Armed with the knowledge on what we needed to get us to live together in the US, my husband and I got married and applied for my spousal visa, all in one day. And less than 3 months later, I was landing in Richmond, VA - my new home across the Atlantic.
After I landed in the United States, I had a steep learning curve to adapt to a new country, new rules and new people. Many things that I had been used to for my entire life were done differently here. I adapted to most changes in a short period of time, the easiest thing to adapt to being the American version of the English language that I had studied throughout school. In my quest to build a life in my new country, I left behind everything and everyone who had been important to me. So I made a decision to make that sacrifice worth it by building a life of financial serenity. My definition for it at the time was to be able to do what I wanted when I wanted.
Coming from a country where everyone had a job working for a state-owned company, and then seeing a few "adventurous souls" be brave enough to become entrepreneurs - the foreign word was adopted into the Romanian language, since we did not have a term for it - I thought that finding a corporate ladder to climb on will take me to the ultimate goal of financial serenity. I was also naive enough at the time to believe that I was now in a country where my own achievements would be recognized and I would get rewarded for them with the jobs of my choice and the salary that I wanted. Coming form a country where it is more important who child, nephew or friend you are, that your competence in the field, I thought I was in a place where the fact that I didn't know people was not going to be an obstacle.
Wow, was I wrong?! I had to learn very quick that the corporate ladder was not the spot where I wanted to hang out, and that people promote you or not based on them liking you (or not) just as much as back home. And I also learned that I could not stand incompetence anymore than with my former employers back in Romania. So, after biting my tongue one too many times, I started looking for a better way. I had learned even before coming to the US that this is the land of opportunity, and I was convinced that mine was out there - I just hadn't found it yet. So I crossed off corporate career from my plan and moved on to the next idea.