My Journey to America
Finally, I made it to America. What I wanted was to be in the country where some friends were already to further their studies and for material success. So after I finished my Master’s degree in Nepal, I wanted to apply for a university in the USA. However, I was not very sure. I had read about America as the country of immigrants and the land of opportunity. After I read works by many American authors Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Faulkner, Robert Frost, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, it fueled my desire to go to America to further my studies in writing. To be a writer. To pursue my dream. Who would not want to go to America, a dreamland? Some people were saying “it is expensive,” “it is a big country you may get lost,” while others were saying, “Wow, you will make your fortune.” Different people have different perspectives. But who cares? My mind was all set for it.
But I did not know how to apply, who should I ask for help? Where should I go and how should I start the application process? Most of the educational consultancies in Nepal would want me to do the process with them for which I would have to pay a lump sum of money, and I was broke and unemployed. But I ventured on this journey on my own.
So to cut a long story short, I left my home in the early morning to visit a cyber café and started browsing the Internet. I continued doing so every day. Spent hours. Browsed the universities’ sites. Visited their writing programs. Emailed the admission office. I embarked on this journey, indeed.
I looked back where I came from and I felt more responsible for why I came here and what I want to be. My courage was for good cause. My hope glimmered when I looked back and it was more for my career and my duty to the nation I came from than for personal material success that I found many of my friends were indulged in, and I felt sorry for the friends who suffered from selfishness, greed, and hypocrisy.
It was quite a process. Fill out an online application. Pay the application fee. Mail the official documents. Send TOEFL and GRE scores. And wait for them to send you an I20. It took me a year to have all these things ready. I started the process in 2006, but the road to reach there was very steep. I did not have GRE and TOEFL scores ready yet, nor did I have enough money to pay for the exams let alone to pay the tuition fee for the university if I was accepted into the program that I applied for. I asked my friends to lend me some money so I could pay them back with interest but they dissuaded me saying that it was a chimera to get a USA visa and they balked from supporting me. It was like a bad investment to put on me without knowing if I would get a US visa. But, by hook or by crook, I was into it. I was propelled by my passion and the dream that was I had to set my foot in the USA to further my studies in writing. To my father’s oblivion, my mother bequeathed me her nuptial gold ring to sell and pay for the exams, so did I. The results came fine. I sent the results to 5 universities I had applied for, also sent fake financial reports and the source of income I had made bribing a bank auditor in town. I got a letter from one university after another university denying the acceptance into the program. I put that hindrance behind me. Finally, a last university mailed an I20 to my address.
Now, to get a visa was another challenge. And if I get a visa, another challenge was to make the tuition for the first semester ready. I took the visa interview date at the American Embassy in Kathmandu online and made all the documents ready, including the I20 and the fake financial reports. Fear reigned in me what if they found the documents fake. Won’t that count a sin? “No risk no gain,” I thought. I remembered what Maya Angelou said, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
I remembered a line from bible, “Their old sins no longer count against them, and as long as they remain Christian, their next sins are equally expunged.
“Jesus,” the first time the word escaped from
me who was born and raised in Hindu family.
“If there is a God, He will listen to my voice,” I promised to myself.
Thank God, I got a visa. As soon as I got a visa, the friends and relatives lined up to lend me money. I felt I was blessed. I refused their offer with love and asked my closest friend Kumar, a last chance in my list, to support me and he said it was his pleasure. After I arrived in the USA, I looked back. When there is a will, there is a way. If I was discouraged and had not started the journey, there was no way I could make it. If there is a cause and the cause is for good, even God will redeem and support you for your lies. If you trust yourself and believe in dreams you want to pursue, you will make your dream come true. I looked back where I came from and I felt more responsible for why I came here and what I want to be. My courage was for good cause. My hope glimmered when I looked back and it was more for my career and my duty to the nation I came from than for personal material success that I found many of my friends were indulged in, and I felt sorry for the friends who suffered from selfishness, greed, and hypocrisy.