Immigrant stories: Internet led Bulgarian to become an immigrant
Hanya Gottardo never intended to be an immigrant. She was content with her life in Sofia, Bulgaria. All that changed the day she logged on to the Internet looking for someone with whom she could correspond in Spanish.Gottardo: My journey to the United States began in the summer of 2001 when I met my husband on the Internet. It was a really exciting and unique experience. I never thought it could happen to me, but it did. Life is full of surprises. We started chatting on a Spanish-speaking chat room, and that is how our relationship began.Gallacher: Where were you?Gottardo: I was in Sophia, Bulgaria, my hometown, and he was in his office in Carbondale, and it was a month of really beautiful exchanging of letters and phone calls, and then he got to Sophia to meet me and my family. It was obvious that we were meant for each other. He went back to the United States and then came for the second time seven months later. We got married, and when he returned here he applied for my visa, and it took us a year and a half for me to get here. I finally arrived in July of 2003.Gallacher: Was it love at first sight?Gottardo: Well, it wasn’t at first sight, because I received a picture three or four days after I met him online. There was a strong spiritual connection between us. I would say it was love from first click. It really turned out to be a true thing, and thank God it still is. Gallacher: Are you glad you came?Gottardo: I’m glad I came because I followed him. I didn’t come for economic opportunities, and never in my life actually wanted to be an immigrant. I’m glad, of course, because we have a wonderful family, we have a 3-year-old daughter. I feel like I’m at home here. With time this feeling has been growing. My husband helped me a lot to build this feeling. His support and love were tremendous, and, of course, I began feeling at home because of the people, the way they welcomed me and received me. This helped me a lot.
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