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My Voyage to America 1900

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BC: LIFE IS A JOURNEY

FC: TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE.

1: Our Favorite City. | We will never forget.

2: v v

3: m4eid3 | December 2nd 1900 I had to leave. I regret not saying good bye. I just could not live one more day in Torun. I was depressed being there. Money had nothing to do with it. I know Mama said that I should have stayed and married Jakub. Yes, I would have been well off financially but, I did not love him. He did not love me. I was depressed. And the constant rain kept me feeling down all the days. I had to go. I had to leave. I put together all the money I had to buy my ticket. I rummaged through old coats and cushions. I did things that I am not proud of. All I keep telling myself was that I needed to leave.

4: December 4th 1900 I bought my ticket not just two days ago and here I am on the open sea. The water that splashes me boasts freedom. So far, the ride has gone according to plan. We have not had any trouble. I wish I had enough money so that I could have bought a better spot, perhaps in second class. Steerage is packed but, I will get through it because all I think of is freedom. I can not wait to taste the sweet air of american freedom on my lips. I can not wait to be part of something that is bigger than myself. I can not wait for America.

5: Live Love & Enjoy Life always | All about the journey | Good times

6: EIFFEL | TOWER | ARIS

7: Travel is adventure | "To travel is to live." | This boat trip seems endless. I don’t think I can spend possibly one more minute here. At night, it gets cold, so cold that I can see my breath floating right in front of me, floating eerily like a ghost. That ghost is my soul, that is slowly but surely fading from within. I can not sleep at night. We are crammed closer than small fish in a pop top can. I spend the night listening to girls crying, men screaming and the old cough. There are so many that are sick on this boat. If I had to count, I would need the hands of an army. An old lady died just a day ago. They had to throw her overboard. No one cried for her. Her family will never know. She will be alone until the end of time. This boat trip seems endless. I don’t think I can spend possibly one more minute here. At night, it gets cold, so cold that I can see my spend possibly one more minute here. At night, it gets cold, so cold that I can see my breath floating right in front of me, floating eerily like a ghost. That ghost is my soul, that is slowly but surely fading from within. I can not sleep at night. We are crammed closer than small fish in a pop top can. I spend the night listening to girls crying, men screaming and the old cough. There are so many that are sick on this boat. If I had to count, I would need the hands of an army. An old lady died just a day ago. They had to throw her overboard. No one cried for her. Her family will never know. She will be alone until the end of time. | December 7th This boat trip seems endless. I don’t think I can spend possibly one more minute here. At night, it gets cold, so cold that I can see my breath floating right in front of me, floating eerily like a ghost. That ghost is my soul, that is slowly but surely fading from within. I can not sleep at night. We are crammed closer than small fish in a pop top can. I spend the night listening to girls crying, men screaming and the old cough. There are so many that are sick on this boat. If I had to count, I would need the hands of an army. An old lady died just a day ago. They had to throw her overboard. No one cried for her. Her family will never know. She will be alone until the end of time.

8: "Life is a journey not a destination." - RALPH WALDO EMERSON | December 11th 1900 I can see the shore! I can see the island! I can see the people! Luckily, I did not catch the sickness. I can smell freedom. I am almost there. I can feel it in my bones. Freedom.

9: SEEING THE WORLD ONE CITY AT A TIME.

10: Our bags are full.

11: Let the journey begin | December 12th 1900 As I was leaving the ship, a man stopped me. He looked me over and poked me with a stick. There was a woman next to him. She looked at me and told me to keep walking in polish. Once i stepped off the boat I realized how truly bright America was. The sun seemed to shine brighter. In the distance I saw the American flag waving. Freedom. As I walked through crowds of people, I heard many different languages. Languages that were foreign to me, ones I had never heard before. I was in a line with many others, waiting to be checked by a man with a hook stick. When he finally got to me, he looked me up and down and then grabbed my eyelid, I yelped. I thought he was trying to blind me. He hooked my eyelid and then let it go. Once more I was told to proceed. This is frightening but it is worth it. I am just two people away from a man who will ask me questions and hopefully, further aid me in my search for freedom.

13: December 12th 1900 The day has seemed endless. I have been shuffled from one end of the island to the other, many times over. I can not believe how truly rude people are. This whole event is so scary, why do they not have any compassion. I’ve been screamed at by two different men. One was a worker who yelled at me for not walking fast enough. How could I have moved any faster? The other man that yelled at me was from a foreign place. He had milky skin and slanted eyes. I assume that he thought I was stealing from him because he pointed at my suitcase and started to yell. I ran away and cried. He furiously tried to follow me but i moved fast and muffled my sobs. Finally I was free from him. I sat down and sobbed. I need sleep. I can not live like this any longer.I was questioned by a man who sat on a stool, he held a piece of paper. There was a woman to his right who translated for him. He asked me questions about where I was from, who I was staying with, what my parents names were and how much money I had. I truthfully answered all but two questions for at the time, I had no one to stay with and I surely would have been sent home. I also lied about how much money I had because if anyone heard that I had almost two hundred dollars, my entire life savings, they would try and hurt me to get the money. After being questioned, I met a girl. She was from Torun too. Her name was Caroline. She told me she was going to stay with her uncle in New York CIty and that I was welcome to come too. I am so excited. Not only do I have somewhere to stay, I’ve made a new friend too.

