This post will contain spoilers about the movie, Brooklyn, so please stop if you don’t want to know how it ends

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Ok, so I saw the film last week and, while I really liked it, it left me rather disappointed. For those of you that don’t know the story, here it goes:

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The lead character, Eilis, moves to America from Ireland for a better life than one that is available in her small town. When she first arrives, she has a job and a place to live. And she has a ready-made community that looks after her. But she feels really homesick. And what does she do to cure her homesickness? Finds a boyfriend. Whom she secretly marries before returning to Ireland for a visit.

I won’t tell the rest because it’s not important. What is important is that her boyfriend/ husband is the main thing that keeps her from staying in Ireland and what makes her happy in New York. Sure, she has a job and she goes to school, but the film presents these as secondary to her boyfriend.

And this is why I am annoyed. I would really, really, really like to see a story of a woman that immigrated to another country and found happiness within herself.

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This girl finds foreign boy and lives happily ever after is not just for fiction. There are so many from expats who give advice on how to survive moving to another country. But my eyes gloss over when they invariably say, “I married a (insert country of choice here) citizen, but disregard that fact because my success is strictly because of my hard work. Bullshit it is! If you marry a citizen and they have the cash, 99% of your immigration problems are over. In most cases, with a conversational level of the official language, you marriage confers a residence permit, work permit, place of residence, and social support. You will have someone to talk to when you’re lonely. You’ll have someone to help you navigate the bureaucracy. You’ll have a friend.

This scenario is so prevalent, it is often presumed that if you’re a foreigner living in a country, you came because you met someone. Like, one of the first phrases I learned in my Danish language class was about my relationship status. “Jeg har nogen dansk kæreste” (I have no danish boyfriend)

Where are the stories of the women who really did make it on their own? I know they are out there, why are they not front and center?

When I first moved abroad, I specifically did not want a boyfriend until I had lived in the country for at least a year. I made the mistake of using a boy as a crutch when I moved to another American city and found myself in a relationship I should have ended much earlier, but didn’t because I didn’t have any other friends. I have seen how bad relationships are extended well past their expiration dates because the dependent literally has no where to go if they leave.

I can’t be the only one out here trying to doing it on my own. Please tell me your stories of independent immigration or other success stories about women who moved, and did so on their own terms.