August, 1971. We pack our belongings, which fit in a small u-haul. We have our papers, or, more accurately, mine. My husband revs up the engine and we’re off. A few blocks and we begin our rise up the Ambassador Bridge, 7,490 feet, 1.42 miles. Goodbye Canada; hello United States.
I never wanted to live here, but I fell in love with an American and knew that committing to him meant committing to the U.S. I’d emigrated before, from Scotland to Canada. Hard. And I knew this would be hard, too, a different hard.
I’ve always felt an alien in an alien land. It took until July, 1994 for me to change citizenships and acquire the label “American.” But I’ll never be American. There are many Americans I love and admire–their generosity, their warmth, their caring–but I’ll never love America. The guns, the danger, the politics, the fear all three engender. The misunderstanding of ‘socialism’, the lack of safety net, the frustration I feel.
I’ve been here a long time now, longer than I’ve lived anywhere. My family is here. I’ll die here. But I’ll never belong.