A New US Citizen...
Today at 8 Am. I was supposed to show up at Los Angeles Convention center for my US citizenship ceremony. According to map quest it is about 98 miles from Santa Barbara about 1hr and 40 minute drive. We started driving about 5:50 am. Unbelievably our drive started with extremely heavy rain and about 20miles away from the convention center, traffic was jammed up according to the radio news and we found out about multiple car crashes and the closing down of two connecting freeways. We arrived at the convention center almost an hour late and hoped everything will be fine. Freeway signs showed abut 50 min. delay.
I swore in and got my citizenship certificate.
I was worried but it was just fine because today about 6200 other foreigners were having their ceremony too at convention center.
I am from India but still was very surprised to see the crowed for becoming US citizen. Downtown Los Angeles is always chaotic but for me it was brain storming all of these future citizens and their families made convention center look very small. And all of these people looking for parking at convention center no wonder freeway was mess all these people trying to get at the same place and other usual commuters!
Finally my long journey with immigration is over.
Yes, it was hectic and traffic was miserable. Even after we managed to get off on the right freeway exit we still got all messed up when the Mapquest told us to take a right and that was not possible. So we ended up going around the block and cutting both the extreme right and extreme left lanes but still not in the correct lane. Then after a few more misdirections and even people on the street pointing in the wrong direction we finally found a parking lot that was not jammed up with other cars. Got into the convention center and did not even know if it was east or west buildings. Well finally some people were out to direct us. We then got separated between new citizens and "guests". This is the best picture I have since my camera was new and did not know how to set the settings:
This is almost exactly half the room. Dina did happen to see me once since I was wearing a red shirt and waved at me before she was herded to her seats like the rest of the cattle. The little girl looking into the camera was running around like rabbits the whole time with her two brothers. After the hour waiting and the ceremony, they had the guest exit. Of course around the exit everyone was standing next to the door waiting for their relatives/friends to exit. I decided to hang out next to the Republican registration booth, thought maybe Dina would get the idea. But she said it was an hour before I finally found her as she was headed back to the car and I had just came from it. I finally changed my registration from Alaska to California and while looking for me she registered also.
Like most government things like this they never give complete directions as to what is going to happen and what are the procedures. It reminds me of the time that I got my Passport. I got an appointment over the phone. After getting there a little late, I waited in a long line to get into the door to wait in line to get a ticket to wait more for someone to call my name. Again no instructions on what the procedure was going to be or even that it was a group basis for waiting in line to wait in line to wait in another line to get a ticket to wait in another room for a random person to help me...
Yahoo! Another Republican voter!