Hello everyone! 👋 My weekend is wrapping up so it’s finally time to write a proper post telling all that happened since Friday morning. It was a fateful and eventful day, with big highs and big lows but overall fantastic really, when all is said and done. Let’s do this!
❤️🤍💙 Naturalization Ceremony ❤️🤍💙
We left the house at 6:30am. The ceremony was at 8:15am, so we went to Dunkin’ Donuts to get breakfast first, since Dunkin’ was the first thing my mom and I ate when we landed on the US almost 20 years ago at 4:00am. 🍩 So on such a special occasion, of course we had to start with that. We met my mom at USCIS in Hialeah.
The ceremony, I have to say, was really lackluster. 😞 I did expect that to a degree, with COVID and all, but the masks, the social distancing, the Judge having to be there over Zoom, none of that was the issue. Even not being able to have guests there was much of an issue to me.
More than anything, it felt like this particular USCIS location didn’t give the event the gravitas it deserved. The thing that sucked most was that the USCIS employees weren’t ready, so as the Judge was talking to us, and saying all of these important things, they were talking over her. 😠 Wtf?! They were trying to get everyone’s paperwork and such and we just couldn’t hear the Judge. All stuff that should have been done before we entered that room.
Another thing was that, for all they tell you to dress to mark the dignity of the occasion, there were people with tank tops, torn jeans, visible panties (?!) which did also kinda spoil the mood for me a tad. 😒
But even that wasn’t the worst. At one point the Judge asked that we all take out our paper with the Oath of Allegiance. No one had it because they failed to give it to us! So we all repeated after the Judge as best as we could but that was so upsetting, some of the words were hard to understand. This was also the Oath with which you renounce allegiance to your country of birth. It’s a big deal and was supposed to be so solemn. And EVEN AT THIS TIME, some employees are still talking over the Judge and walking around! Give me a break.
Another bummer was that the video of Biden welcoming us didn’t play. I was looking forward to that so much. And then the Judge asked us to take out the little flags we had been given but we had been given NO FLAGS! I was so upset by this too. We did get our flags by the end, with the Naturalization Certificate, after the ceremony was over. But not on that special moment. Worse yet, we could see on the livestream that people at other locations got them properly and in time.
As we left we did get some photos outside with me holding my little flag, though, so that was nice:
Here is my Naturalization package… 😁 the flag, certificate (I edited out all sensitive info) and my voter registration and passport papers to fill out! It’s official!
Later, during the party, I got a frame from our friend Fern to put my certificate. I’ll frame it and put it on the wall this week. I got a stand for my little flag too. Displaying everything properly this week.
We were supposed to go to lunch with my mom a couple hours after, so we went to our house to relax a while until it was time. I was so excited about this lunch! But alas, it was not to be, because…
⛈️ Elliot’s Emergency Vet Visit ⛈️
Elliot got very sick, very suddenly. He must have been developing an UTI for a few days. But he was fine, eating and drinking well, playing and running like crazy. Suddenly, he began crying, dragging his front on the rug, panting heavily and desperately, trying to pee everywhere, without success. So right before we were about to leave for lunch, my mom had to go home and we ran to the vet as an emergency.
It was clear that Elliot was suffering terribly all the way. Between that, the lackluster ceremony, and the canceled long-awaited celebratory lunch, my spirits were so low. It felt like my day might be ruined. How can I be happy when my kitty is suffering.
Elliot had to have multiple medications to treat his infection, and manage his pain. We went home with a $330 bill… I didn’t even dare ask that we still have a meal out. We went home and I did my best to cheer up as I continued getting the house ready for the party, but at this point I wasn’t in the mood for partying anymore. 😔
🐱 Patriotic Kitties 🐱
As I cheered up and decorated I began to fool around. I may have gotten Kotoko and Rosemary involved:
No Elliot, because he was sick, and no Tomoyo, because I didn’t feel like being hospitalized.
🥳 The Party 🥳
I was barely ready when guests began to arrive. 😲 The first was my new friend Shelly and her boyfriend Ben. Shelly is a very sweet girl whom I met online almost two years ago. We were supposed to attend Little Scouts together but that fell through because of… stuff happening in both our lives, and soon after I became so jaded on having new friends and doing kiddy things together, that I didn’t pursue further and you know, time just passed, and then COVID hit.
