On Becoming a New American Part 2

Tomorrow, February 11, at 3 pm I’ll be heading to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office to “appear for an interview on [my] Application for Naturalization” (aka take my test for American citizenship).

I can’t exactly put to words how I feel about this impending moment. Imagine patiently (and sometimes impatiently) waiting, wishing, wanting, praying for something to happen for 19 years.

Nineteen years I’ve waited for this moment.

Even though the test itself is going to be cake, I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of anxiousness, nervousness, sleeplessness, giddiness. I think about all of the bumps on the road that my family and I traversed to eventually lead me (to lead us) to this day, this test, this final formality, and my heart feels an overwhelming sense of desire to breathe a deep and ancient sigh of relief. Like I had been holding my breath for nineteen years, waiting for someone to pinch me and tell me that it wasn’t all a dream.

I feel eight years old again. Open, curious, excited, happy. And falling-over dizzy because I can finally see that the world is truly full of endless possibilities. There’s so much possibility and love that I can hardly take it all in.

My heart is full. Has been full for a few weeks or maybe months now (maybe even years?). I’m thankful for my beautiful family who endured the struggle, who never gave up, and who constantly teach me about the true meaning of family–now I can rightfully join you all! I’m thankful to my coaches, mentors, team, you know who you are–constantly pushing and challenging me to shine. I’m thankful for friends new and old, for walking with me and sometimes carrying me when all I wanted to do was slap you away.

When I walk into that sterile government office tomorrow, I’ll be bringing you all with me in my heart, mind, and soul, because you’ve always been with me.

Here’s to releasing, nay, exhaling the last 19 years and starting a brand new chapter–a chapter from an eight year-old boy’s dream, from a mother’s wish, and from a father’s determination.

Related Post: On Becoming a New American

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