Pete Baksh: ‘Proud to Be an American’
Pete Baksh, Walser Polar Mazda
Walser Polar Mazda Parts Manager Pete Baksh is celebrating a significant milestone. Last week, the 33-year-old officially became a U.S. citizen. Baksh, a native of Guyana, South America, came to the United States with his mother and older siblings when he was just three years old. While he’s lived in the U.S. most of his life, the process of becoming an American on paper took some time.
“It was always kind of on my agenda to do once I turned 18, but it was pretty expensive,” Baksh said. Life rolled on, but eventually, he knew it was simply time. “I started the application process last September , expecting to get a response in July .” Baksh finally got word that the next step, an interview with an immigration officer, would come several months later in October 2021. With those steps behind him, all that was left was his swearing-in ceremony.
Baksh at his swearing-in ceremony in late November
“It’s still kind of surreal. I mean, I don’t really think about it because I’ve been here so long. I kind of feel American, and people assume I’m American anyways.” Still, Baksh said 2021 has been a year of accomplishments. “My wife graduated her nursing school degree, and we got married. I started a photography business. I’ve been doing more photos and videos. We just got the citizenship, and my baby girl will be born soon. This really kind of topped it all off,” he said.
Baksh jokingly said that singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem, “I’m Proud to Be An American” was a new favorite tune on the day of his swearing-in.
“I was singing it to my wife, but now it’s true,” he said.
Baksh says despite this significant milestone, his connection to his home country of Guyana is still strong, thanks to ties of family, food, and music. Baksh said connections with his older siblings keep the language, unique accents, and lineage alive. Homemade dishes of curry, dal, and roti are common staples in Baksh’s home.
As for what’s next, Baksh said he’s looking forward to getting a U.S. passport, voting for the first time, and, the ultimate sign of American citizenry, jury duty.