With her daughter Annie Zhang, 8, at her side, Yu Jiang demonstrates a smartphone application that helped her study for the U.S. citizenship test in her native language as well as in English. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
With her daughter Annie Zhang, 8, at her side, Yu Jiang demonstrates a smartphone application that helped her study for the U.S. citizenship test in her native language as well as in English. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Yu Jiang holds out her iPhone to demonstrate an application that translates English to Chinese and vice versa. The feature plays a series of questions about the U.S. government on a loop, and she carefully answers each inquiry in English.

"Defines government and protects basic rights of citizens," Yu Jiang answers with a bright smile after the phone played a question regarding the purpose of the U.S. Constitution.

The tool was her lifeline this year while she studied for her citizenship test, an exam she passed in August. Her naturalization ceremony is set for Thursday in Indianapolis, where she'll take an oath and officially become a U.S. citizen.

Yu Jiang, better known as Judy to faithful customers, has run the Hong Kong Kitchen in downtown Madison since 2002 with her husband.

The pair moved from China's Fujian Province, which is in the southern part of the country, to New York City in 2001.

In China, they both worked in the restaurant business. After the move, they briefly worked at a family member's restaurant in New York City. They found a home in Madison one year later.

They selected the location of Hong Kong Kitchen because of its downtown venue, which they noticed had no other Chinese restaurants.

"I like it here," Yu Jiang said. "Everybody is very nice."

Yu Jiang spent months studying for the exam. She credits the phone and her three children for helping her through the process.

"Every night I do this," she said putting headphones in her ears.

Two of Yu Jiang and Zu Tian Zhang's children, Devin, 10, and Annie, 8, were born in America, while their oldest daughter, Su Xin Zhang, was born in China. The youngest two attend E.O. Muncie Elementary School while the oldest is a junior at Madison Consolidated High School.

A few of the naturalization test requirements include being a U.S. resident for at least five years and being able to read, write and speak in English.

Yu Jiang still has trouble with some English words and phrases, but she ends each attempt with a bright smile.

But she has plenty of reasons to smile these days. Her family recently opened a new restaurant on the hilltop, The Golden Kitchen, and she'll have passed the final hurdle toward gaining her citizenship.

Her family and friends plan to make the visit to see the ceremony.

"It's very exciting," she said.