I first met Tina on an outing with a new friend. Laura and I had made plans to visit the Stonehenge Memorial and Tina asked if she could join. The three of us had fun exploring this new location and getting to know each other.
When we met for her consult Tina told me she agreed to the portrait session because she wants to share her story with others. She believes her story can be an inspiration for other women.
So without further ado allow me to introduce you to my friend Tina . . . .
Tina is from India. She says that women there have been conditioned for years to believe that their only purpose in life is to get married, keep their husbands happy, have children, and take care of their home. Women who break free from this mindset are viewed with scorn and criticized by society. Over the years women have lost their self-confidence and ability do things for themselves even if they were qualified and well-educated.
Tina, however, was fortunate to be raised in a broad-minded, and well-educated family. Her parents taught her to be brave, work hard and reach for the stars. But growing up she was exposed to the ugliness of gender inequality, and the harassment and violence against women on the streets, schools, and workplaces in India. When she lost her father as a teenager she was devastated. Her marriage at an early age made things worse. Although she had an MBA degree and a promising career, she gave it all up to be a stay-at-home mom when her son was born.
After ten years of living in an unhappy marriage, she was finally able to escape it in 2010. But she was not just emotionally broken, she was left with no money, no job, and no home.
With the support of her mother, she was able to slowly heal herself emotionally and start to rebuild her life. She found a job in an IT company, and in 2013 earned an opportunity to come to the United States for a six-month project. The moment she stepped out of the airplane and took her first breath of air in the US, she burst into tears and knew that this would be the turning point in her life.
She fell in love with Oregon at first sight. The spectacular greenery and natural beauty that she saw from the window of her airplane swept her off her feet. The kindness of the people and community spirit that she experienced during her stay, stole her heart. She was amazed at how much freedom and empowerment women had here. The fact that women were treated with respect and could walk freely on the streets without being harassed, blew her mind. She knew then that this was where she wanted to spend the rest of her life. Those six months were truly the best months of her entire life.
She went back to India after completing her project and requested her company to move her permanently to their office in Beaverton, Oregon. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but she was not willing to give up. She quit her job and decided that she would somehow get back to Oregon on her own. She then applied to Portland State University for a Master of Science program.
Tina was accepted at PSU in the Fall of 2015. She came back to Oregon with her son and started her new life here as a graduate student. As a foreign student, she was initially permitted to work only within the university campus on a minimum wage. But she worked hard to earn three scholarships that completely paid for her second year’s tuition. She then went on to graduate her Master’s program in less than two years with a 4.0 GPA.
Tina is today hired by one of the largest multinational software companies in the United States and lives in Happy Valley, Oregon with her son who now goes to high school. Tina spends her free time volunteering and giving back as much as possible to the community. She believes in the power of prayer and says that God always brings the right people, circumstances, and opportunities in her life at the right time. All she has to do is recognize them, and pursue them with optimism and focused persistence.
She wants to reach out to women all over the world and tell them that if she was able to do this, they can do whatever their heart desires too.
She believes that anybody can turn their life around, however bad their situation might be, by staying positive, taking the right chances, and not giving up on their dreams.
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