A blogger seeking a richer life... in a wasteland called the suburbs... for my family, myself, and anyone who will listen!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Like Our Ancestors...

Yesterday, despite the GLOOMy  forecast, and the back and forth, "should we, shouldn't we go", we went with our 50 person group to Ellis Island Immigration Museum.  I'm so glad we didn't succumb to those 'doomsayer' meteorologists predictions of battering wind and rain, when it turned out to be mostly drizzle.  Imagine what weather the immigrants traveled through -  No, I can't imagine!  Even with two and a half hours (which isn't enough time) at the museum, I still can't imagine what it must have been like traveling that tired, hungry, and often sick for weeks on end.  Over all, the kids enjoyed it, especially the ferry ride.  And thanks to 11 year old Zach, now better known as 'GPS' who had done the trip before, we would have gotten off the ferry at the 'Statue of Liberty' stop instead of our planned destination.

The kids unfortunately burned out halfway through our museum visit, which is to be expected.  I think maybe they have trouble relating to the old black and white photos.  One part of the exhibit where we had a lot of fun was the 'Word Tree' which shows the origin of many American words.
Also come prepared with family names to look up on the immigrant database provided at computer kiosks and The 'Wall of Honor' (which we'll have to save for the next trip).  You can also go to the websites for lookup at ellisisland.org and wallofhonor.org.
I was able to call my mother from the museum when my son and I  couldn't find certain relatives because of name changes when they arrived from Eastern Europe.  Some of the family members still spell their last name differently, with one letter an 'i' instead of an 'e'.
On my husbands' side the name changed all together from the original Russian.
My son is studying Mandarin Chinese in Middle School so our last stop was at the gift shop to buy a T-shirt saying I'm a 'Chinese-American', so he could show his teacher his pride in what he is learning!
Mom, "Chinese, not Spanish is the language of the future" he says...

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