Thursday, February 25, 2010

Becoming a U.S citizen.

I got my U.S citizenship in 2002. I remember, it was an exciting day. I was excited to be a U.S citizen, but at the same I was sad to lose my Pakistani citizenship. You can't have dual citizenship because it is against American law.

I decided to become a U.S citizen because my husband and my children were already citizens and we would probably live in the U.S for the rest of our lives. In my heart , I think of myself as a citizen of both Pakistan and America. It seemed a little bit weird to visit my country on a visa after becoming a U.S citizen. Because visiting my own country where I lived for most of my life , as a foreigner was kind of painful. I wish we could keep both citizenships at the same time as some other countries allow that. I will be faithful to Pakistan and America both.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A brand new life!

Today is Chinese New Year that reminded me about thirteen years ago. I was celebrating Chinese New Year with my family and friends back in Hong Kong. But today I celebrated with my own family in America. Things are totally different. I still remember that day,I left Hong Kong. All my family and friends came to airport to say goodbye to me and my husband. At that moment, I was sad, nervous, excited and happy.

I felt sad because I had to leave my family, friends and the place I grew up. I felt nervous because I was going to live in a country that speaks different language and has a different lifestyle. But I was happy and excited because I was going to start a brand new life and live with a man who loves me so much.

By the time the airplane landed in Chicago, I knew I was going to face a lot of challenges and have a new adventure. Just couple weeks later, I felt homesick. I was really missing my family and friends in Hong Kong. I missed the delicious Chinese food even though we had dinner in Chinatown every week. But the taste is still not the same.

When my husband went to work, I got lonesome at home. I didn't have any kids at that time. Therefore, the telephone let me reconnect with my family and friends again. TV was good entertainment for me and also helped me listen and understand more English.

I went Chinatown's grocery stores to make Chinese food recipes that make satified my taste-buds.

In order to comprehened to the new life faster in America, first I have to improve my English skills in talking and listening. So I went to ESL class. In the class I was not only learning English, I also made friends from other countries too. Second, I have to get used to the freezing cold and snowy weather in Chicago. Hong Kong's weather is warm in winter and is hot and humid in summer.

In retrospect, I'm lucky to have my husband to encourage, support and take care of me. I'm proud of myself been gone through those difficult times. Now I have a happy family with two lovely boys. I really enjoy my peaceful life in America.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My First Visit to the USA

This story is about my first visit to the USA.
I came here with my daughters in November 2009. One month later my kids started studying in school and I sturted to study English in January. Now it's difficult for me to write about my feelings in this new country, because I have only lived here for 3 months. I like the education that my kids are getting. I like the living conditions. I am glad that my family (my husband and my kids) are finally all together. The past 12 years my husband was living here without us and sometimes he came to St.Petersburg to visit us. Now I think I'm happy, although life is not easy. I hope that it will be all good in the future.

Becoming a US citizen

After moving to America the next big decision was to become a US citizen. Becoming a US citizen is not some one step procedure. The first step is the applying for the citizenship through proper application, and then having to wait for the approval. I do not remember how long it took but it was not some days or weeks of waiting, but it took months.

After I received approval I had to go through background checking and fingerprinting to make sure that I am an innocent person. It was very strange for me and it was the first time I experienced that kind of a treatment.

The best part was the interview, but at the time I was very nervous and puzzled, because everything was new for me. The interview basically consisted of some questions which were about present and past of US government and history and some words or sentence of writing English. The person who was leading the whole process was very nice and my nervousness was gone after a while. We talked about a lot of fun stuff, like he asked me if watched a lot of soap operas because he knew that I was a house wife. At that time it was a very funny question for me but later on I realized that it was a part of interview.

After all that, I had to wait for the oath which is basically the last part.months after the interview, a US judge gave the oath and then everyone was handed over a US citizenship certificate which is a proof of US citizenship.

It was almost a five years process but I was happy that whole thing was finished and my husband took me to dinner for a treat.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coming to America

I moved to America from Pakistan about ten years ago. I still remember that day. I had mixed emotions. I was sad to leave my country and family behind but I was also excited to start a new life with my husband and children in USA.

When I moved to USA, it took me some time to get used to American accent. I knew a little bit of English, but I was not used to American accent. That is why it was hard to communicate. I couldn't understand the news even though I knew how to read English. I was more used to Pakistani British kind of English.

Some common words used in American English were unusual for me. Like I heard a child asking another child ''Are you mad?" To me mad meant crazy, so I thought that was disrespectful, but when the other child replied calmly "No, I am not.'' I realized that the word "mad "meant something else. I found out later it meant angry.

After a few weeks, I started feeling home sick. I just wanted to go back and see my mom and siblings. I called them everyday and our telephone bill was huge. My husband understood my feelings but was not happy with the huge bill. Not visiting my family for so long was hard. I started feeling loneliness. In Pakistan I had more of a social life. It took me almost two years to get used to living in America. Now ten years later I am quite comfortable living here. I learned English language quite a bit. Now I can communicate easily.

America for the First Time

1995 was the year when I came to America for the first time. That was a very exciting time for me because I was young and energetic and at the time I had two young children, one was almost three years old and the other was only 6 months old, now they are 18 and 15. I was so eager to see a new country, but still saying goodbye to my family was very hard. It was the first time that I would have a life without my parents and other family members, but the thought of the new adventure that I would start in not only in new country, but in new continent, gave me the courage to start a new life without my parents.

I used to watch English movies back in my country, and I had a small idea that how the United States and its people are. For example, I used to watch the TV show CHiPs in which they showed the highway in the beginning and I was so amazed with the highway system. When I saw it in person I was gleefully surprised to see that it was exactly like the TV show.

Though the roads were a familiar sight, America was a totally different culture and environment for me. However, when I used to see something familiar that always reminded me of the movies, I felt pleased. I was also very amazed with so many lush green trees on every street.

Basically I don’t remember the exact feelings because I am used to living in this country for a long time now, and the life is still going on. I recognize my feelings and emotions will keep changing for the rest of my life, but I hope to have a nice and peaceful life.