Everyone wants to find the person that they want to spend the rest of their life with. No one thinks about possibly meeting that person on a social media site, let alone meeting someone living 5,000 miles away.
Marisa Shanholtzer, who is originally from Villa Elisa, Entre Rios, Argentina, was 28 years old at the time and had a teaching degree in English. She taught English to students in Argentina where it is required that students learn English.
“I had a bachelor’s degree in English and was always interested in traveling to explore the English language. I had thought about traveling to England or Europe until I met a man from the United States,” Shanholtzer said.
She met her husband on an app called Jango, similar to Pandora, that allows users to chat with people who share the same interest in music. After a couple of weeks, they exchanged phone numbers and talked to each other for about six or seven months before he purchased a plane ticket to Argentina to propose to her.
“I said yes to him and he came back to Argentina to visit my family and I for Christmas that year. I had started filling out the paperwork for a fiancee visa and discovered that I was pregnant, so as soon as I received the visa, I packed my bags to move 5,000 miles away to the United States,” Shanholtzer said.
Once Marisa and her husband reached the United States, they were married by a justice of the peace before the 90-day limit on her visa expired in 2009 and had their wedding in Argentina in 2012. After five years of being in the United States, Shanholtzer could apply for citizenship. She proceeded to study in order take the citizenship test.
“I studied and felt prepared. I was familiar with many of the questions that I would be asked because I had to learn most of the United States history, as well as the language to become an English teacher in Argentina,” Shanholtzer said.
After Shanholtzer passed the test and gained her citizenship, she decided that she wanted to continue her education at a university so she had the classes she took in Argentina translated to English. She ended up with a bachelor’s degree in arts and language, then continued her education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and received a master’s in early childhood development.
“When I received my citizenship, I felt at the same level as the people around me and I felt so confident because I could finally participate in the same United State’s freedoms as everyone else, such as voting.” Shanholtzer said.
She went on to become a supervisor of a children’s program and made many new friends. She and her husband currently live in Dickson with two daughters, Breahna and Sofia. They have been married for about nine years.
“Although I wasn’t born here and didn’t grow up here I feel like I still belong here” Shanholtzer said.
She talks to her parents everyday on WhatsApp and is still considered a Argentenian citizen when visiting her family. She is looking forward to August when her parents will visit her in the United States.