'I wouldn't want to be anywhere else,' Valley artist's dream was to be a U.S. citizen

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-05 11:34:38-04

A Valley woman's dream of becoming a U.S. citizen came true, making her Independence Day extra special.

Iben Lujan moved to the United States 20 years ago from Denmark.

"I always wanted to be here, ever since I was a child," said Lujan.

She would watch American movies and dream of being an artist and jewelry maker in the U.S. Then in 1997 she made the big move.

"I just took a chance and I got my first six-month visa. Then I went back and returned when I got another six-month visa," she said.

Thirteen years ago while living in Sedona, she met Richard Lujan, a Phoenix businessman and native Arizonan.

"Richard is truly the love of my life, and we've been married for 11 years," she said. 

Iben was granted a green card after the marriage, but she wanted wanted the real deal. She applied for citizenship, took the test, went through the interview and waited.  

After Lujan was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's, her citizenship became even more important. 

"Every single day Richard would go and get the mail and I'm like is there a letter from the USCIS today? I couldn't believe I got it for the 4th of July. I mean that's just incredible!" she said. 

Iben became the artist she dreamed of, painting and making jewelry. She also runs a Facebook page called "Love, Alzheimer's and Other Things" bringing awareness to Alzheimer's.

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's such a privilege, it's such an honor. Now I'm not a guest anymore," she said.