On my way to becoming a citizen

I had an appointment with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today. On the letter they sent me about it, they told me to be prepared to be there for approximately 2 hours, and they included a study guide for me to prepare. It didn’t say exactly what I was going there for, but the hints were pretty heavy, and it sure sounded like I was about to have my citizenship test.

The occasion was set for 10:30am, so I showed up a good 15 minutes early because that’s how I roll.

At 11:10, I was finally called in for my interview. The lady that helped me was very friendly, and had me come into her office. That was nice, because I’d been trying to get mentally ready for an interview room with a chair and a lamp. However, there was a bit of an “official” moment when she had me hold my right hand up and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.

After verifying paperwork, the questions came. If I recall correctly, they were:

  1. Who wrote the U.S. Constitution?
  2. Name a state that borders Mexico.
  3. Who is the commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  4. What is the political party of the President?
  5. Name the two main political parties of the United States.
  6. Name three of the 13 original colonies.

My answers were:

  1. Jefferson.
  2. Texas.
  3. The President, Barack Obama.
  4. Democratic Party.
  5. Democratic Party and Republican Party.
  6. Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Of course, they were the right ones. In the last weeks, Kelly helped me study, and thanks to her teaching skillz, I had no trouble remembering all this valuable information.

After the interview, I was told about the next stages. I have to wait to receive a letter about my naturalization, but I’m pretty much already on the path and they just have to finish processing the last part. After that, I’ll surrender all my Argentine documents (like my passport) and then I’ll quickly rush to get myself a US Passport.
This is all to happen before July, so that I can travel abroad using my shiny new passport. And when I come back into the US, I can take the short line into the country that I will soon be calling my official home. Yay!

176 lbs and 23% fat

Well, I had my DEXA exam yesterday, and the results are in:

  • I weigh exactly 80kg, which is more or less 176 lbs. I guess I need a better scale to weigh myself, because I thought I was at 170.
  • 22% of my body is fat. Now, for males the normal range is 4% to 25%, so I’m not technically in a bad spot… but I’m at the upper end of that range, and I would have never known.

The study is pretty cool, you get to lay down on a cushioned bed (very much like this video, except for the knee rest) and hold still while a robotic arm hovering above you zooms around. There is no pain involved, and the best part is that now I know of a bed-like surface to go take naps on if I ever have the need.

Anyway, the report gives some interesting details, broken by body parts. For example, my trunk tissue is 26.7% fat, my legs are 22.6% and my arms 14.6%. Talk about storing the fat in the middle of my body, eh? There are also some more obscure measurements, like “Gynoid: 30%” and “Android: 28.6%”, and I’ll have to wait until I meet with the trainer to find out what those are.

So with that knowledge, I have a better idea of what the goal will be: BF% to somewhere between 12% and 15% range, which will probably take way more than 6 weeks, but that’s ok with me!

Spring fitness challenge

Today is the first day of a “The Biggest Loser” kind of competition at work.

I have 6 weeks to meet my goal, which is set after an assessment with a personal trainer. I like that, because it wouldn’t be fair if it was a weight loss competition, since I’m not overweight. It’s a lot easier for someone 50 lbs. overweight to lose 20 lbs, than for someone at their “ideal” weight to lose 20 (specially since they have no reason to do so!). Additionally, even if it was a body fat percentage loss competition only, it still wouldn’t be fair: It’s easier to go from 30% to 25%, than from 25% to 20%. So the trainer’s assessment will establish goals, and for those of us who are already at a decent level of fitness, the goal will be something else.

The way it works is:

  • Day 1 (today): DEXA Body Fat scan. We do those here at work, so that’s convenient.
  • Day 1+n (undetermined yet): The trainer appointment happens, and she’ll come up with the goal to meet.
  • Day 42: Another DEXA Body Fat scan. After this, the trainer will re-asses everyone, and determine the winner.

The big prize is quite nicel: $250 in cash, a year membership at the gym of the winner’s choice, and 4 tickets to a Reno Aces game.

Today I weighed myself, and I came in at 170lbs. Standing at 5′ 10″, this is the top of my ideal weight (according to the BMI magical formula), and I really don’t want to get any thinner or lighter. My goal however is to get more “ripped“. That is something I’ve been planning on doing to get ready to look good on our honeymoon pictures in July, so this just helps me stay on track, and perhaps speed things up. In other words, my goal is to reduce my body fat percentage. It all sounds pretty vane, and that’s probably because it is.

I’ll be “working on my fitness” by being more mindful about what I eat, and stepping up my work-outs. I’ve doing Starting Strength at the gym for about 2 months now, and I’ve enjoyed getting back into lifting weights regularly. Along with that, I hope to be able to ride my bike to work at least twice a week, now that the weather is much nicer and there is plenty of daylight for the ride home at 5pm. Lastly, there’s always volleyball (the season starts this Sunday, and I’m on two teams!), running and swimming (to be prepared for a triathlon, perhaps) and any other kind of activity that I end up getting involved in one way or another.

My DEXA scan is in 4 hours, and that means that I can’t have any food or water until I’m scanned and given the green light. The suffering begins, NOW!