Wednesday, November 21, 2012

America F*** Yeah

Los Angeles Convention Center Naturalization Ceremony

After 29 years of living in the US, I officially became nationalized as an American! Finally!!!

This happened the week of Halloween so it all blurred in together with a ton of pumpkin carving parties and general spooky fun. The oath ceremony was scheduled a couple days after the deadline to register to vote so I thought I couldn't vote this year... sigh. Buuuuut, as I waited with thousands of others in the LA convention center to become an official United States citizen, some awesome people were walking around asking if we wanted to be registered to vote... I asked if we could vote in this election and they said YES! I was so excited about being a legit American and now to vote? IT'S BONUS TIME. Andrew and I have always followed elections extensively and I always felt like I was participating in the process by telling Andy who/what to vote for (who really knows what he votes for in the booth... he's his own man; I just like thinking that he heard my opinions.) As I've said before, I never really thought about my nationality unless it's election time or when I travel internationally. I was surprised that the voting registration volunteers only quickly passed each aisle and quietly shouted above the bustling crowd. Like a nerd, I raised my hand and said that everyone in my row needed a registration form. Then I helped everyone fill out their form since it was only in English; there was a few Spanish speakers and a couple Mandarin Chinese speakers... omg, I took 4 years of Spanish and my original language was Mandarin... so I helped them fill out their forms and made sure they received any additional mail in the correct language.  YAY, more voters! Everyone seemed so hopeful for the future so it was hard not to get caught up in the moment.

Like anyone else who grew up in southern California, I have a certain amount of cynicism about mostly everything (I think it's the overall sunniness that makes us hardened jerks but I digress.) There were certain parts of the oath ceremony that felt rather indoctrinating (e.g. the country music video of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" with stock footage of American workers and bald eagles.) There were also parts that I felt strangely choked up: President Obama's video made me feel proud but the Pledge of Allegiance was the real emotional moment. I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance when I was in elementary school. I really didn't understand that I wasn't American until one day after watching the little league world championships Taiwan vs the US... I guess I was rooting for the US team but then I noticed the whole room was rooting for Taiwan. My sister looked at me and said, "Why would you root for the US? We're Taiwanese!" I was so confused... I mean, we lived here so doesn't that mean that we're from the United States? I might've asked if we were also American but maybe I didn't; I guess it all came together in my mind why border patrol agents always asked why my "English was so good?" My parents must've always thought that we just knew that we weren't American and to be proud to be from Taiwan. Anyhow, the next day at school, I went in and recited the pledge like I've always did but I felt like a liar. I wanted to sit down but I didn't because I wanted to fit in still... there was already enough pressure being one of the only Asians in the school. On a more ridiculous note, I also realized that I couldn't be on Nickelodeon's Double Dare; I wasn't even a resident of the United States! "If you want to be on Double Dare, you must be a legal permanent resident of the United States..." UGH... life was tough when I was 7 especially when I had long hoped to compete in that obstacle course (alas my dreams of winning a trip to space camp or getting a Garfield phone were all crushed!)

btw, I wasn't trying to be crass with this post's title but I actually recently received a client comment that stated that the tv show package design that my team was working on "should scream 'america f*** yeah'…" Oh work why do you have to be so sarcastically ridiculous too.

Vacation Update: I've decided not to go to Thailand, Bali or anywhere in Asia to meet up with Andy... he's coming back home to Los Angeles to celebrate the holidays! I thought he needed more time with the kitties and we'll have plenty of time to travel once I'm in Singapore. I can't wait.

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