By Gavril L.
Grade 10, California
Country of Origin: Romania

In the year 1988, my Dad fled Romania because of the Communist Regime ū the government at the time. He left with a couple of his friends, illegally and secretly from Bucharest; leaving my Mother and three oldest siblings in Romania. He and his friends traveled to Serbia mainly on foot but by water as well. From Serbia they traveled to Yugoslavia. Once escaped from Eastern Europe, my Dad was sponsored by California to live in the United States. For fifty years communism powered Romania. Everything that a family had was the property of the president, Nicolae Ceausescu; RomaniaĘs long-time dictator. For example, if you had a cow that birthed a calf, government officials would come and take it away for next to nothing. You were not even allowed to practice your religious beliefs. The main reason that my Dad fled Romania was because in those days it was very difficult to find a job that gave you a wage high enough to take care of your family. My family and other Romanian citizens had to go to a certain government agency; the agency rationed food to our family. The food had to last an entire month. We would get one pound of sugar, one pound of flour and half a bottle of oil. We rarely got fresh produce; we got one orange once a year per child. It was very difficult to live life that way. My father did not imagine a life like that for us. My father struggled and suffered all for our good. His only wish was for us to have a good life; for that reason he immigrated to America. One year later, with lots of paperwork and sponsors, my Dad was able to bring my Mom and the rest of the family to the states. On the day my family arrived here, my Dad spent $150.00 on chocolate, candy and other goodies to celebrate our arrival. Back then my parents only had three children. Because of my DadĘs courage and perseverance we are now an all American family of fifteen healthy children heading toward the future with immense opportunity and great comfort. We are Romanian by blood; American by heart.

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