So, a month or so ago (I may have told this story in passing on my blog actually) a pest control truck was parked across the street from my house. I’d been looking for someone to do pest control inside our house and I saw a girl near the truck; I thought, great! I want to support a woman-led pest control business. I never see that. So I ran outside in my rainbow socks like a crazy person.
I approach the truck and ask, and this girl, who’s now in the truck with a gentleman, looks at me really intensely while explaining that they only do outdoor pest control. I go back inside and get a text from Shelly, the girl I didn’t get to meet long ago, and she’s all like, did you just ask me about pest control?? Of all the crazy coincidences, right?
Anyway, thankfully Shelly is better at remembering people from photos than I am. We began texting again but I couldn’t manage to make some spare time to meet, so I invited them to this party, and thankfully they both came and hopefully weren’t too put off by my obnoxiousness. 😅 They were both so nice.
A lot of people began to arrive soon after them. Some couldn’t make it, but people who I wasn’t expecting to see made it, and we had a great turnout. Christopher made great burgers as usual and a lot of the snacks I got were eaten.
I wrote a lot, so I’m going to interject with some pictures here:
Something that I was NOT expecting was presents. Danny and Amanda gave me a card and fifty bucks that I had a lot of fun spending at Barnes & Noble the next day (more on that later.) My mom in law came dressed in patriotic colors and gave me a flag cookie, a $50 Amazon gift card, a beautiful bracelet with USA flag colors, and at some point I lose track of what was from her and what was from Grandma… I got a pole and a USA flag for the house, and I do mean a real proper full size all-weather flag, and I believe one was from my mom in law and the other from Grandma. There was also napkins and a tablecloth and a garden flag, and a dish towel, all USA themed, it was really all too much… I was floored.
Grandma also sent this pair of flags. I have a similar one already on the porch, so I will rotate them as they wear out:
There was a lovely note from Grandma too. My friend Jen got me some fancy liqueur and my very dear friend Kris and his lovely girlfriend Sivan got me a tic-tac-toe set. You may not think this sounds very special, and I was a bit puzzled, until I opened the actual pieces and screamed. Here it is in the library!
It’s handmade in Puerto Rico. Needless to say, they know me well…
We drank a fair bit. Christopher is such a delightful drunk.
I just get more obnoxious. For my drink, I asked Leo to pop the cork in my champagne, and he somehow broke the mouth of the bottle and cut his finger, so I gave him a Cinderella printed band-aid and filtered my champagne through a Keurig reusable pod. There were no crunchies. 😁
Here’s more drunk Christopher. This was near the end of the night. You can hear my mom in law telling him to just be quiet. Lol.
Christopher rarely drinks and for this reason I LOVE it when he does. He’s the best kind of drunk, just fun and happy. We had to carry him up the stairs though.
My mom in law took several photos, but most of this night’s photos were taken by my friend Andrea, who, by the way, came looking SUPER patriotic. She’s very good at just constantly taking random candid photos for which I am always grateful.
Here’s a selfie round-up:
Speaking of Andrea being great at capturing moments, some DDR actually happened since Christopher fixed the machine. Here he is playing with dad-to-be Leo:
Here’s both Christopher and I, happy and drunk. A wonderful night almost over.
I took this photo right before getting in bed. Getting Christopher to bed was a whole ordeal. Bert was a big help. Christopher was so happy and loopy, poorly coordinated and consequently difficult lol. As soon as he passed out after brushing his teeth, Kotoko protectively lay on him.
And that was the end of this wonderful night. One more thing I want to mention is that I got to hang out with my old friends for a long time, I mean my pre-Christopher friends, for the first time in years. Properly, I mean.
You see… a few years ago, I felt so fulfilled by Christopher and by the couple of friends that we were deeply close with at that time, that I unconsciously (or perhaps somewhat consciously) stepped away from my old friend group, I can even say I pushed my friends aside. The friendship we had with that couple truly and utterly filled my heart and the free time in my weekends. When it wasn’t that, I was so absorbed with my furry friends and my new weird lifestyle that I felt it didn’t merge well with my old friend group. I didn’t lose touch completely, but I did by a big amount.
