My journey to America was awful, but my family and I arrived in one piece! I did not know how bad a ship ride was while on the ocean. We were thrown and rolled all over the place on the Annabelle. There was a time when everyone wondered if the ship might sink because of how rough the waves were making the ship squeaking and the loud squeaks and groans of the ship were drowned out by the flamboyant screams of the people that were scared down in the lowest part of the ship.
It became so intense, that we all moved up to the deck of the ship. Even thou it was easier to catch our breath up on the deck, it was still overcrowded, and cold. All my family members stayed up on the top part of the deck bundled in a corner of the ship in the freezing environment. We prayed every day we were on the ship to see land.
On the last day of our trip, I saw her, an enormous statue of a woman holding a torch, The Statue of Liberty. She was tallest and largest statue I had ever seen, but she was nothing like what I saw in the distance. I was so captivated with how huge the buildings were that I almost did not notice we had reached Ellis Island. We got off the boat and walked to the Great Hall where we all had to wait for hours to enter America.
We all went through all kinds of cross-examination, “Where are you from? Any mental health issues? Have you had a tetanus shot?” I did not ever think it was going to end. I kept on looking around for my husband, they split us up into groups, the men on one side and women on the other, and I got worried when I lost sight of him. After answering questions after questions and being examined from head to toes, I was cleared along with my children. We all had to take an oath; I did not understand one word of the oath. Then they set us free into a new land called America. After waiting for my husband, he finally emerged three hours later a citizen of America too. They kept him longer because the health inspectors were skeptical of his birthmark on his back. The whole citizenship process took roughly eight hours, not bad for us considering some had been there for days.
We had to figure out what train would take us to New Jersey it was nice not to be on that damned ship! After four hours of traveling on the train, most of which we were asleep, we arrived in New Jersey. My Uncle met us there at the train to greet us, and we quickly followed him to his apartment. I was relieved after seeing Uncle, I could finally relax and make a new home for my family. We moved into his homely apartment right in the middle of town. We all had to share a small room that was too little for even three people to stay in and we had six in my family. My husband found a job within a few weeks of moving to America and was gone all the time. He worked for a steel factory and was only home for eight hours a day, and that was at night. Well don’t worry about us, as I knew you would be, we all love it here and are getting along just fine.