As of today, April 27 will now mark the day I officially became an American.
I was born in South Korea, from which my parents immigrated to the U.S. when I was only five months old. Until I was probably around the age of six, I hadn't known that I had been born in a different country until I asked my parents who are these people in our photo albums and why aren't they here with us. Visa troubles and green card delays kept us from visiting their native country, but by then, my parents knew their children had too much of their lives here to leave and be denied reentry. Thus, some of those unknown people in the photo albums were blood relatives I never got the chance to meet, and my parents never got to kiss goodbye. This is just one of the numerous sacrifices my parents made for my siblings and me to keep our lives here. I could write a book about the rest.
My naturalization today, having already called this nation my home for all 22 years of my life, meant the absolute world to me. I also had the spelling of my legal name changed from "A In" to "Ain" -- I wanted to keep the Koreanness of my namesake, but in erasing that often awkward space, I've closed that gap I always felt in calling myself a Korean American without an American citizenship.
Happy April 27, and God bless America.