Immigration Policy

Down the rabbit hole or how we navigated the U.S. Immigration system…Concluded

The conclusion written from my wife’s perspective…

I believe my husband has shared his experience about getting me a
K1 visa. Now I am going to share my experience from the
perspective of an immigrant. As you know I failed my first interview
at the USA Embassy in HCM (Ho Chi Minh City). I still remember
how disappointed I was. Dad and I were exhausted after the
flight. It was our first time in that city and we felt like we were
foreigners there. The food was not good, it tasted funny.
It looked like it had been sitting there a couple of months before
they brought it to us and it was expensive.
Anyway, the fact of the matter is I failed the interview and it
almost knocked us down. We paid a lot of money for the
airline tickets and accommodations. We travelled all the way
down there for nothing. But people said if you don’t go through
the hard times, you wont know the true value of happiness. That’s
exactly what I’ve been through.
I was so so excited when I got my visa. I remember the night we
got on the plane to go to the U.S. All of my family, my cousins,
my relatives were all gathered at my parent’s house. They
went with us to the airport. Some of them cried, some of
them tried to give me advice on how to live alone in
a foreign country (this was my first time being away
from my family). I understand they were worried about me but
somehow I did not cry, I did not feel sad. Don’t get me
wrong, of course I didn’t want to be separated from my family
but a part of me felt free. To be honest I did not feel scared,
nor worried either. Even when I got on the plane. I just grabbed a
seat and looked out the window. I felt my life was just starting.
that I would live my own life, do things my own way and have no
regrets. The flight was terrible. After a long time on the plane,
we arrived in Chicago. We got stuck there for seven hours
because of the snow. The flight was delayed again and again.
There were a lot of foreigners around me. The airport was huge.
This was my first time travelling abroad and it was starting to
overwhelm me. We were totally exhausted. My husband bought
me a hamburger from McDonald’s and it was the worst thing
I’ve ever had. Finally we arrived in Newark New Jersey.
It was very late and we got a driving service because it was
too much for my husband to drive at that time. We went home
with no luggage because it had been lost. Yes, that too.
One more bad memory.
The next two weeks were awful. All of my things were in the
suitcases which were still missing. My husband went to
work and I was home alone with nothing to do. Boring and so sad.
I had been living in Hanoi city for 23 years and was used to noise ,
people and traffic. To be here, alone, it was so quiet, so different
from where I came from. I cried most of the time.
My husband took me to the supermarket on the weekends and
that became my favorite activity because it was the only time we
went out together. I was very anxious to get a job. I didn’t want
to stay home all day by myself. But I had to straighten out my
paperwork first, so we hired a lawyer. My husband wanted to
do it once and do it right. I did some research on YouTube and
by accident I found out I could get my social security number
right after I arrived in the U.S. I printed my arrival record and
brought it with my visa to the social security office. Unfortunately
I was rejected because my record was almost out of date.
It had a week left and I had already been here three months.
They said I had to wait for a green card first. I believe I received
the letter from Homeland security around May, 2017. It was my
first time being fingerprinted. We went to Elizabeth for my
appointment. Oh my, there was a long line of people waiting there.
Finally, my turn came. I had a little trouble with my name because
first and last name were confusing to them. So, it took a little
bit longer than it should have but we did good. We followed the
lawyer’s instructions and went step by step. I got my green
card in August and after that, my social security card which
allowed me to work here. After getting my papers together,
I tried to get a job as soon as possible. The first job I got was
at Six Flags amusement park. It was a part time job but it
was a big deal for me. I applied for it and went through the
interview by myself. My husband was in the hospital, he had had
a stroke. It was very important for me to get this job. It was not easy.
It was a dirty heavy job. I had to walk nonstop for hours, even in
the rain, while carrying heavy garbage bags. The worst was when
I had to dump them into the trash compactor. My legs were
tired and I could barely feel my feet. I never had to walk so much
in my life. The hours were long, sometimes 2pm to 8:30pm but
most of the time I had to work until 11pm or midnight.
Yes this job was very hard but I did enjoy it.
It was my first job after all. I appreciated and respected the people
I worked with. There were times I wanted to quit but looking at
these people who were older than me, some even older than my
parents, who had been there five to seven years or longer gave
me determination. They had been through the same things I was
going through. If they could do it, so could I. I remember
one night, I got home at 2am, I smelled terrible (well I worked
with trash), and was exhausted. My husband was still in the hospital.
I felt so alone, so sad that night. At that time, I tried not to cry, I
kept telling myself the situation right now was nothing. The hard time
I had was nothing. Someone out there was worse off than me.
I didn’t know how long this would last but I knew eventually
things would work out and I would be able to put all this behind me.
Anyway, during my first year in America a lot of things happened
to me both good and bad. It would take a long time to write
all of it down but what I shared with you today is
an experience I will keep with me for the rest of my life.
It reminds me to appreciate what I have.

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