When Tanja visited the USA for the first time, she immediately fell in love with the land of opportunity. For years she kept dreaming about finally moving to the USA. When she was just about to give up on her dream, it happened: She won the Green Card Lottery!
Now Tanja talks about how this moment changed her life completely. She also has plenty of tips and ideas for everyone who is also interested in immigrating to the States.
I was 24 when I flew to the USA for the first time. I was with my brother and his girlfriend, who got married in Las Vegas during that trip. I fell in love with the country and the people instantly. As soon as we got back to Germany I felt “homesick”.
I can’t remember if my brother found the advertisement of The American Dream in his mailbox or in a newspaper. Anyway, he gave it to me and I immediately filled out the registration card. For years and years, I was dreaming about winning a Green Card and moving to the USA all alone and unfearful.
But I never received a winning notice. Not in the first, not in the second and not in the third year. And then it happened: 10 years after my first holiday in the USA I received a letter from The American Dream saying that I had won the lottery!
The funny thing is that the year before the lottery win my now husband asked me what the whole The American Dream thing was about. My answer: Well, it’s my dream to live in America one day. But just one more year. Then it will stay my dream forever.
I participated for 10 years. The last 5 to 7 without really thinking about it.
My first reaction after I received the winning notice was “Oh my god, what do I do now?!” My life was completely different at that point and I actually liked it the way it was.
Thank god, I have a husband at my side, who wanted me to be able to live my dream. After thinking about it for a little while we knew that we wanted to take the leap. We got married 4 weeks before the interview appointment, so he was able to receive a Green Card, too.
Filling in all the documents was very time consuming, but it was doable. I think if you read through all of the question thoroughly and browse through the winners’ forum [editor’s note: if you participate with the help of The American Dream and win, you get access to our forum for all winners], you should be able to file the application without too much hassle (given that it hasn’t changed too much within the past 12 years).
We only had to make sure that my newlywed husband was invited to the interview as well. That worked out without any difficulties.
We had our interview appointment in November and one week later we received our passports with the visa. In the beginning of January, we flew to Florida. The activation itself wasn’t difficult, only very long and tiring. It took forever until it was our turn. The immigration officers were very friendly but also very slow, almost weary.
For the following 10 days explored Florida only to find out that this is not the state where we wanted to live. We wanted the sun and the ocean. Since Florida is easy to reach from Germany this was a good option. However, we preferred the scenic variety California has to offer.
In January we activated our Green Card and in May we flew with 2 suitcases and our old shepherd dog to California. We booked a motel room for the beginning since it was impossible to get an apartment while being in Germany. Looking back this was a good idea. We recommend everyone to have a look around in person before you make your decision.
In America, too, we have to work to make a living. Luckily, my husband had the chance to turn his hobby into a job and earn good money with it. That would not have been possible in Germany.
In terms of weather we always disliked the constant rain and the darkness (in winter) in northern Germany. Here in Southern California the sun is shining a lot which affects our mood positively.
We love being outdoors. There is nothing better than planning outdoor activities ahead and knowing that the chances are great it’s not going to rain. If we wanted to, we could go skiing in the morning and swim in the Pacific Ocean in the afternoon. You can drive everywhere in no time.
What I like most next to the weather is how friendly everyone is. Nobody is jealous and people are quick to make compliments. Everyone is ok with how people dress, look or what they do. They don’t talk behind your back and are very polite.
We have never regretted moving to the USA. We have lived here for 11 years and have the American citizenship for 6 years. However, we might move back home to Germany in a couple of years when we get closer to our retirement. This is due to personal reasons and has nothing to do with the country.
My heart belongs to California and I’m forever thankful that The American Dream and my husband made it possible for me to live my dream!
We would like to thank Tanja again for sharing her experiences with winning the Green Card lottery! We wish her and her husband all the best for the future!
We hope that this story shows you, that your dreams sometimes might take a while until they can come true. But if they do, they can turn your life upside down in the most positive way. So never give up! Maybe your Green Card win is closer than you might expect.
Check here if you are qualified to participate in the Green Card Lottery!