January 25, 2014 @ 12:22 AM

I’m watching Vito Corleone come to the United States on a boat from Italy. All the immigrants are standing tall and are looking at the Statue of Liberty as they come through Ellis Island. Their faces show us what’s in their hearts: fear and excitement mixed together. I know the feeling well. I too arrived in America through New York. Not Ellis Island but JFK. Not on a boat but on a plane. But the feeling is the same. I came with a one way ticket that was taking me to Seattle via New York. I knew nobody in the United States, I had two dollars in my pocket and I was so full of excitement and fear.  As I got off the plane and followed the line of people towards customs, a very big black woman was directing us. She kept saying very loud: “Welcome to United States! Welcome to United States!” I will never forget her. I was so very happy! I was 19 years old and a new stage in my life was starting. Yes, welcome to United States.