Friday, February 20, 2009

overheard at the Tea Lounge

This guy and girl are having a conversation about dating. He said that he used to date girls one at a time and had relationships. Now, he dates lots of girls at a time and he is "Spoiled with choices." Awesome.

Also. "Some people have to have conversations, but people like you and me, we can figure things out without a conversation. I mean, we're just friends and this is great."

Pause. "Yeah, this is great."

"How do you think we ended up so platonic?"

"It must be the scrabble. It's a very platonic game."

So, if you want to send a clear message that you aren't into someone, just play scrabble.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A pocket full of love

I've got some extra love laying around these days. It overflows out of my pockets, takes up space in my backpack, keeps getting in the way when I try to do things. It's just been hanging about and doesn't seen to want to get moving. I've taken to baking a lot of cupcakes and visiting the sick and widows. I'm trying to give it away as fast as I can because if I let it just hang around it just gets rotten. Yes, can you believe it? It goes sour and makes it hard to do anything. Usually I would go find some orphans to play with, but I haven't found any in Brooklyn, yet.

Happy belated valentine's day kiddos.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Being American

Yup, that's me holding a Naturalization Certificate. February 5th, 2009, Suvi became an American citizen.

I've been posting about the process to become a citizen of the United States for the last year, and now it is finally complete. I went to my naturalization ceremony at about 8 am on Feb. 5th, and I was nervous. I didn't really know what to expect, or how I would feel. Luckily, my friend April was able to come with me, and I can't tell you how grateful i am for that. Of course, our cell phones and cameras were removed and we were shuffled off to separate rooms for most of the time, but still, it was nice to know that she was there. I went entered this huge court room, the U.S. Eastern District Federal Court building. People of all nationalities trickled in and took their seats. We had so little in common, and yet here we all were, sharing this common experience of changing our identity. Under normal circumstances, i would've been chatting up a storm, but somehow, in this solemn place, and everyone slightly nervous, conversation seemed out of place. Our citizenship was a sure thing, but still, even I, who have lived here most of my life, was perspiring at what was to come. All around the room there were portraits of judges who had presided over the court. After the era of big bushy moustaches and chops, it was hard to place the decade they were from. My favorite was one very large black and white photo of a judge, leaning over a book, in the middle of the woods. I liked his style-- just because he's wearing black robes doesn't mean he has be immortalized in a law library.

We entered the room and we waited. And then, we waited some more. Finally, the three federal employees told us that we would be checked in, and questioned one last time about changes since our official interview. Now, if I were in charge, i think I would've done this maybe as people were coming in, but who am I to question bureaucracy. More waiting until it was my turn to speak to the agent. Now, as it turns out, one of the questions asked if I had left the country, and I did in fact travel to Canada for Christmas while waiting for my naturalization ceremony. I did not, however bring my passport, and I could see them looking at passport. Now the nerves really kicked in, but I patted my hair, smoothed my dress, and smiled charmingly at the young (single) agent questioning me about my travels and he let me go without pause. Phew. Then more waiting, this time with April. And then... it was time. We stood, we raised our right arms to the square, and repeated, in our various accents, the oath of allegiance:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

Have you ever really thought about that? It was a bitter-sweet moment for me. I committed to a lot. I know that this is a serious commitment, to swear allegiance to a country, to America. I am proud to be an American, I know this is what I needed to do, but I am also proud to be Finnish. I didn't come here fleeing persecution, though i know this is a land of freedom. I didn't come here for greater opportunities, though all of mine have come while living here. I don't think America is perfect, but the potential is so great for it. I am here. And this is exactly where I need to be, who i need to be. It'll be interesting to find out who that is. I am American. And now, so are also all the others who were in there with me. A mother with her four children in their Sunday best, from the the Middle East. An older Jewish man, and a very old and small Muslim couple. A Russian couple with their two teenage boys, the father and sons each in white shirts, stretched across their broad shoulders. At least seven Chinese people, sitting all around me. A man from Mexico, whose pregnant wife joined us to witness his naturalization. Countless others, with whom I shared this life changing, identity changing moment.

I am American.

In anticipation for becoming American, I went to D.C. for the inauguration of Obama as the president! It was amazing. There were so many people there, it was so cold, and it was fantastic. Following are pictures of new friends and the inauguration.