Showing posts with label Our Story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Our Story. Show all posts

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Journey to America- Part Two: Shattered dreams

Be sure to check out Part One!

After one year of blogging about our wish to cross the ocean and move to America, two people offered to help us.Through Twitter, we connected with Kat, a 40-year-old, who worked in the movie industry, while Facebook helped us met Eugene, a rich Romanian politician established in “The Windy City”, owner of a transportation company. They were both just what we’ve been looking for: wealthy American citizen, able to fly us there.
It's really amazing to see what courage and perseverance can do

Due to the time zone difference, I emailed them at night and get an answer at dawn. Reading their emails felt like Christmas morning; I would wake up, immediately open my laptop and checked my Inbox, anxiously scrolling down. When there weren’t any messages, I freaked out: “Did I say something wrong? What if they got tired of us?”
Soon enough, I began day dreaming about our future life. I would be Eugene’s housekeeper and my husband, his gardener — he actually can’t name more than three species of flowers, roses being one of them.  A variation of this plan was also made for Kat.  

We were kids...
Studying to become a journalist meant I was in charge of writing those emails. But unlike me, a natural oversharer who could easily spit out my entire life over e-mail, they preferred to remain extremely mysterious.It was frustrating.

Convincing them to share basic information about jobs or age was like pulling teeth, though I did manage to found out that Kat was Mexican and single and Eugene dreamed of running a political organization. None of them wrote back more than five lines at a time; I responded with pages. When their emails became few and far in between, I saw my fantasies slipping through my fingers. “I’m going to get you here”, they would say, then didn’t replied back for days. 

In the winter of 2011, our “pen-friendship” ended abruptly. Around the same time, election results came out: Eugene party had sunk. Kat, on the other hand, explained she had a dying father to take care of and recently lost her job. The news hit me like a lightening. I stalked them for several weeks, sending long, hateful emails in which I obsessively asked them to keep their initial promise, to bring us in America. None of them fought back.
I would often fall asleep with a keyboard soaked in tears in my lap and Chicago’s Downtown picture in the Menu Bar. “Are we still doing this or not?” I asked C., on a particularly sunny morning. It was April and we were ready to dust off our pride.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Journey to America- Part One: Diversity Visa, a blog and a dream board

You know how transgender people say they were “born in the wrong body”? That’s how my husband and I felt about Romania, our home country. Coming from two dysfunctional families only added fuel to the fire; he had an alcoholic father, while I didn’t meet mine to this day.

The idea of immigration was first brought up when we moved together, two years into our relationship.”Esti sigura ca asta e ceea ce-ti doresti?” my then boyfriend solemnly asked me. (“Are you sure this is what you really want?”)

Later, I went to college in another city, he followed me and slowly, but surely, we started to fantasize about living in the U.S. Maybe it was because of Oprah and other American leaders, whom I ever heard speaking about a country that gives everyone a chance. Either way, we decided to move in the U.S. or die trying. I was 20, he was 26. Little did we know that it would take five years to accomplish this! 
We celebrated birthdays with American themed cake
The first thing we did was to try our luck in the Diversity Visa Lottery. None of my American friends know about this and why would they, if they already live here? It’s basically a program run by the U.S. government, which annually gives thousands of visas to immigrants from all over the world. “All we have to do is fill our personal information and hope for the best”, my husband explained to me, one night, while he uploaded our photos on the program’s official website. 

But as we were about to find out, a privilege like this doesn’t come cheap. Whoever is lucky enough to be selected is also required to bring financial and social proves that he’s capable to support himself in the States. Many people sell their homes; others borrow money from a bank. Most of them though have friends and family already living in America.
We, on the other hand, had no connections whatsoever in this country, lived with another couple in a rented apartment and the most valuable thing we owned was two pair of roller-blades.
Inspired by "The Secret"
With millions of people as our competitors, we couldn’t just sit around and wait to hit the jackpot. Once again, my husband came up with a plan. “You’re studying to be a journalist, right? Let’s open a blog. Maybe some wealthy American would want to help us one way or another”, he enthusiastically told me. Here’s what our “About” page displayed:

“Two young, dreamy and always happy, impersonating American folks, struggling to become real tax payers. Now we still live in Romania but somewhere in the future we'll live in the mighty US of A, because even though our bodies are here, our souls are hanging out there. From here to there will be a very long journey ... you are welcome to join us”

The blog, called Our Journey to U.S.A, was childish, full of typos and short-lived, but it gave us a reason to keep fighting. We got married the same year and continued to take turns writing on the blog, under “Her” and “His” pages. 
Sorry for the quality of this photo. It was taken five years ago
Now, I am grateful to be able to remember all those moments: the day we made a dream board, the fights we had as a newly married couple or how disappointed we were when we didn’t found our names of the Visa Lottery list. 

During all this time, two people living in Chicago (how ironically!) offered to help us. Our plan had finally worked. Or so we thought…