14: December 13th 1900 Yesterday, I paid for transportation for Caroline and I to her Uncles house. It seemed only right because she was letting me stay with her.Her Uncle, whose name was Andrez, lived in a nice apartment with his lovely girlfriend named Luiza. They both had milky white skin, ocean blue eyes and medium blonde hair. They both spoke English and said that they were so happy that Caroline had a friend. Andrez told us that he had come here before the mass immigration and had already known english. He also told us that he was very lucky to be a manager at a factory and could get us both jobs if we wanted.After a small conversation Caroline and I excused ourselves and decided to say thank you by making them a traditional Polish meal. On the corner of her uncles street there was a small market but it was dirty so Caroline and I took a walk to a better store. The store was about six blocks away and after the third block, things changed. The people on the streets changed, the buildings changed, the language changed. We walked into a market , it smelled deliciously of fresh bread. Unfortunately the people in the store were not as nice. They gave us dirty looks and whispered to others around them. They all had tan skin, dark hair and dark eyes. Eyes which glowed with hatred. Caroline and I were scared so we quickly did our shopping and paid the man. On the way out, a man on the corner smirked and said something that sounded like “dumb poles”. We ran back to the house and cooked dinner in silence. At dinner, Andrez told us about the Anti-Polish sentiment and how no one besides the Polish liked the Polish. He also told us that it was a very risky going to that grocery store and that we were lucky to have not gotten hurt. I was shocked. Luiza told us that because of our bad name of dumb poles the government tried to pass a law that would require immigrants to be able to read and write. After dinner, Caroline and I cleaned up and decided to go to bed. It had been a long day and tomorrow we will be getting our first jobs! | 2012

16: "To travel is to live." -Hans Christian Andersen

17: Factory work is difficult. The hours are long and the pay is low. Luckily, Andrez and Luiza are allowing Caroline and I to stay at their house so we can save as much money as possible. We repay them by helping around the house and cooking dinner on Sunday nights. Andrez was able to get us good hours at the factory. We start very early in the morning but are done by mid afternoon, soon our pay might even go up! Caroline and I don’t work on the same floor but we have the same lunch time. We have both made some good friends and they are coming over on Friday for a party. I met a man, his name is Everett. He is a manager at another factory down the road. He was born in America and thanks to Andrez and Luiza, I can speak English fluently. Being around it everyday made it so much easier to pick up. We have only been dating for a few month but I really like him.

18: March 5th 1902 It has been so long since I have written in this diary. I had almost forgotten about it. I found it while I was moving my things into Everett’s house. Well, I guess it can be called our house now. After over a year of dating, we decided to get married. Caroline was in the wedding and Andrez and Luiza walked me down the aisle. They are like parents to me. The wedding was small but beautiful. After the wedding, Everett and I decided that it would be best for me to become an American citizen. Since I was married to an American citizen, I did not have to wait as long to apply for my citizenship. Everett helped prepare me, teaching me everything about America that he thought I needed to know. He taught me history and he taught me about the presidents and anything else he thought was important. I had to make a petition and have it signed by two citizens. I had Andrez and Everett sign it. Then I had to pledge my allegiance to America and I did it proudly. I was so happy that I was finally, truly free. I had a rock in my stomach the entire time but it was well worth it in the end. I can not wait to start me new life as an American citizen, a wife, and a new mother.

21: Discovering new places. | December 20th 1902 Hello again, old friend. Things have been so busy since I officially became a citizen. I quit my job in the factory as I am pregnant and Everett says that I should not be a working mother. He recently got a raise so we were able to afford a modest apartment closer to his work. It was nice living in a Polish community but, when our children grow up, we want them to be able to experience all types of people and cultures. Since Everett was born here, and I was born in Poland, our children will have a very mixed culture, and I am happy with that. They will be better off later on coming from parents such as us. Everyone treats us so nicely. Sometimes though, when Everett and I walk down the street together, we get looks. People whisper, they make assumptions. But these people are only new immigrants and we don’t see many of them where we are currently living. We live in a neighborhood with mainly American born people, but also families like us, immigrant and native. The baby is due any day now and we are both so excited to be parents. Christmas is just a month away and we decided it would be best for our new child to experience both worlds. We will spend Christmas eve with Caroline, Andrez and Luiza and the Christmas day with Everetts family. Now I know why so many people pushed to come to America. This is freedom, this is a dream come true.

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  • By: Rachel M.
  • Joined: about 4 years ago
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  • Title: My Voyage to America 1900
  • MY voyage from Poland to America.
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  • Published: about 4 years ago

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