Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oxana's citizenship

Oxana had her citizenship interview today. Her application for citizenship was approved (of course). She was really nervous about the gov't questions they might have asked. As it turns out, the questions were:

  1. Who was the first US President?
  2. What was the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?
  3. How many stars are on the US flag?

I had told her that they wanted people like her to become citizens and that they weren't going to flunk her. But she was worried they might ask her to name the thirteen original states. She had written them out and was cramming on the car ride over, along with "John G. Roberts, Jr., Charlie Crist, Mel Martinez, Bill Nelson...." She was afraid she might say, "Charlie Christ" or "Robert Johns" and they'd send her back to Ukraine.

I suppose it is still possible for something to delay her application. She has a friend who made it through the interview, but got rejected shortly thereafter when it came to light that she and her husband had temporarily separated before she had the conditions removed from her permanent status. It didn't seem to matter that she had a good reason (he had cheated on her), nor that they have since reconciled and continue to live together as man and wife. I don't know what the issue was -- perhaps that she did not disclose this. It happened after she had applied to have the conditions removed, but before the BCIS got around to processing her application. Seems unfair to me that she should reap the consequences for her husband's infidelity and bureaucratic sloth. In any case, Oxana won't have those problems.

The only problem she has is that her green card and Ukrainian passport show her name as Oksana, but I filled out her application for citizenship as Oxana. I am not sure how they will handle that. We don't really want to go to court to have the spelling of her name officially changed. Just tell us how they want it spelled and we'll work out the rest.

I don't think any entity other than a bureaucrat would try to dictate a singular spelling of one's name. I could get a credit card under the name Bob or Bobby or Rob (probably even Milkchaser, so long as my social security number was right). Same if I applied for university. Hell, Jimmy Carter took the Oath of Office as Jimmy and not James Earl. Harry Truman didn't even have a middle name (just an initial). US Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, but got stuck as Ulysses Simpson Grant after the Congressman who nominated him wrote his name that way. Once the gov't records your name, they really don't want to change it (he preferred the initials USG to HUG anyway).

The BCIS official didn't seem to think this would delay her oath ceremony. We'll soon find out when that is. A joyous day that will be. Oxana wants to bring Polina along. Much as I'd like the two-year-old to be there as well, that might not work out. She nearly got us kicked out of the office today with all her screaming. She's not really an "office-friendly" child.

BTW, for any non-Yanks reading this post, the answers to those questions are:
  1. Who was the first US President?
    • George Washington (he's on the one-dollar bill)
  2. What was the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?
    • The Mayflower
  3. How many stars are on the US flag?
    • Fifty. One for each state of the union.
  • John G. Roberts is the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.
  • Charlie Crist is the Governor of the state of Florida.
  • Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson are the junior and senior Senators from Florida, respectively (although, how much respect they deserve is a matter of debate).

2 comments:

Sadz said...

I have my citizenship interview coming up on the 29th of January 2008. I was searching online for some real life experiences; I found yours to be the best written, plus, might I add that you have an awesome sense of dry humor. I was literally laughing my hind off.

Thanks for sharing.

Saaransh

P.S. Any Advice? I am married to a citizen, and hence the eligibility for N-400. My wife is not with me right now, as we did have a few mild fights among us which led her to move back to Indiana while I reside here in Dallas, Texas alone, waiting for her to come back. I hope things work out amid us. I want it to. Still, what say you? E-mail me if you feel inclined to revert back at saaransh_showkeen@hotmail.com

Thanks a ton!

milkchaser said...

Of course, Oxana did eventually get her citizenship papers. We did bring both of our daughters along and, because of my younger daughter's misbehavior, I missed the ceremony taking her outside the courtroom. We have since discovered that she is autistic. It's weird to think back on the time when we did not know that about her.

She is much more verbal and controlled nowadays, but clearly autistic. That will be with her her entire life.