My Most Memorable Journey To The New World - America: A True Story

Services for Real Estate Pros with Co-Founder, CloseMyDeal, LLC Transaction Manager

Step by step.  Slowly.  Evermore slowly.  Time and again. Step by step.  Stopping to catch my breath for a moment, time after time.  I looked up. There She was! And saw Her.

Tired? I was limp with exhaustion but fueled by excitement.  Awe.  Wonder.  Inspiration.  Here I was in the New World.  I had come from the Other Side of The Globe!

The Statue of Liberty. The New World's welcoming committee of one was at the ready when I, yet another among the tens of millions before me, was prepared for my new life and unlimited opportunity. 

As a student from Thailand, I arrived in New York, United States of America. Alone. All alone.  By myself.

My dream had come true!  Standing before me was the magnificent Statue of Liberty, Symbolic of Freedom. This journey is one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  At 19 years old, unprepared for the new horizons ahead of me, standing in front of the Statue and watching her kind face made me smile.  I could think only of the new possibilities and had no idea how long I stood there, unaware that tears were streaming down my face. Tears of joy, to be sure.  I stood there watching boats, people, and their pets, enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City, and marveling at the wonder of it all. I wanted to scream and yell at the top of my voice.  Instead, I let my heart sing. What a day!

Once my excitement waned as the days passed.  I felt "let down" and lonely.  Soon I became homesick.  What might as well have been half a million miles away, my family was indeed half a world away.  Not a word of how frightened, wary, and miserable I was in this exciting New World.  Not a word of how I longed to return home.

I learned later that nothing could have prepared me for the new life I had long yearned to have.  It was a childhood dream since I was nine years old to go to America. As I got older, I had learned so much about the vast horizon that guarantees nothing.

Whenever my sadness overwhelmed me, I would think about giving up, packing my bag, heading for the airport, and flying home. In my heart, I knew I couldn't fail.  I couldn't disappoint my family.  I would finish my degree, find a good job to support myself, and someday help my family members come to share the wonderful life I had in this country.

Adjusting to college life was a challenge.  I was afraid of speaking English incorrectly.  My pronunciations were not always clear or correct.  I learned to write my words down on paper before speaking in front of a group of people. I read everything from cereal boxes to newspapers. I would spend hours writing and working on my school assignments.  There seemed to be little or no time for socializing.

Fast forward.  I graduated and got my first job, working in one of the Fortune 100 companies. My work world was new, challenging, and exciting.  I had to learn another culture, the "corporate culture." Over time I felt unfulfilled as the routine became stale, and I was bored with my work.  I needed to explore new avenues to stimulate my enthusiasm.  

During my professional career in manufacturing, I had developed a wide range of skills. I launched my consulting business working for my previous employers initially and went on to find new clients in the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley, CA. In time, I moved to Seattle, WA, and "found my niche" in project management.

On the surface, it appeared as though I had it made: a booming business, a successful career, personal freedom—an entrepreneur's dream.  Not satisfied, I wanted more and needed change.  I found a partner, and we bought a young company I had consulted for and helped grow. The new venture didn't get a chance to get off the ground during the dot com collapse.  I failed.  I failed again in the following two businesses I started.  I asked myself, "what went wrong, and how could I ever have enough courage to do it again?" I felt so "lost." I turned to my best friend, and he reminded me of these words.

"Life's difficulties is a test of how much we can endure.  Find inner strength, courage and hope to overcome the test of life." – Lailah Gifty Akita, Author & Founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation

After failed attempts in new businesses, I have become more determined than ever before.  I began to rely on my intuition and draw conclusions based on my failures, experiences, and gut feelings. 

What I have learned, when I am uncomfortable and facing what seems to be impossible tasks at hand, I have three choices to make. "Give up, Give in, or Give it all I've got!" 

I am giving it all I've got!

"It always seems impossible until it is done." – Nelson Mandela.


