The life of an Aussie city girl is not always an easy one- particularly when it comes to actually being able to stay living in this concrete jungle! It has been awhile since I last blogged and I have been struggling with this topic and whether to write about it for a long time. I am not one for sharing my personal life and struggles openly but I feel that other Aussie artists may benefit from my story.
I first moved to the US 4.5 years ago on an extraordinary talent visa and have been so blessed to have had continual work and opportunities come my way. Jobs I only ever fantasized about have become my reality – I have been able to successfully live off my passion in NYC. It feels really cool to say that out loud. However the immigration process has not been an easy one.
Mid 2017 I applied for my green card after being assured that I more than qualified for this. However, after being requested for more evidence and denied twice I’ve decided to put it to bed for now. I strongly believe that those looking at my case do not know the dance industry or understand fully what they are looking at. The first time I got requested I was distraught and beyond stressed – one of my US friends said “Sometimes I forget you are not like us”. Yes!!! On top of all the stresses of maintaining life in the most expensive/competitive city in the world I also have to fight to stay here. A silver lining to this is that I know I really want to be here – you would only go through all this if you really wanted it. I’m also so lucky to have a wonderful supportive network of people around me who are actually shocked every time I tell them about my life and this process. They say “You’ve done everything by the book” and “If your not doing enough who is”. However in this new climate of immigration sadly this isn’t enough and you can be unlucky.
Luckily my amazing legal team suggested I file for a new 01 while going through all of this as a “back up” in case of a denial. We managed to get this approved and it is this that will allow me to continue living here – at least for a few more years!! My wish isn’t for anyone to think it is impossible to come here, however you must be mentally, emotionally and financially prepared for “road blocks” I like to call them. The story is different for everyone – some of my closest friends have won the lottery and gone through none of this.
It is only recently a sense of calm has fallen over me – I’m no longer stressed or worried. I do believe that the universe has a grander plan and that what is meant for me will be. As I head to Italy in the next few weeks to obtain my 2nd artist visa I plan to take a few days R & R. Those that know me and my schedule know that I need this badly. I used to take so many solo vacations when I lived in Australia and it has been awhile since I’ve had some quality, soul searching time with yours truly. Stay tuned for my “Shannon’s Eat, Pray, Love” blog from Italy! Ciao!!