It was on my last day in the United States and I was in New Jersey staying with a family from our hometown. I was happily talking, after having just arrived from Tampa an hour before, when my uncle said we need to get moving to catch the last trip. OK, what trip is this? We are not going home to Siquijor and we need not catch the last trip to get to the island.
A few minutes later we were at the Liberty Park. I was not expecting to be to able to get a glimpse of Lady Liberty at this visit. I was invited by another couple to visit the probably most-famous statue in the world, and the epitome of the United States, but I had to pass because of time constraints. So, I was really thankful to my adoptive New Jersey family.
We were able to buy tickets for the last trip to Staten Island. You have to allot almost a day for a trip to the Statue of Liberty because boat trips are scheduled, meaning you can’t immediately get out of an island (say Ellis Island) if there is no boat. Our first stop was Ellis Island. And it was 4:30 when we got there. We were given only eight minutes (00:08) to tour the island because we are the last boat bringing passengers out of Ellis. Eight minutes is not enough to tour Ellis Island. It’s a very significant museum that attempts to showcase the history of migration in the United States, and we all know how colorful (and oftentimes troubling) that history is. According to my host family, on display inside are notable immigrants, including Cristeta Pasia Comerford, the first female to have become White House executive chef. We did not go out of the boat. I instead took photos of the outside of the huge immigration building.
The boat then proceeded to Staten Island. We grabbed a late lunch (mine was panini and it was filling and delicious) and ate outside. We were talking about how there were several Filipino employees at the cafeteria section and how (surprisingly) delicious our food was. I think we enjoyed our late lunch so much we lost track of time until somebody shouted “Closing!.” Oh-oh. We hurriedly tried to go around the island to get a front view of Lady Liberty but sadly the best view I had of Lady Liberty was just from the boat.
I think a trip to the Statue of Liberty is cliche, and very touristy, but I’m happy I did it. It reminded me of that one afternoon in college when we were discussing the French Revolution and the beginning of democracy as the popular form of government. That was a crappy afternoon with the teacher judging me for my “pretty face.” Talk about democracy. But anyway, that’s for another story. The Lady Liberty is, for me, the epitome of the United States of America — to me, the land of true democracy where many people come to seek freedom (freedom from oppression, freedom from poverty, freedom from social constraints) — and I was happy to catch the last trip to see this lady on my last day in this great country.