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Aura Alex

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Comments (22)

Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing your story.

Best wishes for great success.

Oct 27, 2021 06:40 AM
Aura Alex

Roy Kelley, thank you for reading my story.  Meeting you and other extraordinary people here on AR has given me the courage and motivation to continue to share.  So that you know, I started working on adding five "follows" a day per your advice yesterday!

Oct 27, 2021 12:12 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Good morning!  What a beautifully written and very moving story.  I enjoyed reading it, and I wish you continued great success.  A

Oct 27, 2021 07:10 AM
Aura Alex

Ron and Alexandra Seigel, I appreciate your comments.  Getting to know you is a pleasure.  I know now where to go first to learn more about "marketing." Thank you for your teaching and support.

Oct 27, 2021 12:19 PM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Enjoyed reading about your journey to the New World and your ups and downs in business. Good for you for "giving it all you got"!

Oct 27, 2021 07:23 AM
Aura Alex

Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400; thank you for your read and comments.  

Oct 27, 2021 12:21 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Aura I am so glad you shared your story!  Very moving and heartfelt. I know of what you talk about to some degree as I lived in another country as a young woman and it was overwhelming at times but yet at the same time so exciting and full of growth opportunites.  Never give up!  And you are one that will never give up!! 

Oct 27, 2021 10:16 AM
Aura Alex

Anna, I used to feel so vulnerable and was reluctant to share my personal story, but I remember how people would ask me how I got here during the first few minutes of the conversation. I would tell them my story, and after a while, it got easier when I told them. Now I feel proud and enjoy telling my story, THANK YOU for sharing yours, Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker

Oct 27, 2021 12:37 PM
April Swenson
Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers - Ocean Shores, WA
CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate

Thank you so much for sharing your personal story of coming to America. Wow! I loved it! 

Oct 27, 2021 10:30 AM
Aura Alex

Hello, April Swenson; thank you for your comments. I am going to "follow" you now. I hope to learn more about you.

Oct 27, 2021 12:41 PM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Aura Alex Your story is inspirational. It pulls one in. I couldn't stop reading, it brought tears. I think you could write a book and inspire others - coming here to the New World - or in business! Beautiful!

Oct 27, 2021 11:49 AM
Aura Alex

Dear Wendy Rulnick, I am speechless! I just read one of the greatest compliments, YOURS!   Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Yes, writing about my story could inspire others. I have it listed on my "bucket list." 💚

Oct 27, 2021 02:02 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

What a great blog.  I loved it.  So proudly she stands

Oct 27, 2021 12:56 PM
Aura Alex

Ginger Harper, I am thankful, proud, and humbled!  Thank you very much for being here.

Oct 27, 2021 02:07 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Aura- and as the others have said, thank you for sharing your very personal story. I've often wondered what it would be like to go to a new country, not just to visit, but to live.  It must have been so frightening for you!  And at the same time, it's inspirational. You are already a success!!!

Oct 27, 2021 01:01 PM
Aura Alex

Hello, Kathy Streib;  When you live in a new country, you will appreciate "America" even more.  Yes, it was frightening. And yes, it was inspirational.  If I had to do it again, I would do it all over again exactly the way it had happened. I never regret my decision to come to America! I feel blessed that I am here today! Thank you so much for your kind words.

Oct 27, 2021 02:15 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Aura Alex I can not express how much I loved your story.I think you have a better grasp of the English language than I do. You write so beautifully I could feel your fear and understand how you must have felt so lonely but determined to succeed. Coming to NYC then to the other side of the country all alone how brave you are . I admire your bravery and yes you are blessed. I feel as if I know you better now Thank you for sharing this story 

Oct 27, 2021 08:41 PM
Aura Alex

Hello, Hannah Williams; it was almost 11:00 pm in Seattle when I saw your note.  My heart swells with all the positive and encouraging comments from AR members who have read my story today. I had been writing and rewriting the story over time, waiting for the right moment to share. I am so glad I DID it. I will never forget today's experience! Thank you so much for your meaningful and thoughtful comments and for being part of this experience.

