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.