I just received notice that my O-1A visa application for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability and Achievement was approved. And hence today is probably one of the happiest days of my life. I am just only starting to calm down as I am writing this.
I believe I am a few days short to my 2 years anniversary in this amazing city I now call home. When I first came here, I had no family and no friends but I was determined to make it work. I made a career switch and started out at the bottom. Some days, it's rough and I miss home (and architecture) but I knew that even on the bad days, that this growth is more meaningful than the stale life I had. Then, May 2015 came and I didn't get my H-1B visa; I didn't have the luck to triumph in that lottery system.
I guess it was destiny that I took my first uberPool around that time and met Sriram. As an O-1 visa holder, he urged me to try for it. Going back to Singapore is not an option for me and so I started to hustle. I reached out to everyone I know and didn't know for connections/help. I took every opportunity I could to give talks, to mentor other designers, to write and publish articles, to be a leader in distinguished design communities. I thought, "hey even if this doesn't work out, my career is kicking off."
When I began gathering evidence for my application, I thought I had nothing. When I submitted my application, I had 8 internationally recognized awards, 9 memberships in associations, 14 published articles/ interviews and 2 panel participations.
I was meant to pack my bags and return home (or maybe move to Berlin or Estonia or NZ haha) in less than 2 months. The fear of leaving this life I've built and love has been paralyzing at times, but now I am here to stay (when I pass my interview!). I thank everyone who has helped me. All my design peers who have given me the opportunities to be better, all my friends who believed in me, all my coworkers for their support and help, just.. everyone. I am speechless and very very blessed.