Oct 27, 2021 11:12 PM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Thanks for your well written post "Aura". I liked, "My dream had come true!  Standing before me was the magnificent Statue of Liberty, Symbolic of Freedom."


I always had the same feeling and two of my grandparents came through Ellis Island also. 


Jeff 😎 

Oct 27, 2021 09:33 PM
Aura Alex

Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI; Thank you for commenting and sharing your thought. Although it seemed so long ago, I still could hear the sound of traveling boats going in and out of the NY Harbor. It was the most exhilarating experience visiting both Ellis and Liberty Islands! What A Day! 😂

Oct 27, 2021 11:36 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a wonderful post!

Having never walked in your shoes, I don't know first hand how it would feel going to a new country where I don't know anyone and had some difficulty speaking the language. But I could feel how it felt by reading your words. And I have to say that you are a fighter, and are amazing. Look how far you have come!

I wish you continued success!

Oct 28, 2021 04:55 AM
Aura Alex

Kat Palmiotti, we had a "support group" comprised of international students during the school years. We shared problems, successes, understanding, pride, and love as we went about our daily struggles. We helped and supported one another the very same way these AR members are doing.  I no longer feel like a stranger because of people like you! Thank you so much for the read and response. 💜

Oct 28, 2021 12:52 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Thank you, thank you for sharing this touching, heartfelt story. I cannot imagine what the journey must have been like but you certainly expressed your feelings so well. Perhaps others will read this and be inspired by what you have shared, and what you have overcome - a new language, and new country, being away from all that you are familiar with and your family, and so much more.  Bravo!

I look forward to hearing more from you here in the Rain!


Oct 28, 2021 12:55 PM
Aura Alex

I have unexpectedly received such a warm welcome and kind words from many, including you. Thank you for reading my story and sharing your thought. I appreciate it very much! Jeff Dowler, CRS  I look forward to learning from and about you. Have a great day!

Oct 28, 2021 01:58 PM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Aura, I admire people who have the courage to come to the US and begin a new life. I've hear endless success stories of people coming here. When I meet someone who isn't from America, I love hearing about their journey. I believe we take things for granted in America. Thank you for sharing!

Oct 29, 2021 05:42 AM
Aura Alex

Carla Freund, I know my journey was not unique to those before me, but the experience I had encountered was memorable for me. It was the experience I could describe in words of excitement, awe, inspiration, exhaustion, adrenaline, determination, all in one sentence! Happy Halloween! 😍 Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.

Oct 29, 2021 11:38 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Aura, along with being a Realtor these past 40 years, I also worked at an international software development company for over 8 years.  The company had folks from all over the globe.  Some were refugees from war torn parts of the world.  One thing I learned of vital importance was the value of education.  For example, I recall one 19 year old girl who landed alone in this country from Bosnia.  She basically had the clothes on her back, and a few dollars in her pocket.  But, still, at that age she was educated.  She came to work at our company, we further trained her in the "art" of computer programming, and she rose in ranks on the corporate ladder.  Not long after, she married another employee (also a refugee).  Together, they bought a wonderful home, and began raising a family.  All that occurred in a reasonably short amount of time.  It was possible, because they had a dream in their heart. They had the opportunity, and they perservered in making it happen!  It is the American dream!

Oct 29, 2021 08:12 AM
Aura Alex

Myrl Jeffcoat, I agreed that education is invaluable. My parents always taught us to be independent. They both told me before we said goodbye: "NEVER stop learning; knowledge is something that no one can take away from you!" Your story about the girl from Bosnia resonates with me.  Thank you for sharing! 

Oct 29, 2021 12:06 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Aura Alex - What a wonderful inspiration you are to all of us.  You are the epitome of what pursuing the American Dream is all about.  Courage, endurance, and determination to succeed.  I admire those qualities and wish you all the success that this country can offer you. 

