As a person of voting age, I also criss-crossed the globe so frequently, living at different times in France, Britain, Sri Lanka, and in other countries, that I never stayed put long enough to feel invested in local politics along with their citizenries (for the record, I was born in London to a French mother and Sri Lankan father). I also developed a bad habit of missing the deadlines for registering to vote as an expatriate in French, British or Sri Lankan national elections. But I hope that you'll sympathize with me, because being a man made up of at least three countries and multiple continents can be confusing.
It was that sense of living a global nomad's life and being rootless that made me want to become an American. I grew tired of such a mobile existence and wanted to feel that I belonged to one place, so I finally decided to apply for citizenship in May 2008. On April 22, 2009, I and 4,000 other immigrants officially became Americans. En masse we gave up our green cards and took the Oath of Citizenship together in one of those cavernous livestock exhibit buildings at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona. Yet, for me, the act of voting sealed my completion as an American, a journey that started when I first set foot on U.S. soil at age seven.
On Tuesday night, I was nervous as I stepped up to the voting stall at a local theater to fill in that nine-page ballot. With all those state and local elections, and a slate of propositions to consider, I admit that the ballot's complexity was daunting. I ended up voting with my gut.