. I spotted a beautiful tall woman standing there smiling at me. She had long wavy black hair, perfect makeup, full red lips and the most gorgeous big dangly earrings I had ever seen. I continued to look around for Fatima and felt disappointed that I couldn’t find her anywhere.

Finally, the tall beautiful woman said, “Excuse, me who are you looking for?”

I kept looking around as I answered, “Ah… a woman um… that was all ah…”She laughed and said, “Anna it's me, Fatima.”

“What? Wow, you look so… ah…”

“Uncovered? It’s okay Anna I just needed a little breather.”

“Okay,” I answered as I stared at her and wanted to ask her so many questions, but I was too afraid and didn’t. I just stood there in awe of her beauty and stared at her while she wrapped herself up again and thought “Why would she do that?” and proceeded to follow her back to the room where we wrote our tests.

We sat back down and she began asking me all kinds of questions.

“I don’t notice you have an accent, what country are you from?”


“Wow, I could never tell, you are so white for being a Mexican.”

 As I was searching for words to respond, she asked, “How long have you been in Canada?”

“About four years.”

“You speak English before you come to Canada yes?”

“No, I just spoke Low German.”

“I thought people speak Spanish in Mexico yes?”

“Yes but not the Dietsch Mennonite people.”

“Oh, yes, yes I hear about your people, the Mennonites.”

I was shocked that she had heard about Mennonites and answered, “Yes.”

“Wow Anna, you so lucky. You put on different dresses and no one knows what country you come from.”

“What country are you from?” I asked as we got interrupted. 

“Can I please have your attention? Please take a moment to settle back into a chair before we begin,” said the policeman.

Everyone that was left in the room stopped talking and sat down. “Please rise for our national anthem,” said the policeman.

I followed along with Fatima and did exactly what she did. She picked up the little paper Canadian flag that was handed to us when we first arrived. I picked mine up too and when I looked at the flag I noticed that it had the national anthem written on the back of it.

When everyone started singing, I very quietly sang along while looking at the words on the back of the paper flag. I felt so proud. I thought, “I have never known a national anthem before, and I get to stay here, and be part of all of this” as I carefully listened to each of the words in the national anthem while fighting back the tears.

I got all nervous when the room got quiet and people’s names were called up one by one. I wondered what the judge was saying to them as he shook their hands and handed them their citizenship cards.

Finally, when I heard my name called my heart began pounding out of my chest as I gave Fatima my camera to take my picture. She reminded me to smile for the camera.

When I got up there, the judge shook my hand, looked me right into my eyes and said, “Ms. Wall, congratulations on becoming a Canadian citizen. May you enjoy a happy, healthy and successful life in Canada.”

I just stared at him for a moment as he continued to hold my hand, in a shaky voice, I said, “I have so much joy right now and I am already happy. I will work hard to be successful. I really hope I can get healthy too, and I am very sorry I missed my first appointment.”

The judge turned to the police officer with a confused look on his face and they both just smiled and the judge turned back to me said, “Very well, congratulations again” and shook my hand as I turned to look at Fatima while she took the picture.

When Fatima went up, I wished that I could hear what she was saying to the judge while I took many pictures. When she came back to her seat I gave her the camera back and said, “thank you for taking my picture.”

“You’re welcome and thank you for taking mine,” she answered.

I was so curious about Fatima, I could see us becoming great friends. I was tempted to ask for her phone number, but I was too nervous to ask her. I wasn’t sure if she would even be allowed to become friends with a white Low German-speaking Mennonite from Mexico, who obviously had no problem showing her legs to the world.

I said, “Thank you for helping me find the bathroom, Fatima. Because I got to sit beside you, my day went even better.”

She put her arms out and wrapped me in her black fabric as she hugged me and said, “Anna, we are Canadian women now. We can do so much more with our lives now” as she squeezed and rocked my body side to side with excitement. She was just going to say something else to me, but then we got interrupted by her friend who was speaking to her in their language.

