Monday, July 18
This is the second year I entered the Diversity Visa Lottery (aka green card lottery). 50,000 permanent resident visas to the U.S. are raffled off annually to natives of countries that have low rates of immigration. Brits don't qualify but Austrians and their kin do.
This year's results were first available in May. Around 22,000 applicants had been notified that they had been selected for further processing. Due to a processing error the selection had not been random, with more than 90% of winners coming from among those who had submitted their applications during the first two days of the registration period. The selection was voided and the selection process was re-run. I missed all of this, I'd forgotten to check the results until last week, when I finally read about the whole affair. The new results came out on July 15th.
We had roughly a 1% chance of winning. As I keyed in my entry code I imagined a Stef in a parallel universe who unlike me would find she'd won. I wonderd what it must feel like to see the words "you have been selected" on screen. Scary for sure, but exhilarating too. A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work halfway across the world, explore a country that is not so easily accessible for more than just a short holiday to most Europeans. I thought this as the page loaded, then my stomach dropped right down into the soles of my feet and I think I stopped breathing for just a moment as reality slunk into place.
Nothing is for sure yet of course: Forms, fees and interviews lie ahead. There is a good likelihood (50%) the consulat will deem us non-desirables and we're not sure we'll be able to accumulate enough of a financial safety cushion to dare even if we were accepted. What will be will be :) If we do get a visa we'll have to get over there before end of 2012 or it'll lapse.
Here I am, once again imagining parallel Stef. This time she is sitting in front of a "not selected" screen, shrugs her shoulders, cracks a joke at her husband who is standing behind her craning his neck towards the screen and gets on with her life.
None of those shivery thoughts of finances, accommodation and employment for this version of me. That part is plain scary I can tell you that much. But then if I don't go for this now when will I? We don't plan on having any children and really, what other reason is there to settle down? I am not twenty nine yet but I am already wooed by the security of routine. Am I already too set in my ways, too scared of not knowing what's next, too inflexible to take a chance? As much as I am shaking in my boots right now I know I must pursue this opportunity or wonder about what might have been for the rest of my life.
I didn't feel this apprehensive when I moved to England. I was nearly nineteen and any adventure would do. I was aching for the unknown, itching to immerse myself in a new culture. Ten years on and I am a lot more set in my ways. I am a homebody you guys. I go to work, I take little evening excursions for outfit shots, I watch a helluva lot of TV, I blog. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
If there is one worthwhile thing I'd like to do in my life it is to see a little more of the world. It's the single most rewarding pursuit I can think of (photography aside). You can't truly get to know any place on two weeks of annual leave. Suddenly there's a good chance I'll get an opportunity to explore a vast, diverse country and I am scared shitless you guys. Of course I am. We both are, but I'll wonder "what if" for the rest of my life if I don't try for this now.
Keeping my eyes open for new opportunities and taking things as the come has always served me well. So far none of my more bold decisions have blown up in my face. Sure, sometimes things go wrong but those circumstances have always led to other opportunities and in the end things have a tendency to work themselves out and count in your favour. What can I say? I've been lucky.
Now here's a chance so crazy I feel befuddled just considering it but provided red tape doesn't get in the way I think I'll take it. Maybe. How could I not?
hat: tk maxx
pale yellow tights