I remember hearing my parents speak about going to America. At the time I was 6 years old and I didn't know what it meant. I do remember us taking a trip to Moscow, to the U.S. Embassy. There we were supposed to have an interview with someone who would determine if we could come to America.
From what my Mom told us, we had a slim chance. We needed to have a relative in th U.S. who turned out to be my Mom's half sister. I remember the large room at the embassy with many families awaiting to be interviewed. There were many conversations regarding the rooms in front us. Each had a different interviewer and some were believed to be hard, and others easy. Finally our turn came and we were called into one of the rooms. It was a long shot and it seemed that the interview did not go well. Within a few days we left our relatives in Moscow and went home to Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine.
We were also considering going to Israel if we couldn't go to America, in fact most of our extended family had gone to Israel. It seemed like all the families in the neighborhood and the city were leaving. You had this anxiety of being the last ones left. With Ukraine separating from the Soviet Union everything had become unstable, people were all trying to get out.
Within half a year of the interview we received a letter informing us that we have received the visas to go to America. I still had no idea what this meant. In the last few weeks before our departure my dad sold all the furniture. It seemed weird to see the apartment emptying of all the things that I had grown up with. Before I knew it we were in a van going to the train station. There we would take a train to Moscow and eventually a plane to New York. However, it finally hit on the way to the train station that we wouldn't be coming back, that this was final. Both my sister and I began to cry.
When we landed in New York there was no one there to meet us. There was a woman who was gathering other families and taking them to a hotel, I was not sure which organization she belonged to. But luckily she agreed to take us along. For the first few weeks in New York we lived in a hotel on the Upper West side. My parents spend the days looking for an apartment in Brooklyn, while my sister and I would go with our Grandfather and wonder around the city. Since we were right next to Central Park, we spent most of our time there. Eventually my parents found an apartment in Brooklyn.