In the early 20th century, the citizens of Ukraine encountered tough economic and socio-political conditions. Ukrainians experienced constant pressure from the side of Austrian-Hungarian and Russian governments which dictated the rules. After the failure of the revolution in 1905-1907 the situation exacerbated. A number of Ukrainian writers and educated individuals fell the victims of severe repression (Mesle & Vallin, 2012, p. 71). They were unable to reveal the truth, which was different from the social propaganda. The only way to escape in that situation was immigrating into the U.S., which seemed to be the country of freedom and equality. I was one of the young writers, who were persecuted by the Russian authorities for the articles in the literature journals and the truth-revealing poems. My friend went into the U.S. earlier, and he constantly wrote me letters, asking to join him. One evening I decided to go abroad, as I felt that there I could do more for my country than while being in Ukraine.
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I went to the U.S. asking for political asylum. The trip there was long, difficult, and stressful. From childhood, I was afraid of water, and the sea voyage turned into the scene from my worst nightmares. I did not see the accommodations and food, and I was seasick. Once, our ship experienced the storm. There was nothing serious in fact, but I prayed the whole night asking God to give me a chance to survive. Being terrified by the power of sea, I had such a feeling that our ship was just a tiny toy, and sea waves simply played with it. I cannot render all the horrors, which I experienced during that night, but I clearly remember the fact that I woke up being the completely new individual. I had a hope in my heart that God cherished me because of the particular objective that I had to experience in my life.
Finally, I saw the Ellis Island which was like in a poem. I perceived it as the “golden gates” into a paradise of thought and opinion (Morris, 2013, p. 68). At that time, the “open policy” was followed there (Low, Taplin, and Scheld, 2005, p. 69). When I saw the Statue of Liberty with her torch, my eyes filled with tears. Every cell of my body felt inner respect and hope for better future. The torch in the hand of lady Liberty enlightened my dark life and presented me a glimpse of hope. I realized that this country will give me a chance to alter my life and to achieve something in it. I have to assume that the chance for the possible success means a lot for the individual, who is tired of constant depression and persecution. I did not pay attention to severe inspection on the border. The officers conducted the detection in a way as if we were not human beings, but rather animals. They inspected our ears, mouth, heads, hair, and all the body parts. However, it was of no importance to me, since I was so thrilled that literally wanted to kiss the ground and perceived it as a Land of Oz. Little I knew back then that the life in the U.S. will be much different from what I expected.
I went to New York, as this city attracted my attention by its scale. I was sure that in such a huge place it will be easily to find the job. However, despite the fact that I was white, people did not want to offer me the job because they did not trust me. I was a stranger, whom they did not want to understand, listen and perceive. My first job position was a dish washer in China Town. I was paid $1 per day. The sum was miserable and I could hardly survive on it. One day I decided to leave New York and to go to Los Angeles. There I met my friend, who worked as a journalist in the newspaper. He introduced me to his boss and talked for about two or three hours. I thought that it was a confession and told this man everything about my family, my job in Ukraine, my sufferings, my hopes about better future and my dish washing experience. It was the first time in my American practice that the person listened to me attentively. When I finished, he asked me to write a 100-word small article about Dante Alighieri. I managed to do in half an hour, and when Mr. Stevenson read my work, he allowed me to write two articles per week. Apart from the salary of $100 a month which was really huge comparatively to $30 I earned in the restaurant, I had the opportunity to write.
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Los Angeles captured my heart by its beauty. All the people resembled the pictures from the fashion magazines. I was young and for the first time in my life I felt totally satisfied. I rented a small one-bedroom apartment and got acquainted with a lot of truly interesting people. Some of them were script writers; others were actors, who tried to find the job in Hollywood, which was also a great place. It is so truthful, with no special effects but pure art of acting only. Those were my golden years. In Los Angeles nobody paid attention to the fact that I was different. It was a colorful city, marked by different ethnicities, races, bright ideas and beautiful smiles. I was not discriminated, as my boss and the people, who surrounded me, evaluated not my appearance or country of origin, but my professional traits and possibilities. Some years later I met my spouse. We did not have a wedding, but it was a simple registration. In three years we gave birth to our first son, and in other four years, God blessed us with a daughter.
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Today, my kids feel themselves Americans. They perceive the USA as their Motherland, but the most essential thing is the fact that they remember that their roots were in Ukraine.