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Diana Said

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Diana Said was born in Romania in 1967. She married an Egyptian man, Ismail Said, and they lived in Romania with their daughter Aida until they won the U.S. Diversity Visa lottery. They immigrated to the U.S. in 2002 and has two more children.

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Hello. My name is Diana Said and this is my story.

I was born in Romania. My husband, Ismail Said, is Egyptian. We met got married and decided to live in Romania. We had our beautiful girl Aida, and we even started a family business.

One day, my husband was reading the newspaper and he suddenly asked me, “Have you ever heard about the Green Card Visa Lottery?” I said that I haven’t, and he explained to me that USA allocates visas annually for 50,000 people around the world by picking them randomly.

The only thing you had to do was to send a piece of paper with your name, address, and birthdate to an address in the US so we did. We did it as a joke mostly. And… we forgot about it.

Almost a full year later, we received a letter in the mail. I opened it and it said, “Congratulations! You were selected for the green card visa lottery.”

At first, we thought it was a scam, but with the letter came a bunch of official papers
that were required in order for us to be processed for US visa. I think it's easy to imagine the shock we were in. It really took a while to start processing the news. But it led to a big question popping up. Should we stay or should we go?

We had a great life there, but ultimately thinking of our daughter and our future children made us decide to go.

It took almost 11 months of paperwork and a big interview at the U.S embassy. I still remember the visa officer jokingly asking our daughter Aida, who was five years old at the time, if she was married or if she had gone to jail before.

When he handed us the envelope with the visas for US, he looked at Aida and said, “You have to visit Disneyland.”

It was hard to forget the interview because it was on Tuesday, September 4th, 2001. Exactly a week later, on Tuesday September 11th, the biggest terrorist attack on U.S soil took place. We were shocked and pained by what happened. Again, we had to ask ourselves if it was a wise choice to immigrate to the U.S.

Again, after some consideration, we decided to go. We sold our apartment, car, and business.
We packed our whole life in 6 suitcases.

In January 2002, we landed at Detroit Airport. We didn't have any friends, family, or anyone in the U.S., so we stayed in a hotel for a while. In short time, we rented an apartment,
registered our child in school, and a bit later we found ourselves jobs.

Since then, 15 years have passed. We now have 3 beautiful children and our own home. Against all odds, fate gave us the chance to start here a new life. The year that we won there were over 11,000,000 applicants. The chance of us winning were slim to none. There is not a day that even for a second I regret immigrating to U.S. I feel like I’ve fulfilled my American dream and I hope my children will do the same through hard work and education.