Today is Valentine’s Day and I have love on my mind.
Love for loved ones. Love for friends. Love for pizza with peppers and onions.
Love, most of all, for this great country called the United States of America.
Today I become a citizen of the United States.
On my way to the citizen ceremony, I enjoy a few tamales from a local Tex-Mex joint. I take off on my trusty Toyota sedan, a brand I first knew about because the stadium of the Houston Rockets is the Toyota Center. I play songs from Michael Jackson and Eminem on a phone cooked up in the mind of a hungry and foolish entrepreneur named Steve Jobs. While waiting in line with 2000 other immigrants to get our citizenship documents, I google ticket prices for Hamilton on Broadway.
I have been in these States for 20 years. Somewhere along the way, I started becoming accustomed to the liberties, the diversity, and the many great aspects of American society. Somewhere along the way, I stopped realizing how much better it is here than anywhere else in the world.
Yet I will never forget how I made it here. How my grandfather survived in the invasion of China during World War II. How he stayed strong against persecution during the Cultural Revolution. How my parents were the first generation in my family to get college educations. How my parents went through the democratic rallies and economic turmoil of the 80s and 90s. How they came to the States with nothing while my grandparents and uncles took care of me.
I am here in this great country because of the foundations my family has built.
This country is great because of the foundations that immigrants have built, ever since they first settled in the 13 colonies.
I have love for America on my mind.