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    Posted June 26, 2012 by
    Somewhere, Oregon
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    New citizens: Why did you become American?

    More from pkp89

    Indian AND American

    My dad moved to the United States when I was almost 7 years old and my younger brother was only 2 1/2. I knew he was "leaving" but did not fully understand that he would not be coming back anytime soon and still remember the feeling, days later when I finally understood. He left to try to make a better life for his family and to give my brother and me the best opportunities he could provide. My mom was left with 2 young children to raise alone in the city, away from any help from family and it was 3 long year before my mom, brother and I were able to join him. To say the moment we got our visas was bittersweet would be an understatement. On one hand our family was about to be reunited but on the other we were leaving everyone and everything we knew behind.
    We arrived to in Seattle in early 2000 to find a completely new world. Everything was different and so was everyone. The way people behaved, acted, dressed or did anything was vastly different than what I was used to but getting to be with my dad was worth the culture shock and eventual acclimation we went through. Since we had arrived near the beginning of summer, the school we would eventually enroll in decided to have us just enroll the following school year. My brother who was only 5 spent the entire summer outside while I spent it with my nose in a book. We went to the library 3 or 4 times a week because I would read the books as fast as I could get them. During those 3 months both, my brother and I learned how to speak English and got more comfortable in our surroundings before entering the unknown and sometimes vicious halls of our elementary school.
    Our first year here was probably the hardest because everything was new to us. My dad drove a taxi at the time and tried to show us as many things at possible but that was not always possible as he worked constantly. Eventually we were acclimated and started becoming American’s. My brother and I threw ourselves into doing anything and everything we could do at school and at home. He started playing basketball and track while I played volleyball. My parents made sure however that we were also involved in Indian activities so we would not forget our culture and heritage so while doing sports we also took Bhangra (Punjabi dance) lessons and got involved in the Gurdawara.
    We went through all the twist and turns life throws at you, becoming more and more American every day. Today, 12 years after I moved to the US, it would be a lie for me to say I am only Indian or only American. I have spent more than half my life here in the States and I am 100% American in some ways. However, I was born in India and spent the first years of my life there. My family is from there and it is a deep part of who I am. Some of my beliefs and values are 100% Indian and that will probably never change.
    This country has given so much to my family and I. My parents are proud business owners who inspire me so much, because they got to this point through pure hard work and determination and by taking advantage of the opportunities being in the US provided. My younger brother just graduated from high school and is started college in the fall. I just graduated with my B.A’s in English and Political Science. The next step in my life comes from my love for this country and my desire to protect what is important. I am started law school so I can help safe guard our civil liberties and our constitution because without that, there would be America and without America, I would not be me.
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