The year is 1871. It is a grey and cold October morning, but at least the rain has stopped. Everywhere around me people are waking up after a long and rough night. Three months have gone. Three months on this ship witch was to bring us to our new life. Three months without any contact with the world around, and the people left back home. My name is Johannes, and I am just an ordinary farmer. “America. The place where all men are created equal.” I whisper the words for myself and remember the first time I heard them, as I look out over the ocean. Somehow I just couldn’t get enough of it, even after all this time. It was something beautiful but still dangerous about the blue and green waves that were slamming in the boat under me. The water was like hypnotic to me and I couldn’t help staring. As I was standing there memories came to me from months before, when I hadn’t even heard about America, The land of freedom.
Only six months earlier I had been home in Norway, living with my father, mother and my three younger sisters. It was down at the town and a stranger had come up too me, asking for a place to sleep and some money. I remember I felt bad for the man, but there was nothing I could do. I and my family worked very hard, but we barely had enough to get along. Sadly I told the man that I couldn’t help him. I did however give him some food, the man looked like he was starving to death. His old and wrinkled face turned into a big smile, and he thanked me about a 100 times (blir det for moderne å si?). “Thank you young man,” he said “you generosity will not be forgotten. I just have to make the money I need for the trip somewhere else. “What kind of trip?” I asked him curiously. He looked at me with his tired blue eyes and it was like they lit up as he started telling. He talked so wonderful about an incredible country on the other side of the ocean. He talked about it with such enthusiasm and warmth that gave me a hope. A hope of being released from me and my family’s lives as poor farmers. If I went there I could really help my family, and I would be more than just a poor farmer’s son. But this was all very unlikely to happen, I couldn’t leave my family, they were all I got.
When I finally got home that night I found the whole family sitting in the dark, cold living room. They all looked so tired because of all the work. They worked far too much. I know they did. We all worked hoping that we would get richer and have a better life. But there was no use. Poor people were poor people, and that was it. End of story. Deep in side we all knew that, but still we kept on working. Every single day. It was the only thing we could do. If we didn’t work hard enough, we would get thrown out of our hose, and end up homeless. It was at that point, as I was standing there, thinking about this and seeing my family so shattered, that I made a decision. I had no choice. I had to get to America somehow and start a new life that would be better, both for my family and me.
People on the boat talked different languishes, but in the beginning of this trip it had been only one word on their lips, America. Days had become weeks, and weeks had become months. Peoples hopes and excitement, witch had been like a fire in their eyes had gradually faded away. /The fire of excitement and hope, that had been normal to see in peoples eyes, had increasingly faded away. Everybody was tired, and they missed their family and homes. During the journey, many people had gotten sick. An old man had even died. But despite all of this, none of the passengers on the boat can stop talking about America this morning. Not now, when we are so close. I can even see it now. It is a beautiful sight.
People are busy doing their daily jobs. You can hear shouting and the clicking from horses passing by. An enthusiastic merchant is trying to sell his articles. In the harbour boats and ships are sailing out and in. In the New York Harbour a ship is steaming in. Hundreds of exited immigrants are crowded on brygge. The sun has finally burstet trough the clouds and is now shining cheerfully and wishing us welcome. It is truly a beautiful morning. As I stand there among the crowd I can barely believe that I am finally here. For about six months I have been waiting for this. I started walking; it was time to start my new life.