Two Gloucester residents were able to take their oath of loyalty to the United States at naturalization ceremonies recently, just in time for their first Independence Day as U.S. citizens.
Bo Rong "Ivy" Davis, a native of the province of Heilongjiang in northernmost China, took her oath at a ceremony at the Colonial capital in Williamsburg on June 14, Flag Day. Venera Schafer, who hails from Tashkent, the national capital of Uzbekistan, took her oath in a state courtroom in Richmond the next day. They spoke with the Gazette-Journal afterward about what brought them to the U.S. and their hopes for the future.
Bo Rong "Ivy" Davis
Ivy said she grew up in Harbin, a city of four million people that’s the capital of Heilongjiang. Located near the Russian border, the climate there was very cold, she said. Her mother, WenYan Davis, had a job painting the interiors of engines to keep them from overheating. While they were members of the poor class, she said, they always had enough money for food.
After graduating from high school, Ivy enrolled in her city’s "number one" college and had just begun to take general classes when her mother decided to marry Gloucester resident Clay Davis. She said she doesn’t know how they met.
"My mother was single for many years," she said. "Then she finally got a boyfriend and he was American. I was shocked!"
In short order, Ivy and her mother were ready to move to America. They arrived in Gloucester on Feb. 28, 2005, and experienced a bit of culture shock. After the big city, Gloucester was rural and "snow was everywhere," said Ivy. "All I saw was trees—nothing else."