My name is Maria and I come from the region Campania in Italy. I arrived in the USA three years ago as a part of the work and travel program.

My initial plan was to stay here only for a few months. At first, I was sent to work in a small town located in a mountainous region in California. I kept regretting my decision to come here. The wage was decent, like $5 an hour, but the worst part was that the tips were very low.

Moreover, there was no fun, just work and straight home. There was a bigger city where you could go shopping, walking or just sightseeing, but it was 30 minutes’ drive from my place. It honestly felt like I was living the worst nightmare.

Somehow, I managed to stay there for three months, and it is not as if I had any other choice. We had a plan to visit Chicago and New York on our way back home. I literally couldn’t wait for that day to come. And it finally did.

Chicago left great impression on me, but it was upon the arrival in New York that I had an epiphany. The moment I got out of the airport I felt like I was part of a movie scene. It felt that realistic.

To cut a long story short, it was love at first sight and deep inside I knew that I wanted to stay in New York forever. On our second day there, it started raining while my friend and I were strolling the streets of Manhattan. We decided to get in one restaurant close to the famous Madison Square Garden arena.

We were wandering around the tables and didn’t want to sit down and order some coffee, since we thought it would be too expensive. However, at the end, we decided to treat ourselves to some coffee. So, as we were approaching one of the tables, a man (later I found out that he was the manager of this place) came our way, and asked:

-Are you the girls who were looking for a job yesterday? Is that why you are standing here and waiting?

I simply blurted YES, without hesitation.

My friend glanced at me but she immediately realized what was going on. However, she said that she was only there to accompany me, and that she wasn’t looking for a job.

Then, Jason told me that I would be paid $12 an hour, I would work as a waitress and I would share the tips with the other people working at the bar and in the kitchen. And, of course, I said yes to all of that.

Then, he warned me that I would have a trial period of two days, after which I would get a permanent job.

I was so happy. My friend tried to reason with me, saying that we had a plane to catch the following day and go back to Italy. Nevertheless, I was determined to stay. And so I did.

Oh man, I love it here. When I deduct the money I pay for food and accommodation, I still have around $2000 for me to spend for the month, which is great.

The only thing I miss is my family, but we talk to each other on social networks.

America , and New York in particular, is perfect for people who have dreams. And I am definitely living my dream!