Anna and Lucy suffered through weeks of listening to the Citizenship Test CD in my car and now scream 'No! Not Nancy Pelosi' whenever I grab my car keys. I know you're dying to know what the 100 questions are, so here's a link, but if you're too lazy I'll write the 10 questions I was given at the end of this post - feel free to knock yourself out - but I want an honest marks out of ten in the comments section afterwards please.
I actually really enjoyed learning about that 'Congress' thing you have, the 'Constitution' and the brilliant idea of 'Checks and Balances', vetoes, separation of powers etc. A written Constitution - what a concept. The more I read, the more I realized that being allowed to be considered a naturalized citizen is an honour, nay, an honor.
So when the INS interviewer called my name I leaped up and put away my 'Best Short Stories of 2010' - see, everyone, I read English for fun, for a laugh, a ha ha ha (poor Peter Sarstedt reference). I clutched my binder of critical paperwork and followed him behind the magic door. The night before I'd assembled my 'very important paperwork' binder because people in chat rooms had suggested that if you look like you're armed with all the relevant info they won't ask for any of it (true). As I collected bank statements and tax returns I came to the section about 'proof of marital union'.
I asked LK how I was supposed to prove marital union.
"You are a moron" he answered.
"Yes, but how do I prove that I'm your moron?"
"Erm, maybe our children???!! Our children who I am starting to believe are much smarter than you?!"
My INS officer led me deep into the bureaucratic corridors of the INS - full of small cubicles, family pictures, and people trying to look American and remember who signed the Declaration of Independence.
I took a seat and he asked me how the fires had been in Santa Barbara. Good question really, for establishing residency (and residual distrust and hatred of your current town). He asked me if I would ever bear arms for the US and I, perhaps misunderstanding, said I would be more than happy to bare arms, or bear alms, whatever was needed. He asked me if I had any money owing to the IRS, whether I'd ever been convicted of a crime? I answered no. He said 'not even a speeding ticket?' I said no, thinking of my 3mph drive down to LA. It is impossible to speed here. He asked if I'd had any traffic violations at all. I told him I'd had a parking ticket when I was in labour with my oldest daughter and hadn't been able to avoid the street sweepers. He seemed satisfied.
He then asked:
- What's the name of the national anthem?
- Who is our Governor?
- If the Vice President and President are out of action who takes over?
- Name one amendment to voting rights?
- What ocean lies to the East of the US?
- Who is in charge of the Executive Branch?
- What is the state capital?
- Why did the colonists leave the UK?
- When was the Constitution written?
- How many amendments to the Constitution are there?
and finally, he asked me to write 'California is the State with the most people', and I was very tempted to write 'California is the State with the moist people' but I didn't because I am cowed by authority.
He asked me again if I owed any taxes or had ever committed a crime. I was starting to doubt myself at this point. Library fines? Changing lanes without signaling?
But that was it. I made it, I passed. I high-tailed it off to Ikea to spend my money on Stüff like a true American.
Next stop the 'Swearing in Ceremony'. I bet you can't wait can you?
- Star-spangled banner
- Arnold Schwarzeneggar (also accepted - The Governator)
- Nancy Pelosi!!!
- Any citizen over the age of 18 can vote
- The President
- Sacramento. Not LA! Don't say LA!
- Because they were fools