Nfld. & Labrador

Restaurant owner works overtime to achieve dream of Canadian citizenship

Corner Brook restaurant owner Thy Nguyen has been working towards her citizenship exam a long time.

Thy Nguyen one of two dozen new Canadians welcomed at Corner Brook City Hall

Thy Nguyen, right, recites the oath of citizenship at Corner Brook City Hall on Tuesday. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance…"

Thy Nguyen practised the words in the car on her way to the Canadian citizenship ceremony at Corner Brook's City Hall Tuesday afternoon, where proud husband Jerry George watched her recite the oath and sing O Canada.

Nguyen, called "Cathy" by her friends and customers at her restaurant Pho Vietnam, on Caribou Road, had been working toward her citizenship exam a long time, said George.

Studying while running restaurant

"It's months of studying and working and preparing in order to be able to pass the citizenship exam in order to attend the ceremony, so yeah, besides working hard six days a week running a restaurant, then she had to study as well," he said. "[She] put a lot of effort into it and it's been rewarding for her."

"…to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors…"

George said he got choked up as he watched his wife — dressed in red, purposely — recite the words marking her new citizenship, one of two dozen people who officially became Canadians on Tuesday.

"My eyes filled with water. I'm very emotional about what was going on," George said, his voice breaking.

"To see her stand with the group of people and be able to repeat the oath and become a Canadian citizen and receive that document — you can hear it in my voice."

Nguyen says earning her Canadian citizenship is a dream come true. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"…and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties…"

Nguyen's friend Joyce Hynes helped her with the studying.

"She did all the work," she said. "I supported her all the way. We've been studying together for the last two or three months to make sure that she did OK on this test, and I knew that she was going to get it."

Nguyen said she's wanted to become a Canadian ever since she moved to Corner Brook five years ago, but work at the restaurant initially kept her busy.

Judge Joan Mahoney congratulates Nguyen on becoming a Canadian citizen. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Dreams coming true

"I decided to apply [for] citizenship, and study history, Canada, everything," she said. "I'm really happy."

Nguyen and Hynes would study in the restaurant some evenings, with customers offering their encouragement. Tuesday's ceremony means the realization of her dreams.

"I can't believe that, that they're coming true," she said afterwards.

"…as a Canadian citizen."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Colleen Connors