The Pursuit of Happiness

by Lena

Letter from The President of Unites States – Barack Obama.

It has been a 9 year journey for me.

In the Summer of 2003 I arrived in LAX as a 19 year-old girl, without a clue of what to do next.

I sat alone on the bench right outside the airport, trying to answer the question that I have not yet asked myself prior to that night…

What now? …

elena levon

August 2003 – fresh off the plane.

In the past 9 years, I have slept in all Hollywood hostels and shared my room with bed bugs and some truly insane individuals.

There was a time when I didn’t know where I was going to sleep tomorrow and not having enough money for food and clothes…

However, that was also the time when I met an amazing person, who is my close friend to this day…

Eddie Rouse ~ American Actor, Poet, Photographer and Musician…

Eddie & I  (  January 2013 )

Eddie & I ( January 2013 )

He’s seen me at my worst and my best with everything in between, without judgement.

elena levon eddie rouse photography

Photo-shoot in Hollywood Hostel – 2004. Photo by Eddie Rouse.

I worked odd jobs in order to survive, pay for my acting classes and my immigration lawyer. Because I wasn’t 21 I couldn’t work anywhere near alcohol under California law…

so no ” I’m an actor/waitress/bartender ” for me…

I modeled too…

At one time I even sold paintings from door to door, carrying heavy canvases in the unbearable heat of Bakersfield, California.

Lost some of my family members back home in Russia and friends here in US…

These were the dark days, where I did everything I could to run away from the pain…

Glad I lived in a city, where …

Downtown Los Angeles.

When I once had a chance to work with one of my favorite directors, Steven Soderberg, I told him that I would really love to work with him again, after I go through pain & suffering. He, who was incredibly curious about the meaning of my tattoo on my neck, replied calmly with a very short answer ” You don’t have to ” …

Wish I listened to him … Instead, chose to reply with a philosophical ” Yes, I do, we all do.. “

Stubborn much?

Yes, suffering is a choice…

so is running away from pain.

However,

“Running away” worked only for a short while ..

I’ve stumbled and fallen hard, but somehow managed to get up.

If you’ve been one of my friends in those “myspace” days, you might know that my “about me” consisted of the following phrase -

” I was and I will always, find myself walking on fire and I’ll be convincing my heart that it’s only cool water. I believe that if your passion is greater than your fear – you can have anything you want! “

and

my  profile summary was -

“If you persist in falsely accusing me of a sour disposition, I will be forced to ignore you.”

Even though my temper was like a time bomb, which got me into some very serious situations, I’ve lived for the most part, with a huge smile on my face…

Bel-Air Hotel 2005.

even Val Kilmer wanted to be that happy.. : )

elena levon mickey rourke

with Mickey Rourke in my early Hollywood days. 2004 – 2005

elena levon mickey rourke

Got my green card in 2006.

I’ve fallen in love, not just with men.. Broke hearts and in return, some, broke mine.

Was lucky enough to have been introduced by this life, to a few amazing people, who stood by me through thick and thin.

Met the most incredible man in the world – Mr. Bond, whom in spite of my difficult character, obvious flaws and unbelievably stubborn mind, still thinks I’m “the most amazing woman in the world”

Mr. Bond, thank you for being you and for loving me this much..

There were times when I got “stabbed” by the closest of my “friends”, but to this day, choose to walk into a new friendship with my heart wide open.

After years of hard work, I became a member of Screen Actors and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists guild…

I had an honor of working with the most talented of artists on a few Hollywood films, wrote poetry / prose and became interested in photography… Which wasn’t a surprise to My Mother… since my grandfather was a professional photographer who worked for Russian ” blue blood ” families.

In the past 9 years, I was lucky to travel the world solo, which changed me in many ways and turned me into a permanent nomad.

In the past years, have been living in sunny Beverly Hills, California and remain “Single” by choice.

I have shared food with Hollywood icons,

President,

elena levon bill clinton jessica alba clinton foundation

royalty

and homeless people…

The latter, always had better stories…

And above all, I have never lost who I am and have never sold my soul…

Be it for a fancy mansion, designer clothes, diamonds, bigger paycheck, acting roles or a green card…

Unfortunately, ladies, ( and gents )  nowadays, it’s a fact, that one should be proud of.

~

On May 16th 2012, had my citizenship interview…

I was really nervous…

My appointment was at 12 pm, but the interview didn’t start until 2.

These were the longest hours of my life…

In 15 minutes of my actual interview, officer asked me civics questions and tested me on my ability to speak and write in English.

At the end of the interview she said that I have passed and now have to wait for my invitation letter to the Oath Ceremony…

At ” Mastro’s ” in Beverly Hills.. they brought congratulations dessert on the house.. I cried ..

27th of June 2012 …

An hour before the ceremony.. in my home office .. I’m sure Jason Bourne is jealous of my passport collection

The ceremony was held at Los Angeles Convention Center and had 2 thousand 800 something future citizens, plus hundreds of guests…

They put holes in my green card and a few travel documents that I had to surrender at the end of the ceremony in order to get my US citizenship certificate…

It was a very emotional ceremony for me and I cried a couple of times…

however at the end, replaced tears with laughter ..

After I was given my Citizenship Certificate, Mr. Bond surprised me with a lunch at a Greek Restaurant that sells the most amazing Greek dessert Loukoumades…

The last time I had it was in 1998 in Cyprus.

Ummm… panaya mu, panaya mu! ( Greek )

” Freedom ” – is the name of those Roses..

I probably belong in the minority of Russian women, by having ” Single ” status on my Citizenship Certificate…

elena levon citizenship usa

Ladies & Gents, to see such certificate, truly is a rare occasion…

Most Russian or non-Russian women any age & my age, especially, who come to US have ” Married ” on their Certificates…

So to all those worried mothers in the past, friends of my boyfriends or even boyfriends themselves, I would like to say the following –

Stereotypes are unoriginal!

Really, you didn’t have to loose sleep over this…

I wasn’t with your son for a “green card”  or  his ” American Citizenship ” ..

I have standards!

When I used to say I’m from Russia, most, looked for my picture on Russian Brides websites.

Of course, in order to save her own sanity, one, must take all the above stereotypes with humor…

Especially when you say you were born in Moscow and the question that follows is..

” Do you guys, like, always, like, drink vodka, like and bears drive buses, like ? “

all I can say to that is … ” No comment “

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at home with my Certificate

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with my baby girl, Bugsy .. always, searching for food : )

Russian Federation doesn’t ask me to renounce my citizenship after becoming an American Citizen, this fact makes me a dual citizen…

Person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth. U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. ( US State Department Services Dual Nationality )

elena levon

We have a wonderful Russian Film ” Moscow Doesn’t Believe In Tears “ , that won an Oscar in the 80′s for best foreign film.

Here’s a famous dialog from this Russian Classic -

” In today’s day and age everything is different!…

No! Times are always the same! Before you can achieve anything, you need to work hard at it and earn it! “

To understand this film fully, like I do, I guess you must have a Russian Soul

or maybe not…

Here in US,

people walk very similar paths, especially if you happen to be an immigrant…

This path is about walking on broken glass, making mistakes, loosing, starting from less than zero and growing.

In spite of all the agony, you are able to rise from ashes, rebuild your life, reach your goals and succeed.

US and Russia are not that different, after all …

we are very much the same…

we both believe

in

The Pursuit of Happiness…

elena levon usa citizenship

self-portrait

Happy 4th of July!

_____________________

The woman behind the words …

 

imdb

” Memories “

Official Website