Stuff I Care About

Citizen Chan

by Chansoda on November 20, 2014

Silly glasses, yes, but how patriotic I am. Very happy to finally become a citizen of this country. A country that my family took refuge in after the war drove them out of theirs. This country has given me the opportunity to pursue this idea of the american dream, and I am proud and thankful to have been raised here as a cambodian-american.  It was very touching that some friends decided to crash the ceremony in celebration of me taking my oath as a new citizen.

I came to this country as a toddler straight from the refugee camps in Thailand. Being raised here my whole life, why did it take me so many years to get to this step? In part, these kinds of processes are things I don’t like to do (so it ended in the procrastinate pile). When I turned 18, my dad told me to go apply for my citizenship, but at 18 and paying my own way through college, plus working full-time, getting my citizenship was not a priority. At that age it was expensive to me, you also needed to take time to follow through on the processes of fingerprinting, interview, etc. No one gave me a straightforward road map on “How to become a citizen” (though since then, more resources have become available online). When I was 21, I once went up to the immigration office at the state capital my friend to get this stuff moving. We both didn’t know what we were doing, the office was not open, I had to hurry back to get to work, and it just seemed daunting. So I figured since I’m a permanent resident here, why do I need to take that next step especially since time and cost was a deterrent for me. So I just put it on hold for a really long time.

I realized that as a permanent resident, you’re still denied a lot of rights and deportation can happen. That’s a scary thought, not like I’m actively breaking the law, but being caught in minor situations can have very harmful consequences. You also don’t have the right to vote. I work in this country and pay my taxes, and I’m still denied that right to vote. Travel is a lot harder too. Try getting Cambodia to issue you a passport, near impossible. So the only way to get to travel is to get a Travel Document from the U.S., still a process, still a hefty fee, and it only lasts you two years. Plus, you need to make sure your green card is up to date, which is also another fee. And, America is my country, this is the country I grew up and live in. Not being able to say that I rightfully belong here because I never took the steps to citizenship also sucks.

So, many years, and many fees paid later, I finally took my oath. It was more emotional than I thought it would be, and a relief to say yes, I am truly an American.

I took the oath in the New Haven Superior Court, in one of their oldest courthouses, such a gorgeous room. We later celebrated lunch at Geronimo Restaurant nearby, with our American flags and all.







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ChansodaCitizen Chan

Cambodian Community Meeting

by Chansoda on April 6, 2014

We have a large Cambodian community here in Danbury, and quite a bit dispersed throughout Connecticut, but aside from events at the temple, there isn’t a uniform community that meets and plans these events. As the previous generation ages, we are finding the need to be more organized and to preserve our culture so we can pass it on. It’s nice to see my brother getting involved, and working with the community to fill that need, and perhaps, this will help evolve the Khmer Collective project as well. This past weekend, my mother and brother hosted a community meeting at the house to develop some plans in forming this organization.

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ChansodaCambodian Community Meeting

She Walks In Beauty

by Chansoda on September 13, 2013

A Poem By Lord Byron.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

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ChansodaShe Walks In Beauty

3 Years…

by Chansoda on June 1, 2013

“To have endured all the horrors he did, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that the honorable and brave and good person I knew him to be— *that* was magical…”

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Chansoda3 Years…

Saying Goodbye.

by Chansoda on April 27, 2013

A funeral for a dear friend of my mother and father. She’s feeling quite sad and lonely to see another one of her peers go, only 3 years since my father passed away. He and my father were best friends, she said, the two of them were like twins, reminding her of the days of their youth… Rest in peace.


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ChansodaSaying Goodbye.

Dengue Fever Concert

by Chansoda on April 13, 2013

Celebrated Cambodian New Years rocking out to a Dengue Fever Concert at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC for Season of Cambodia. They were amazing! It was a sold out show with an opening act by rising star Bochan. I was so excited to see the concert packed with people enjoying and supporting khmer arts and culture. I’m so proud for my people, that our rich and beautiful culture was being highlighted, pieced together, and rebuilt after the destruction that was the khmer rouge, the strength and resilience of the human spirit is amazing and inspiring.

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ChansodaDengue Fever Concert