How to Start Over in America
October 10, 2012 12:43 PM Subscribe
How to help my girl stay busy / find work in our quest to move to the United States and start over. Lengthy soul-searching after the jump.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I will try skip (most of) the irrelevant blizzard of snowflakes and skip down to the meat of the matter.
I met my girlfriend 3+ years ago during graduate school in Mexico. It hasn't been a fairytale romance, but we are extremely compatible and still quite in love, each of us being the greatest thing that has ever happened to the other person ever.
Anyways, due to a bureaucratic snafu of the sort that is endemic to central Mexico, the love of my life has finally given up on graduating with her combined undergrad/graduate degree and after a lot of soul searching we agreed last December that starting over in the USA was definitely worth a shot.
But it's been a slow train to start. We have spent most of the past year apart as I ended up having to go back to the United States to save my graduate program from destruction (long, irrelevant, story). Both of us would like nothing more than to be reunited, so I plan on going back to Mexico in December, and I am fortunately on top of necessary paperwork to finalize her immigration status.
The immigration process is being handled by a pro-bono immigration lawyer who definitely qualifies for sainthood, and it's a complicated nightmare but fortunately it seems like all the hairy legal details will be taken care of in the nick of time. In a similar stroke of serendipity the financial assessment of all this insanity is also just barely above water due to my savings from a lifetime of crappy minimum-wage jobs.
What I would like the collective wisdom of ask.metafilter on is how to best help her find rewarding employment after immigrating. Her English is pretty good, but she definitely lacks some confidence due to a somewhat abusive upbringing and an abiding sense of failure due to the academic situation she's leaving.
She's not sure whether she wants to attempt to transfer her credits (I don't blame her) or just start fresh in American academics. Either way we'll try to take as much documentation from her school as possible.
After the immigration issues are taken care of, she has decided she would prefer to spend a year or so working as she figures her professional desires out. I agree; it would be great in helping her realize the whole mess in Mexico wasn't her fault and she isn't incompetent, she was just forced into a career track she had no interest in. I think it would really help that cause if we find her something slightly more rewarding than your average minimum wage McJob. My first instinct is to try to find something with non-profits involved in immigration or healthcare, which is fairly relevant to her interests. But because everything in our life has to be complicated, this goal is made more difficult by the fact that I will most likely have to move to a different region of the country for field research, about every three months, for the next 15 months and that will involve at times spending 60+ hours a week at the lab. Unfortunately, I don't even know where I will be assigned just yet.
Also, any additional money she might be able to bring in would help our collectively low morale. After that 15 month mark, though, everything will be quiet and boring and happy and stable.
So in summary:
1) If you have any suggestions or resources that you think would be helpful either in terms of entering the American educational system as an immigrant or finding rewarding short-term work as a non college degree holder I would greatly appreciate it.
2) If you have have any advice on how to manage the joy of breaking to a fairly conservative, traditional Mexican family that their daughter and only child is dropping out of the school and career path they had mandated (which she has decided is an much easier conversation than going into the gory details of exactly what happened and how it's not actually her fault) and moving to the United States (which they aren't huge fans of, either) and most likely getting married sans wedding that would also be wonderful. But at this point I'm just expecting to weather the worst and deal with the fall out, but with any luck her parents' strong and abiding approval of me and collective love of their daughter will temporarily outweigh their urge to lock her in a basement forever.
I will also accept any scathing criticisms of me and/or the wisdom of my life choices and the feasibility of all this working out; because this has all been rather unusually heavy stuff to deal with and sometimes I wonder if I have lost my normally level-headed, rational, cynical pragmatism.
Thank you in advance for your wisdom, patience and commendable endurance in finishing reading my question.