If you don’t know where you come from, how can you know where you’re going?
The Statue of Liberty loomed before us, larger than life and imposing. It was a momentous occasion, signaling freedom, achievement and destiny. I’d eagerly awaited my visit to Ellis Island, excited to step foot on the grounds that had signaled opportunity for so many.
I snapped pictures at a suitcase display near the entrance before catching up with my travel companion who’d stopped at a machine that displayed ancestral records using family surnames. I excitedly watched as she searched for her relatives. Reality hit me, unexpectedly hard.
My ancestors didn’t come through Ellis Island!
At that moment, and for the duration of my time at Ellis Island, I stopped giving a damn. I glanced halfheartedly at the displays and skimmed over portraits looking for any reflection of me. I was surrounded by American history, and I felt left out. From these emotions came the realization that I hadn’t put much effort into discovering my ancestors and learning about my history.
A New Journey
A trip to my Motherland is planned based on the test results. I’m keeping expectations and planning in check to allow room for an amazing trip to create itself. My overall goals are to experience my lost culture, recover missing links and gain a sense of history. And once I’ve satisfied my craving for my own history, I owe Ellis Island another visit.
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