On November 20th, 2013, I was sworn in as an United States citizen. I moved to the States when I was nine on August 9th, 2001, barely a month before the terrorist attacks. I remember looking out of my window, and noticing how everything look spacious and wide. Before I knew it, I wasn’t wearing a uniform to school or calling my mom "Mummy." Coffee replaced tea, and the letter ‘u’ dropped out of words like color and favorite. I barely knew the words to God Save the Queen even though I had my first few years of school in England. And any memory of India was limited to the stories I had heard, and thus after twelve years of living in the States, I felt like a normal member of the community, except for the times like when the past two elections occurred and I was unable to vote, or when my friends started to discuss the possibility of being called on for jury duty. I also had a hard time travelling aboard because I had to obtain a visa to just leave the country and another one to travel Europe.
I remember helping my parents study for their exams over summer and watching Dad’s excitement in showing of his new American passport. I constantly wondered about the day I would be sworn in as a citizen, imagining it to be a grandiose affair. It wasn’t really. The day was sunny but cold. My civics exam was extremely easy and the fact that most Americans would fail it makes me worry about the education system. I hope my reader knows that we have 50 states and 100 senators, who are elected for a period of 6 years. A silent thank you went out to my history and government professors who railed such trivial facts into my mind. During the actual ceremony, my emotions varied from extreme boredom, to a sort of nervous excitement. A huge relief washed over me when I had to turn in my greencard, but the reality didn’t hit me until after we had taken our oaths, and were being handed out our certificates. When the Immigration Officer called my name, I couldn’t stop smiling and my heart was thumping extremely loudly. I was a citizen of this awesome country finally.
A lot of my friends, sisters, co-workers and professors have congratulated me on this milestone by saying “welcome to the family”. The thing is though, America has always been my home since I moved here and will always be my home. I look forward to the perks of being a citizen and I hope that natural born US residents realize how many privileges they have just by being born in this free nation. God Bless America and I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.