The newlywed from a small village on the island of Luzon in the Philippines stepped off the plane in Japan and saw her breath for the first time. It lingered in front of her face and slowly dissipated. Her first inhale of the brisk air burned her chest—she thought her lungs were on fire. Her husband, Harry Carver, assured her it was normal.

It was 1973 and Lina Carver had just left her country for the first time. She waited with her husband for their plane to arrive to take her to her new home—America. While waiting, Lina would run inside to warm up just enough so that when she came back outside, she could see her breath again. New experiences were all around her and she hadn’t even reached the United States yet.

Stepping off the last plane of their trip, Lina was excited, tired, and nervous. The couple was welcomed by Harry’s family. His mother and brother grabbed and embraced her. Once free from their arms, she turned around to her father-in-law, and he gave her a hug.

“Welcome to the United States,” she remembers him saying. It was the start of Lina’s American Dream. She felt that anything was possible.

Kenneth Holland, the executive director of the Center for International Development at Ball State University, described the United States as “the nation of immigrants.”

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