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the Americanization of MoBob - print edition

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I didn't become a U.S. citizen until I was 23, when I was applying for Peace Corps. I don't remember much of the ceremony itself except that I held my Philippine passport which had loyally accompanied me to the ex-Soviet Union, Australia, and Japan, as well as family trips "back home," and that the judge was originally from Finland.

I was at first disappointed that MoBob's ceremony wasn't going to be a flashy event on July 4th at Mt. Vernon or the Smithsonian or the Kennedy Space Center or Ellis Island. In the end though it was a lovely and touching ceremony with perhaps a hundred new citizens.

The speakers were great. The judge was a Honduran-Puerto Rican whom I first thought was African-American. He talked about the importance of keeping one's heritage and acknowledged the bittersweet, mixed feelings people probably had. He also encouraged people not to let discrimination get them down. The other speakers were from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the League of Women Voters, and the State Department's passport office. I was really impressed that forms for voter registration and passport applications were immediately available.

The coolest part for me was when the roll call took place and each person's name was announced with his/her country of origin. Just like the Olympics! MB was surprisingly the only Moroccan, thought there was someone else from Tunisia. There were two ladies from the Philippines. (Which is why I guess the guard asked me for my naturalization papers at the security checkpoint.) The biggest groups were from El Salvador and Ethiopia, and there were quite a few veiled heads in the courtroom. I was surprised at the number of people from "rich" countries like the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, France, and Germany.

We walked to a HUGE lunch afterwards at Fogo de Chao with our home teacher, who kept me company during the morning along with our photographer. The kitchen staff kindly made up a slice of cake with the American flag done in icing. All in all, a memorable day.
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On September 23rd, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC), sarafinapekkala commented:
Congratulations! It sounds like it was a really lovely event.
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On September 23rd, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC), erich_schneider commented:
Mention of the restaurant made me do a double-take, because I too have eaten at Fogo de Chao ... but in Beverly Hills.
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On September 23rd, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC), mortuus commented:
I was really impressed that forms for voter registration and passport applications were immediately available.

Very practical! I like that.
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On September 24th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC), seegrim commented:
How wonderful! Thank you for sharing this!
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