Since the beginning of this year, I have been thinking about starting a once a month life-update type posts, but for some reason, I haven’t been able to start. Honestly, every time I set down to write my insecurities kept kicking in and telling me the same thing over and over again: Who would be interested in hearing my boring life?!
But the truth is that I love reading these types of posts when other bloggers share, so I decided to give it a go. As I was thinking about all the whats and hows of writing about my life, an IG live I watched by Gabby Berstein made me feel so encouraged.
She said, own your story. Tell it. Let people know who you are.
So here I am, not sure what and how to say it. But I am showing up and sharing a bit more of me.
I hope that my not-so-exciting life will somehow entertain and inspire you.
Please know that this post includes affiliate links. They are marked with asterisks.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
I Became a United States Citizen On June 21st, 2019
A lot of people ask me what becoming a citizen entails, what questions do they ask, what happens during the interview, etc. So I thought I could share a few notes from my experience.
The Interview: Once I was eligible to become a US citizen, I applied for citizenship through the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) in October of 2018.
First, I got a notification to go to their office in Albany, NY (the closest USCIS office to where we live) for a fingerprint and photo appointment in November. This was also when they gave me a booklet to get ready for the citizenship civics interview.
Then I got a notification for my citizenship interview for May 1st. This time in their offices in St. Albans, Vermont.
A day before the interview I drove up to Burlington and stayed at a hotel as I didn’t want to drive for 3 hours on the day of the interview. St. Albans is a small town north of Burlington close to the Canada border.
I was interviewed by a male officer, who was very professional and polite. In the beginning of the interview he explained to me as to why I am here and what he will ask.
The citizenship interview had 3 parts, civics (10 questions from the booklet), writing and reading. In order to pass that test, I had to answer at least 6 questions right. Luckily, I went prepared. After getting the first 6 questions right he said he does not need to ask me more questions.
Want to see if you can pass the civics test? I studied for the test using these flashcards.
The rest of the interview was pretty basic. From my experience, since I can speak and write fluently in English and have not gotten into any trouble during my time in the US, the rest of it was pretty standard and easy.
At the end of the interview, the officer congratulated me and asked me to show up for the oath ceremony in Burlington, VT on June 21st.
The Oath Ceremony: A few days before the interview my dad came from Turkey to join Dwight and me for this once-in-a-lifetime event. It was a last minute decision, but I am so glad that he came because I was so happy to have him with us on such an important event.
June 21st was a double special day in that it was also Dwight’s birthday. We traveled to Burlington together to attend the ceremony.
The event was held at the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum. There were a lot of officials in attendance including the US Senator Patrick Leahy and his wife, the Honorable Geoffrey W. Crawford (the judge), and Miro Weinburger, the Mayor of Burlington, VT.
I have heard that oath ceremonies in larger cities like New York City and Chicago are usually very crowded. In our case, living in a small state like Vermont, we were only 14 immigrants.
Overall, it was an incredible event where I felt welcomed. The speeches from the Honorable Geoffrey W. Crawford and the US Senator Patrick Leahy were sincere and encouraging. Their message was that we are now a part of a country made up of immigrants and that we should honor this and be involved in the government as a new citizen.
Needless to say, I am so honored to have experienced such a special day after 17 years of living in the US. More than anything, I am so happy that I can now vote.
After the ceremony, we went to Hen of the Wood for a celebration dinner. It was amazing. If you ever visit Burlington and need a good place to eat, go there. It is very good.
Stonyfield Organic – Summer Farm Tour Blogger Event
The second highlight of this month was the opportunity to visit two farms with Stonyfield Organic as a part of their Summer Farm Tour Event.
In addition to learning all about organic dairy farming, I had a wonderful time meeting with a few of my favorite food bloggers. Spending quality time with Becky, Maria, Andie, Cheryl, Lisa, Ashley, and Beth throughout the trip and dining in the best restaurants of Stowe was so much fun.
Oh, and I also took my very first cow selfie while we were at the Wonder Why Farm. For the record, getting a good shot with a cow is very hard.
We Started Volunteering At Grateful Hearts
Dwight and I have been thinking about volunteering for some time now. With the help of a friend, we found a good cause that we want to be involved in.
Grateful Hearts is a local community that helps the people in need. In the Manchester area, a group of locals gets together every Monday morning for a few hours to prep and cook meals for those who are in need.
Oh and seeing my husband chop 25 pounds of onions in a food processor is PRICELESS.
LOWELL LAKE STATE PARK
This month’s cookbook club gathering was in Lowell Lake State Park. Embarrassingly, I had no idea that this place existed.
OH MY! Lowell Lake was simply stunning. We had our dinner by the lake while watching people ride their kayaks.
If you ever visit Southern Vermont during this time of the year, put Lowell Lake Park on your list. They have lots of picnic tables by the lake. The day we visited was a cold one, but I was told that most people go there for a swim.
We are already planning a trip back for a lake side brunch, hopefully on a warmer day so that we can also get in the water.
If you are following me on Instagram, you probably know that I have been doing a lot of reading.
I am not much of a fiction reader, but this month, after hearing so much about it, I finally read Where the Crawdads Sing *. It did not disappoint. I thought it was such a beautiful story. I literally could not put it down.
I also read Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself * by Dr. Joe Dispenza. I had heard so much about this book, but honestly felt intimidated by the fact that it is a quite thick book. But it was AMAZING.
Dr. Dispenza is one of the people behind the documentary, Heal, in Netflix, which I loved watching.
If you want to learn more about meditating, how our thoughts and feeling become our reality, and how can you master positivity in a scientific way, this book is for you.
I just finished it, but plan reading it again. SO SO GOOD!
What have you been reading? What are some books that you recommend? Tell me please!
A FEW THINGS I AM LOVING LATELY:
- Just bought this wrap top * from Loft and it is SO cute. It is such a flattering top that goes well with white jeans.
- I recently started using this face wash * and I cannot recommend it enough. It does a good job of getting rid of makeup as well.
- These shoes * are incredibly comfortable, especially if you are like me cooking, photographing, and cleaning all day long.
- Currently daydreaming about attending one of their workshops.
- Made this pasta salad last night and it was the BOMB!
- This kitchen. #dreaming
- Currently sipping on this. I know it is not considered a summer drink, but I love it.
- I recently invested in Grammarly. It is a game changer, especially if you are like me, English is not your first language.
- Need a refreshing non-alcoholic limeade recipe? I recently made and updated this basil limeade recipe. Try it. It is so SO good.
So there you have it. This is me.
June was a month that I will never forget. We applied for my new passport and I am already planning my first trip in August to Turkey. Last time I was there was back in 2013.
Needless to say, I cannot wait. August cannot come fast enough.
Hope you are having a wonderful summer. Cheers friends!