Coming to America: Anastasiya Won the Lottery
Anastasiya and her mother won the lottery to get American citizenship when she was just 13 years old. Here is her story of how she came to America from Ukraine.
The Lottery That Changed Anastasiya’s Life
Since I was a little girl, I had an interest in exploring other cultures and languages. I wanted to know how other people thought and how they saw the world. The majority of my childhood was spent reading books and exploring my hometown of Ternopil. Walking down the central park amongst the rows of birches and oaks I could never imagine that one day I would walk amongst the skyscrapers of Chicago.
On a normal sunny day, as I was returning home from taking out the trash, I saw a small, folded piece of paper in the building’s lobby under the dilapidated mailboxes. I could have simply walked past it as many people before me, but my curiosity made me pick it up. As I unfolded the pages, I saw that it was some kind of an application, the title read “Would you like a chance to win a Green Card?”
I brought the paper to my mom and showed it to her. She didn’t think we would win this Green Card. I told her to just try anyways, we don’t really have anything to lose. After some deliberation, my mother filled it out, glued two of our passport photos, and sent it by mail the next day.
Time moved on, as usual, our lives went on. We have forgotten all about it.
Then, one year later we received a phone call...
“Congratulations! You’ve won the Green Card!”
We thought it was a joke, a scam perhaps. But, it turned out to be that one in a million chance of truth. We had really won the lottery. My mom and I really got a chance to go to the USA.
The journey to get to the United States was not an easy one. First, the countless interviews, preparing all the documents, traveling to the capital, and trying to get the plane tickets. We hadn’t even arrived in our new country yet.
Time moved on as usual…
I still remember the day we arrived in Chicago. That crisp winter air, the buzzing of the airport, the people zooming past, and the unfamiliar ways in which people spoke and interacted. My mom and I just stood in the middle of the airport with our four bags, slightly stunned. We didn’t know where to go, we didn’t really know anyone, and we didn’t really speak the language.
As time passed, we got accustomed to life in the US and now we are helping the rest of our family to make the journey here. For them, the journey is slightly easier since we already know the ins and out of it.
Even with the difficulties, I feel grateful to be living life in the United States of America!
- Anastasiya Shatrov
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