h/t The Perch Coffee House Facebook page – A few Dubois residents surprised Sheila with a party at the coffee shop the day after the ceremony.
2020 has started with a celebration that was a long time coming for a Dubois family. Last week, Sheila, Erik, Alex, and Dre Sanderson traveled to Casper for Sheila’s naturalization ceremony.
“I was nervous and excited at the same time,” Sheila shared about the ceremony. “At one point, we all had to introduce ourselves. I was afraid of getting too emotional that I only gave a brief intro before handing over the mic to the next person. At the end of the day, to be holding that certificate of naturalization – it was a relief, the process is done – I could finally say that I am a US citizen.”
“I’m from the Philippines but born and raised in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates,” she explained. Erik and Sheila met in the UAE ten years ago. They now reside and own The Perch Coffee House in Erik’s hometown of Dubois with their two sons, Alex and Dre. “He wasn’t sure if I’d be able to adjust to living in a small town, but even though winters can be tough for me – Dubois is now home for me, and I love it here.”
The immigration process started in September 2014 and felt like it took “forever,” she noted. Taking almost a year and a half to complete. “There were a lot of forms and required documentation before I could even submit the application.”
They were apart from each other during most of the waiting period, making it very difficult. “Erik and Alex left for the US in January 2015, Dre had left with my parents to the Philippines that same year, while I was still working in the UAE. Dre and I didn’t arrive in the US till the following year, March 2016, as permanent residents.”
After she arrived in the US to become a citizen, she had to wait another three years before applying for naturalization. The naturalization process only took about three months to complete, which was faster than they anticipated.
“I would like to thank my family and the Dubois community,” Sheila said. “They have made me feel so welcomed and made adjusting to my new life here much easier.”
Along with Sheila becoming a US citizen this year, the Sanderson’s will celebrate The Perch Coffee House turning four in June.