Last Tuesday, I became a citizen of the United States. And I got donuts! You’ll have to bear with some musings before we get to the food…
How I became an American
The naturalization ceremony can be an emotional thing for some people. After all, changing one’s citizenship is rarely an easy process. And then there are the implied sacrifices — leaving behind a home and a way of life for something that is, presumably, better.
My citizenship story really started in the 1960s. My grandmother, like most immigrants, moved from the Philippines to the US in search of better work opportunities. It was a lot easier to immigrate to the United States in those days. After a few years, as soon as she got her citizenship, she put in a petition for all of her children to join her.
Immigration started to become a bit more difficult, and in the early 1980s, my mother got married. These two are related, because now my grandmother had to rework her petition to include my mother’s new family. So it wasn’t until 2005 that my family moved to California, minus my eldest sister, who had by then also gotten married.
As you can see, my new citizenship was five decades in the making. My coworkers have been congratulating me all week, but really, this isn’t my achievement — my part was only the last year, putting my application in and spending the time and money to push paperwork.
Thoughts on citizenship
As I was sitting in the ceremony and listening to the speeches, I was thinking about the concept of citizenship, and I’ve concluded that, well, it’s actually very strange.
At the ceremony, we were asked to stand by country of origin and remain standing, for “the next time you sit down, you will all be Americans.” No doubt this was true, but becoming American doesn’t mean we stop being Korean, Chinese, Mexican, English, or Canadian. I will always be Filipino; it is literally in my blood and genes.
It’s strange to me that we keep making divisions like this. American, Ethiopian, Indonesian… how about just human? I get that there are some strong differences between human beings — people from East Asia are significantly different from people in Southern Africa. The simple factor of geography has created vastly different cultures and beliefs. I also understand that there needs to be local means of governance and policy-making, because the needs of certain communities are different than the needs of others. And clearly we wouldn’t want people from all over arbitrarily voting on and making policy changes for communities that they don’t necessarily belong in.
But how do we decide, for example, that people from Australia should be able to get around the world more easily than people from Somalia? What happens when, say, we colonize a planet like Mars? Do we then have “Earth representatives” and “Mars representatives?” What about if we meet another intelligent alien species; how shall we represent ourselves? “An Earthling, but from Russia, so we are completely different from those Earthlings in New Zealand…” The human race has fundamental similarities, and I think it is important to focus on the common needs and drives of people rather than the things that make us different.
Top Pot Donuts
Anyway, my coworkers were wonderful and decided that they wanted to celebrate my new citizenship (even though this was an extremely low-key event for me). My desk was decorated in true American style, and all manner of reds, whites, and blues appeared in my area — flags, confetti, cookies. And one of my coworkers brought in donuts from Top Pot, a Seattle-based donut shop.
I love donuts. Actually, I love sweets in general, and donuts are pretty awesome. Incredibly unhealthy most of the time, but delicious. The slightly firm dough, the variety of glazes, the colorful sprinkles… My ultimate favorite is the maple bar.
Top Pot’s donuts are tasty without being excessively sugary (I’m looking at you, Krispy Kreme). So it was a nice treat and a sweet way to celebrate in a low-key way.
Phew, long post just to talk about some donuts! How about you, what was the best thing you ate this week? Share with us on Tasty Thursdays!