Now, other than seeing one of our old friends sometimes (since I had a terrible and very painful falling out with the other) that “couple” friendship is gone and it left a huge gaping hole. There’s no more hanging out every weekend, no more meeting up to cook a meal at our place or going to an art walk or a thrift sale. It took a long time to get used to that. But I didn’t feel like just trying to rekindle old friendships either. I was left quite jaded and afraid by that experience and a similar one that followed. No longer in pain, but tired by it, just jaded.
Now a lot of time has passed since the last truly painful, traumatizing stuff. Two plus years. Other bad stuff happened but it’s more easily brushed off. And I saw my old OLD friends again. Almost all of them came. They didn’t have to, you know. None of them forgot me. They all came to celebrate me and treated me as if I’d been part of the group in the same way the last five years (which I have not been.)
I felt more comfortable and more like myself among them than I ever did before. Like the old me and the new me came together and I’m comfortable again. And now I better see how precious friendships are. I was so careless with them.
Our MAD anime group had its share of drama but most of us have always gotten along and sorted out conflicts. I knew that before but didn’t realize its value. My friends are all very different but they are good people and I’m really lucky to be back among them after I kind of discarded them temporarily. Maybe I thought I didn’t need them but that is not true. No friendship should ever be taken for granted. We get less in a lifetime than we think, and I was and am lucky to have them.
We have the next MAD meetup planned, at our place! I haven’t hosted one in years, so I’m really excited. It’s on June 12th.
Sorry to get so verbose… let’s move on to Saturday!
🌈 Saturday 🌈
Since I didn’t get a nice meal with my mom, my mom in law treated me to the same place I wanted to go to for Saturday’s lunch (The Tavern). I brought Beanie along for this one:
I had crab cakes, teriyaki brussel sprouts and cole slaw. I wanted to have crème brûlée for dessert but in the end I was just too full.
After this we went to the book store. I saw this cute book but I didn’t buy it, I got a picture though:
It KILLED me that we ran into Thomas stuff, and they had Harold, Edward AND Cranky!! I didn’t dare ask Christopher for any of it… 😖 He’s been spending way too much because of me. But seeing this stuff in person and not getting it was kinda killer, haha… at least I got a photo:
It was Cranky I wanted most of all. 😭 But now, for what I DID buy. I got this Sesame Street tote:
It’s big and very thick and fits my iPad:
I also got a couple of dinosaur books and a li’l t-rex friend:
These books may be for little kids, but I want them for character design tips and ideas. The illustrations are amazing, and the quick facts are super useful:
Later we went to Brandsmart. We didn’t buy anything, it was just to look. Brandsmart always feels larger than life to me:
After that we went to Phở 79 for dinner, and then home. Before bedtime we played Rummikub and Mille Bornes. I had patriotic cakes with my new dino friend:
I went to bed very tired and happy. It was a wonderful day.
🎀 Sunday 🎀
Sunday was a quieter affair. I got up, had my coffee and got ready to head out on my walk. I wanted to check the Pride section at Target. Speaking of, my pansexual pride bandana did come in, at least, which you can see in the photo above.
It was a rainy day, everything gray and dull and wet. My outfit really stood out (and I’m not even holding my dinosaur umbrella here):
Before I went out though, my mom in law helped us install our brand new flag!
❤️🤍💙 Installing The Flag ❤️🤍💙
Honestly, they did all the hard work. But I made sure the flag didn’t touch the ground.
Placing the pole!
We had to get at least one photo of me next to it:
Here’s the way the flag looks from the door, and from the street:
Here it is waving in all its glory! A waving flag makes a beautiful sound. I never paid attention to it until now.
At dusk we brought the flag in. We won’t actually take it out again until Thursday, as that is when we will be installing a light so it’s not in the dark at night.
I think that’s everything. A very busy week looms ahead, with cleaning-up to do, overdue warm-ups, immigration paperwork for my mom, answering lots and LOTS of congratulatory messages, and scheduling doctor appointments.
I’m going to take care of my snails now, and then head to bed. Thank you so much to everyone who read this!
Marina's furry art, fantasy writing and daily life!