Continuing The Dream
After I received the “green light” for being accepted to start Community College in the fall of 2011, I was beyond thrilled and eager to get all additional necessary documentation together so that I could move back to the United States. The next big step, as with the au pair application, was to apply for a visa. This time for the F-1 student visa. So I had to head back to Frankfurt to pay the U.S. Consulate another visit, this time however with a little more apprehension than the last time since I just had lived in the United States for an extensive amount of time.
But that wasn’t the actual problem during the interview with the agent. He was more concerned about the fact that I had a male friend in Huntington Beach, the city I was planning on moving to after I paid it a wonderful visit in the summer of 2010. I should have said “no” when the agent asked me if I knew anyone in Orange County… Unfortunately, this thought didn’t cross my mind when I was being asked that question, instantly regretting it. Oh boy, did I have to pay the price for this. I can’t even start explaining through how many different emotions I went at once: from excitement to complete terror, anxiety, nervousness, breaking out in a sweat, but trying to keep a cool face throughout the investigation. I was being bombarded with accusations that the guy I knew was my boyfriend. When I answered the question with an honest “no,” I was accused of wanting to marry the guy. Another straight “no” from my side for that one.
Next was the question if it would be a family member of mine. Again, “no.” The tip of the iceberg was when he asked me if I was perhaps pretending for the guy to be my father, but secretly being a guy I was about to marry. It was beyond strange, and all I intuitively wanted to do was to yell at the officer, which would have definitely cost me my visa. Therefore, I answered all questions in a calm manner, even though my hopes of receiving a visa at that certain time and day vanished more and more by the minute. Inside of me I saw my dream of moving back to the U.S. fall apart, until I heard the male voice saying:”Your visa got approved, Ma’am.” I was in shock. “Really, are you sure?” I wanted to reply, but instead I just said “Thank you!” and left the building with my documents as fast as I could.
Outside of the consulate I took a deep breath of relief, having just survived the most terrifying investigation. On my way back to Düsseldorf from Frankfurt I kept recalling the conversation and couldn’t believe I received the approval. Never in a million years would I ever again tell an immigration officer that I know a male friend in the United States, even if it is totally harmless.
After I recovered from this scenario, I realized that I just hit another major personal milestone in my life: I was really going to move back to the United States, this time Southern California. Once I booked my flight for July 21, 2011, it became even more real. During the last months in Germany I tried to spend as much time as I could with family and friends, especially because this time, my stay in the U.S. would be much longer. But I was ready to get out of Europe and live in a culture that I believe is much more suited for me.
Forwarding to spring 2016 I can say that I am living my personal dream. It wasn’t always easy, I have to be honest, because coming to the United States as an international student is a whole different experience than being here as an au pair. It took me a while to make good friendships with genuine people. Don’t get me wrong, many people were super friendly right from the beginning, but not many of those people I met at first were really standing up to their word of helping me out. I became more careful of whom to trust, but in the end it all paid off. I cannot imagine to ever move back to Europe. I am in love with my life by the beach and being active. I picked up paddleboarding last year, and it has become one of my greatest passions.
As for my professional career, things are looking pretty good. I will be graduating from one of the best schools with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications in May. I am currently working for a television network in Los Angeles, doing a publicity internship and getting to know more about the work world. My work permit is in process, and I am looking for a job after college. Life has treated me pretty well, and I am beyond appreciative that I had the chance to come back to America to live my own personal American Dream. And so far, I refuse to wake up…
To be continued…
(Next Wednesday: Read the last segment of Kathrin’s adventures who is now back in CA )
Image: ©Anne-Kathrin Schulte
Disclaimer: Names in the story may have been changed to protect people’s privacy
Anne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She lives in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.