Hi! This is Neha, I would like to thank AapkiSpace for this series on H4 Visa and would like to grab this as an opportunity to open up about my experiences in USA on a H4 visa.
Let me introduce myself first- I am a mom of two boys, 14 and 9 years old and my husband works in the software industry, of course!
Back in India, I was working in the back office/accounts department in an industrial unit in Nagpur and I have several years of similar work experience. I have a bachelor’s degree in commerce, and I have completed a few other courses which align with my bachelor’s degree.
I am here, in USA, from the year 2013 on a H4 Visa. So, it’s almost been 7 years now being on a dependent visa.
When we got to know that we are going to USA, it was like a dream come true! I thought “Why not? It’s a great opportunity to live in such an amazing, rich, beautiful country”!
When I landed here, it felt like a complete ‘wonderland’ for me. The clean roads, disciplined traffic, friendly, smiling strangers greeting you, greenery, fall colors, snow was all amazing and unbelievable! It felt great to be here and I was so happy!
After a few days, my husband started his office routine and kids started going to school. I started staying at home and watching new films, trying new recipes and doing things which I was not able to do due to the busy schedule in India as a working mom and as a responsible daughter-in-law.
But all ‘new fad’ started vanishing slowly and I started realizing the other hidden layers of living here on a dependent visa. Settling down was not easy. Creating bank accounts, applying for credit cards, buying furniture, grocery, car buying, everything was new and quite challenging. Friends and neighbors are quite ‘friendly’ but I feel that most of the times, this “friendliness” is limited to social gatherings, potlucks, playdates or festival celebrations. As per my experience, you can hardly expect help from your neighbors or so-called friends. I feel that they do help but not like your neighbors or friends in India. There is an unseen line here in friendship which limits the amount of help you can get as people are so busy in their own lives. Someone rightly said, here, strangers are super friendly, and friends are super strangers.
Now coming back to my story, after first 2 years of settling down, I started missing my friends, relatives, India, my job, festivals and everything. I started feeling lonely and helpless. I started realizing what it means to be actually “dependent” and how hard it could be.
I am completely dependent on my husband for – money, driving (no I don’t drive, don’t ask why) me and kids, for buying groceries and many more things. I was not used to this before and I started missing India, my parents, in-laws, friends, my job, and everything, basically, the independence I had back home. Festivals added more to this because there are no people, food and enjoyment which we generally have in India.
It’s been almost 7 years now and I have started to accept all this. There are few positives and a few learnings along the way, but it has not helped me with my lonely/alone feeling.
These days, I am spending most of my time at home, doing home chores like cooking, laundry, home cleaning, dishes, gardening and watching movies. I am still waiting for my EAD which will take another year and a half.
My husband tries to help me by talking to me, taking me to various social gatherings/events, enrolling me to educational courses, etc. I am happy about that and glad that he understands my situation but the feeling of being dependent on someone for each and everything is terrible.
When I try to vent it out, I get to hear back that I am a ‘negative person’ or that I have a depressing personality. But it’s a struggle and it’s real. It’s a struggle for me, something that I must deal with every day. I am not sure if I can express exactly how helpless it feels to be in this situation.
I don’t see us going back to India due to the immigration situation, husband’s career growth and kids’ future. Therefore, I am trying to accept the reality, accept life the way it is and preparing myself to live happily for my family, far away from my family.
Thanks for reading my story..
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