History Class Reading

Last night I read a piece by Carlos Bulosan. The anthology containing his work states he’s the first and most important Filipino-American writer. The excerpt came from his book, On Becoming Filipino.

I wish I could describe his voice in my head as I read. I wonder if others heard the accents from the dialogue, as well as the narrative. I wonder if they could feel the longing for the two main characters – who lived along the West Coast in the WWII era – to become American.

It’s not that I internalized the piece; it’s that the piece exhumed and awoke something already within me, gently poking to make sure it’s still alive.

Reading that excerpt sort of messed with my head. I’m still trying to process it all.

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars

Officially, this is my first Independence Day as an American citizen. A draft of something lengthy and involved and emotional and largely unfinished sits on my laptop. I hope it emerges eventually.

I love this country. I love my freedoms here. I love the servicemen who devote their lives to keep this country safe and relatively secure. I love this country’s founding fathers and their vision. I want their vision, especially when we get things wrong.

I love my family and their sacrifice and unending support. I love my friends.

I love seeing new and different people every day, making eye contact that means we know we’re in the greatest country in history.

These thoughts are no different from previous years. But a friend reminded me yesterday of my citizenship, and I got excited, and I started clapping, and now there’s all this … power.

I’ve lived and worked and thought like an American for all of my life. People have assumed I was American for just as long.

And now I am. I wish I could describe it. There’s nothing like it.

Happy Independence Day. Happy July 4th. Share the excitement about being American.

I’m off to a picnic and maybe attempt to watch the fireworks. We’ll see.

Ah, Grasshoppers

Patience. I informed you the photos from the previous post will have to suffice for now. Yesterday is not something I want to rattle off without any introspect. Yesterday meant a lot to me. It will take some time to process and express it thoughtfully. You know me. My becoming American just isn’t American voting and American jury duty and taking a peculiarly worded oath. Like I said, yesterday was phenomenal, but I’m going to ruminate a while so that you’ll know that I mean phenomenal in its hyperextended superlative form. Phenomenalest-est-est-est-ultramegagoogol-est doesn’t quite cut it for me. It’s the experience I want to share.

Thanks again for your support and friendship and love. You truly added significance and power to my day yesterday.

Today Is NOT the End of the Road, Mr. Immigration Man!

It’s late. I had a phenomenal day. I don’t even know where to begin. Even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to describe today. Hopefully this photo does a sufficient job. It started with me becoming American:

Courtesy of Marcus Bowers
Courtesy of Marcus Bowers

 That’s right, America. May is in the house.

And, the day ended with some amazing Americana:

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More later, of course.

Haiku Sleep Anxiety, Naturalization Version

She watches the clock
She wants to be sleepy now
But she’s excited

She cannot focus
Her words are a scattered mess
Like toddlers and toys

She’s almost thirty-three
She could have done it sooner
Now is just as well

The years pass quickly
Blurring life with life’s events
And yet minutes drag

Visualizing
Her motherland. It’s not quite
Her homeland. It’s here.

She’s here, awake, still.
Living the dream, so alive.
American dream.

It’s About Time

It’s 10:37PM.

I’ve tried on three different outfits. I won’t try on any more. I had envisioned wearing slacks, but this is definitely a skirt occasion.

It is the eve of my Americanization.

Tonight is the last night of not being able to vote.

Tonight is the last night of not being qualified to work a federal job.

Tonight is the last night I’ll be able to avoid jury duty for the reason of not being an American citizen.

Tonight will turn into tomorrow morning.

And it will be today. A new dawn.

8:30AM, raring to go.

In a skirt.