This is the variation of what I wore to my Citizenship Interview… Same outfit as the other day with the camel coat and Vans… This is what was under the coat!
I’ve been living in America since I was five years old, having moved here after my father lost his architecture job in our hometown in British Columbia, Canada.
For years, my parents never found it necessary to become citizens of the US while I was young, fearing the Draft, Jury Duties and other nonsense things… Perhaps they never really wanted to spend the money. Maybe because they, as Green Card holders, had the benefits of being an American, just never saw the need to drop another $300 on something that didn’t really change their lives.
Well, sadly, I was the beneficiary of their neglect.
For years, it never really mattered to me whether I was a citizen or not. When I started college, my entire life consisted of fighting the religious machine, meeting boys, and videography. My rights, politics, the economy, health care, the environment, taxes, education, were all the furthest thing from my mind. Who cares who wrote the policies and legislation that governed my life… I didn’t see their effects in my everyday life. There were boys to chase, clothes to buy, movies to watch, and books to read.
It wasn’t until George W Bush and Kerry ran against each other that I realised how crappy the country really was, that Al Gore losing was a very, very bad thing for the country. I started noticing how important curb-side recycling was, beyond reducing my carbon footprint, beyond saving gas… The little things started to make the bigger things more important. Suddenly, not being able to fill my prescription was about nationalised healthcare. The prices on community college units rising were less about having to charge it on my credit card and more about California not getting enough funding from the Federal Government. Art history programs getting cut from the curriculum were less about losing the chance to look at naked statues, and more about how little value the government places on the arts than they do on math and science.
Things were too important to ignore. Things were too important not to be able to vote about them.
Immigration applications rates went up and up and up, the longer Bush was in power.
But thanks to the stimulus package and a lovely advance from my parents, I could finally afford it this year.
This week I finally became a citizen. Tuesday was my Citizenship Interview. I passed. Friday is my Oath Ceremony. And this has been the biggest week of my entire life.
And I looked good.
I don’t know if I feel “proud to be an American,” because I can still be Canadian, but I am definitely happy to finally be able to cross a border and cast a vote in any election! Finally, I can say something about this country I’ve been in for decades!