The application has been filled out in black ink and capital letters.
Now, it’s time to say, “Cheese” or in my family it would be time to say, “Kimchee”.
The catch? Lots of details. Glasses on? Glasses off? Well, it depends. If you’re reading the USCIS website – off. If you’re reading the USDS website – on. Glossy. Color. Two 2×2 copies. Head has to be between 1″-1 3/8″. White to off-white background. “A” number and name printed lightly on the back. Neutral expression (I am rarely neutral), which means I actually don’t get to say, “Cheese” or “kimchee”.
I think I look angry…or like I’m posing for a traditional old school East Asian family photo. (Raise your hand if someone in your parents’ yearbook/wedding photos had this same expression on their face!) Peter thinks I just look tired. Bethany thinks I look weird.
Taking the completed application to the post office this afternoon felt weird. It’s difficult to explain. Unlike immigrating to the US and being born a Korean female, applying for citizenship was a choice. And for someone who is still asked, “Where are you from?” or “Where did you learn English?” choosing to become an American when I know very well that there are places where I will never be seen as American is a choice to engage.
Please don’t get me wrong. My faith, not my country or culture or gender, come first. But I do not believe any one of those parts of my life is separate from the others, and neither can one single-handedly define or direct me. Does that make sense? Agree? Disagree?
Regardless, I think we can all agree this is not the most flattering photo I’ll ever have of myself. But in a funny way I think it captures well some of the many choices I’m blessed to have.
Sometimes we do get to have our cheese (with some lactaid) and kimchee (but not necessarily together but not unheard of) and eat it too.