From the interview, I discovered that my family is an immigrant from Romania; whereby, my grandfather’s father, Petru Balkan, having come to the United States in 1904. Petru came to the United States to make money so that he could return to Romania and start a business that would ensure the prosperity of his family. He came from a peasant background and because of this, he wanted to start a business in the one of the cities so that he could escape the poverty that tied many Romanian peasants to the land. In the beginning of the twentieth century, Romania was still a backward country both economically and industrially with most of the population still living in rural areas and working the land to make a living. The fact that many Romanians lived in poverty in rural areas provided them with the incentive to leave their homes and either go to the cities or to travel overseas where they believed they could attain a better life. In most cases, such as that of Petru Balkan, going to countries such as the United States was a temporary move which was done to ensure that they raised enough money with which they could return home and get involved in businesses which would enable them to become members of the small middle class of Romania. Therefore, the move to the United States by Romanians of the early twentieth century, in most cases, was inspired by economic factors and for many of them, the move was only temporary.
The idea of coming to the United States was given to Petru by one of his cousins who had gone to the United States several years earlier and had managed to raise enough money to start his own business in Romania; a business which had achieved relative success. Therefore, at the age of twenty-two, Petru travelled to the United States with the intention of returning to Romania after five years at most. Petru came to America by ship and he had a rough time because, in addition to having never sailed before, he was very seasick