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Nothing to Write Home About

by Breyen's Fifth Hour Class

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Nothing to Write Home About
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Stories of Unremarkable Americans
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Hour 5
Historical Fiction:
Autobiography of an Immigrant

Directions:
Create an autobiography of a typical immigrant that is new to America. Write about that immigrant’s likely experience here in America based on all of the information you gained from the immigration stations. Where did this person come from? Where did he/she settle in America? What was his/her name? Does this person have a family? What did he/she do for a living? How was America different for this person? How was it the same? Describe the immigration process, the trip to America, the settlement houses, the neighborhoods, the politics, etc.  
Wang
Hi, my name is Wang Fang Yang and I’m writing this to tell others about my experience as a chinese immigrant. I’m only 15 years old and my dad is a railroad worker in California. My mom is sending me to America for a better life with my dad, we are poor here and America seems to be a much better opportunity. My mom and I were talking about how I will probably have to ride in steerage because we don’t have very much money. I’m really scared of how people will treat me and how riding in steerage will be. I hope I Will be able to be let into the country, just as long as I can prove that I’m my father’s daughter.
Today I leave for California I’m really scared, me and my mom walked all the way there holding hands. We got to the doc, I hugged my mom, and we paid and I got on the boat with my luggage. I was immediately sent to steerage and I brought all my stuff and settled into a small space, with a tiny bed that was close to others. I felt the steamship begin to move on the water, I was worried about the journey and my mom but I knew I had to be strong. A tear began to roll down my face. Later that night I heard people talking about recall. If you had a disease you could likely be sent back to your home country, I was upset after hearing this because I knew that many people on this ship were sick.
This is my fifth day of being on the ship, I haven’t wrote much because I met a new friend, she is the same age as me and her mother sent her for the exact same reason. She says her father lives in the suburbs and owns a chinese department store. Her name is Yu Yan. I’m still fearful but at least i’m not alone on this journey. We talked and made up games to pass time but we were still bored. The food there is weird and unfamiliar, it tastes gross but I ate it because It was all I had.
This is our last day on the ship! I’m so excited to get off this nasty, stinky steamboat we have five hours before we get to Angel Island and I can’t wait. When we got there I turned to Yu Yin and we said our goodbyes because we knew we would have to be separated. We were called off the boat and at this point we all wanted to get off, so we all got off in a very unorganized matter. After everybody was off we got in a line to be checked in. I knew I had to prove that I had family here because of the Chinese Exclusion Act. I was sent to where the immigrants stayed before I could prove that my dad was here. People said the process could take weeks of even months.When I got there I noticed the poems on the wall, they were written in chinese and they were beautiful, I read them when I’m bored. I wondered how I could prove I was my father’s daughter. I have been here for two weeks and I just want to see my dad but today I get to! My dad showed up and they studied us to make sure we were related, and now we could leave! Despite how poorly all the chinese immigrants including myself were treated, I was happy and relieved to see my father. I gave him a big hug he was happy to see me too. We took a railroad to San Francisco which is where we live. Our house wasn’t pretty but at least I had a place to stay. My dad said he had been saving up for three years to buy his own chinese department store and had finally had enough money. I was happy for him and I also found out that I would be working there too.
Today I start working there, I don’t make money because I’m helping my father. Many Americans are rude to us when they shop at my father’s store, but at least we are making money. My dad makes amazing chinese food every night and he loves me so much. My dad told me that my mother will probably come to America too, I can’t wait! I knew everything was going to be ok and my family was doing well in America. Despite the bad treatment, I’m glad I came here. This was a great experience.



Luigi
 Hello my name is Luigi and I am from Rome, Italy ,but my quest for an immigrant is to go to America, but had to start in a steerage. When I get to america I need to change my name and I thought of Lewis. Plus I wanted to start a Bakery business down in chicago. Also my last name was Pestero, but for america its Peterson. We just arrived at Ellis island to take our medicine exams before heading to America, but we are almost done. I just arrived in the country and the first thing I need to do is find a job.

I was walking downtown in chicago when this newspaper factory caught my eye near these old and cheap tenements that could be temporarily for me until I find or build my bakery. My friend Marco said he would be in chicago in about 3 days so that will be exciting.

I have been working at the factory for about 2 weeks and it's kinda getting tiring. The apartment also is being torn down due to payments so I have to think fast and see if it's affordable to start the bakery. From work I have made about 90 dollars. I'll work a little bit more but then in a couple of days or week I will have started my dreams. Also I might need to find a house or another tenements if i'm gonna still work in these areas downtown. The location of where I want my bakery was an open space near Ida B. Wells Drive.

My friend Marco was really rich and started a pizza company and gave me 160 dollars so I can start my business and get a good home, everything was coming together. It has been 3 days ever since I quit my job and they said It will take about 8 months to build the bakery.   
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