Oct 29, 2021 08:28 AM
Aura Alex

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, Thank you for your beautiful and kind words. I know now that there are no "strangers" in the AR community, but there are "friends" I have not yet met! It's a great pleasure to meet you. Have a happy Halloween weekend!

Oct 29, 2021 12:38 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I must say seeing the Statue of Liberty is an awesome site and I just wonder how my grandparents felt when they saw it for the first time...

Oct 29, 2021 05:05 PM
Aura Alex

I bet they would have a difficult time explaining the real feelings at that moment. It's one of those experiences that you have to be there and feel it! I still get a lump in my throat when I re-live the very day! I will never forget it for the rest of my life. As always, thank you for your comments, Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS. Let's hope it's a dry weekend for us, Washingtonians! Have a good one.😎

Oct 29, 2021 06:49 PM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Hi Aura Alex:

I so enjoyed reading your story.   Your candor, courage and lovely writing style speak to the type of character I don't often encounter.    Judging by the comments, we all seem to be impressed by you.   It certainly doesn't hurt that you're from the land of smiles. 

My significant other is also Thai, having attended med school in Bangkok before coming here to practice.   She rose through the ranks and now heads the pulmonary division of a major hospital.  

She, too, would be impressed by you!


Oct 29, 2021 06:40 PM
Aura Alex

Brian L. Sirota, Esq., it's so good to hear from you again.  I am grateful for your eleventh-hour compliments, and quite frankly, I am running out of English words to tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtful comments. If you could bribe your Thai significant other, she might tell you what I'm about to say. "Kob Koon Mak, Brian."  Sawatdee! 🤩

Oct 29, 2021 08:15 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Well how about that, no wonder we connected, I came to this country at the age of 14 and it became my third language:)) I remember standing at JFK International and asked this Baggage handler "WHAT TIME IS IT"? to test out one year of English.... needless to say he answered I did not understand... tried it three more times and he pointed to the clock on the wall .... it was 11:30pm August 27, 1967, yes I get it:))Endre

Oct 29, 2021 10:29 PM
Aura Alex

OMG! Endre Barath, Jr. You're cracking me up! 🤣 That happened to me too, struggling to understand the Bostonian accents! Especially when asking for directions.  I had to stop more than a few times to reach my destination. Each time I got a little further. By the third or fourth stops, I made it. Even though I landed in NYC but I lived in Boston while I was studying in college. So glad to meet you! Thank you for sharing your experience. I loved it! I'm sure there's more.🙃

Oct 29, 2021 10:43 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.

Indeed there is more Aura Alex  loved your reply  on George Souto  post, FYI  in 1976 I was  stationed in Germany  with the 3rd Infantry  Division so I missed the big celebration on the 4th, Endre

Oct 30, 2021 12:16 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Well deserved featured post. Beautiful wording, and what an inspiration you are. Have you thought about writing your book?

Thank you for sharing your story. 

Oct 30, 2021 07:12 PM
Aura Alex

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, I am considering it, and the project is on the top of my "bucket list." I appreciate your kind words. I have shared my story orally, but this is the first time I have shared it in written words.  Thank you so much for your encouragement.

Oct 31, 2021 08:54 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

What a wonderful story of diving right into life, even when ready to give up to give it your all, Aura. You have made the most of your life here, through triumph and disappointment, congrats on your successes!

Nov 12, 2021 07:12 AM
Aura Alex

Yes, indeed, Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! I practically grew up here in the U.S. I have had help and found many mentors along the way.  Friends became family, and some are in my life forever. Your comments meant a lot to me, coming from someone successful and proud. Thank you!💛

Nov 12, 2021 10:11 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!

Wishing you many more blessings Aura Alex, I am glad to have met you here!

Nov 12, 2021 10:30 AM