Chapter 3: Leaving Home

We were happy about our father's decision to bring us to America, but at the same time felt sad to leave our friends and neighbors.

Mother made preparations for us to leave. She gave away all our furniture, clothes, and utensils to our neighbors. We gave our small plot of land to a close relative, and our next-door neighbor lived in our house. We even had a water buffalo that was given to a very poor family in the village. All the villagers thanked us for our generosity and wished us good luck in the new world.

In 1933, only a few Chinese were allowed in. Because of the Chinese Exclusion act, only 4,928 Chinese were allowed to immigrate between 1931 and 1940 — compared with 339,570 immigrants from the United Kingdom. Our father was very lucky to obtain four spots in the quota for us. He never explained to us how he did it. It was a miracle!

Getting to the new world was not going to be easy. Even though we had four slots to enter the United States, we still had to get there! We traveled by foot, by boat, and by train just to get to Hong Kong!


How hard would it be for you to leave home today? What kind of things would you want to take with you? What would you have to leave behind?

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