Four Aberdeen residents, all immigrants to this country, were interviewed for the Aberdeen University Civic Symphony performance of American Visions, Ellis Island Dreamers in February 2018.
Each person shared the story of their journey to the United States in the post-Ellis Island era of immigration. They came from different parts of the world, and took separate and unique paths to get here, yet they all now call Aberdeen 'home'. Below is one of these stories:
"I studied English every day. It was a requirement for law school in Ukraine. I was a very good student – straight A’s – and headed for a Gold Medal upon graduation. I was in my second year of my law studies when, as a translator for a group of American farmers on an educational farm tour, I met my husband-to-be. He returned to Ukraine 3 more times that year, and soon I knew that I had a decision to make, the first of many.
We obtained a Fiancee Visa, which then allowed me 90 days to come to the United States, decide to get married and then have the wedding before it expired. 90 Days is not very much time to get to know a new family, friends and the country, state and city you are going to give up everything you have ever known for. 90 days is not very much time to decide to give up the expensive education you have worked toward, but Ukraine is a country that is corrupt. There is a “mafia” there. It is 40 years behind the West.
More importantly, I was in love.
Gary and I have been married for 8 years now. Moving to South Dakota, I soon decided that I needed, I wanted to work. I was able to get a Green Card right away. It took only three months, a miracle! I have been working ever since and am now a partner in my real estate business as of May of last year. But I don’t need the Green Card anymore. On June 15th, 2017, in Keystone, South Dakota, along with over 180 others, I became a proud citizen of the United States."