We waved bye to each other and when I looked around, the room was almost empty. I thought to myself, “I wonder where they are all going now? Where should I go now? I can’t just go and carry on with my day when I have all of this happiness inside of me.” 

Everyone else was leaving so I decided that it was a good time for me to leave too. I walked out of that building hugging my citizen card against my chest like I used to hold my baby brother.

When I got to the car I remembered, “Josh! His apartment is right around the corner. I am going to go tell Josh that I just became a Canadian citizen.”

I got in the car and drove to Josh’s apartment like a good old fashioned Mennonite and just knocked on his door hoping for the best. He opened the door after only one knock and said, “Annaaaaa…” with a surprised look on his face. I could tell his brain was working hard as he tried to figure out if he had missed or forgot about something important, a reason for my unexpected visit on a late morning of a weekday.

Finally, he just gave me a hug and asked, “What’s up girlfriend?”

“Oh not much… except ah… I JUST BECAME A CANADIAN CITIZEN!

“AHHHHHH…” he yelled and hugged me again.

“When did this happen?”

“Like half an hour ago and I felt like telling you in person, sorry for not calling first.”

“Don’t ever be sorry for visiting me, Anna. I am so glad you did. Now let me see that citizenship. I need to see if it is real,” he said.

“Okay,” I answered as I handed my citizenship card to him.

“Oh wow, Anna, this is awesome. You did it. How does it feel?” 

“Ah… I don’t even have words to explain it. I feel like I can't just carry on with my day, this is way too big of a deal.”

“And you are sooo right darling, let's go out for lunch. Let’s to go to Red Lobster.”

“Okay,” and off we walked to Red Lobster, it was only a few blocks from his apartment.

When we got there the waiter that took us to a table asked, “Are you celebrating something? When you walked in you sound so excited something.”

“Yes, Anna here just became a Canadian citizen,” Josh answered.

“Wow, that is fantastic! Congratulations Anna, please have a seat,” said the waiter.

“Thank you,” I answered

We sat down and looked at the menu. The waiter came back with a basket of garlic biscuits and took our orders. We talked about how much we both missed Christina while we stuffed ourselves with the most delicious garlic biscuits I had ever tasted.

“I think Christina made the right decision to get away from here. Don’t you Anna?”

“Yes, I think so too, but only when I think about her and not myself, I wish she could have been here with me today.”

“Oh darling, I know what you mean, but why didn’t you invite that hotty fabulous friend of yours to come with you today?”

“You mean George?”

“Of course, the one and only. Wait, how many other hotties are you hiding from me?” He asked as he laughed.

I giggled and waited to answer him as our food arrived.

As we were eating I said, “I’m not hiding any hotties from you, Josh.”

“Oh, you better not.”

I blushed as I explained, “I wanted to invite George to come along, and he wanted to come, but I didn’t want him to miss any more work for me. I already feel bad enough for all the work he has had to miss because of me and besides, I kind of wanted to do this on my own. But after all that excitement, I was sad that I didn’t have anyone there to share it with.”

“Well thank you for thinking of me to share your special day with,” Josh said as the waiter brought us each a piece cake with a little Canadian flag on top.

“This is on us, thank you for choosing Red Lobster to celebrate your special day. Congratulations Anna, welcome to Canada and enjoy.”

We both said thank you while all the staff came over to congratulate me. That made my day extra special.

When we got back to Josh’s apartment where I parked the car. Josh hugged me and said, “Anna, you can come over anytime you feel like it, okay. I don’t mind at all, mi casa es su casa.

“Okay, thanks for that amazing lunch. It was perfect, I loved it.”

“You’re welcome darling, and watch out for all the crazy drivers on the road.”

“Okay, I will.”

While I drove home I had some time to reflect and felt butterflies in my full stomach while I got all teary eyed again. At that moment, I truly felt that I had proven to myself that the impossible was possible. My whole life I had believed that I could never learn anything because I was a 'hard learner' but, right beside the word “Pass” was a big red 98 out of 100 written on the top of that test. It was not a mistake. That test had my name on it. Click here to continue reading my story.

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