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I took and passed my US citizenship test today.
Now, technically, I am not an American just yet — that happens when I take the oath in a few weeks — but this pretty much feels like I am.
My wife and I had to fill out a big application, submit a bunch of documents and take a test. This has been almost a year in the making. We decided to finally do it after last year’s presidential election. I didn’t like that we couldn’t take part in something that felt so monumental.
The test consisted of 10 questions. We had to get six right to pass. They give you 100 questions to study about the history of America, and some geography, too.
I was nervous about this test for weeks. We studied quite a bit.
Luckily for my wife and I, we got the first six questions right, and that was that.
I don’t remember all the questions but I remember a couple. They were:
1) What happened on Sept. 11, 2001?
2) What was the name of the movement in the sixties to push for equality for all races?
That kinda stuff. Needless to say, it wasn’t too hard. I probably didn’t need to stress about this test as much I did.
Oh, I also had to write, The president lives in the white house. Nailed that one, too. No biggie.
Anyway, I passed, and I feel great about it.
I moved to America in August 2001 to study at Syracuse University. I’ve talked about that experience a lot. It was tough. I wanted to quit several times. Thankfully, I didn’t. Had I done so, it would have been very hard to pursue a career in America.
It’s crazy to think that this has now happened exactly 20 years later. Heck, it’s crazy to think that I’ve now been living in the USA longer than I lived in Canada (20 years vs. 19)!
I will forever be proud of my Canadian heritage. I will forever identify as being Canadian. And if Canada ever plays the US in any kinda sport, rest assured, I will forever root for Canada.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I always wanted to be American, too. Growing up, I was enamored with American culture: the sports, the music, the movies … all of it.
I fully believed in the American dream. I wanted to live the American dream, and now I am.
When I graduated from SU, I was granted a one-year visa to work in the field I studied in. I had the privilege of working for HBO Sports that year. It was an amazing experience.
When my year was coming to an end, my boss told me they wanted to hire me full-time. I was stoked. I ordered a large pizza that night — with pineapple and olives — and ate the whole damn thing myself. It was wonderful.
And then a few days later, HR said they couldn’t keep me around because of my visa. They didn’t want to sponsor an entry-level employee. So I lost my job. I was devastated.
It took months to find a new employer to sponsor me. I got close with a couple jobs — including WWE — but ultimately no one wanted to sponsor me. The whole experience was a bummer, and I reminder how hard it is to actually work here. I’ve never forgotten that feeling.
Luckily, a production company, K2 Pictures, was willing to take a chance on me. They hired me to be a researcher for a show called “Classic Now” on ESPN Classic in 2006. That was huge. The show didn’t last very long, but their decision to sponsor me changed everything.
So that’s why this means so much to me. Non-Americans don’t realize how hard it is to work here legally if you aren’t born here. Even if you’re from nearby Canada.
To think that I’ll never have that issue again, that my wife won’t have that issue, that my kids won’t have that issue, is a pretty damn good feeling.
And to think that this son of immigrants, who moved to Canada from Lebanon in the late 70’s, is now at the goal line of becoming a dual citizen, as well, is something I am very proud of.
I am so thankful for this life and for everything that has happened over the past two decades. All the ups and all the downs. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Twenty years in the making.
God bless America. (And Canada.)