From Rio to Columbus
I live on the western edge of Columbus, Ohio and I am a very new resident to the United States of America and the city of Columbus. I came to Columbus from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when I got married to my American husband. I am just beginning to learn about my community, and about life in the United States. From what I have seen so far, I am very lucky to be here. Ohio is a wonderful place with friendly people and an interesting history. The United States is a great place to live. It is much better than I expected it to be before I moved here.
I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. It is always boiling hot there. Here in Ohio, it is hot in the summer, and in winter, we have snow! I will never forget the first time I saw and felt snow; it seemed like a strange sort of miracle to me. In the fall, all the leaves change colors here. That was also completely new to me! I had never seen trees turn all red and yellow. I had to stop myself from crying because it was so beautiful. This is the first time in my life that I have really felt the changing of the seasons.
Columbus was founded in 1812, and has been Ohio’s state capital since 1816. Back then, this area was not the middle of a big, modern country. Columbus was practically the Wild West. Indian tribes fought the white settlers in the late 1700’s. After the Indians were beaten in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, people from further East began building towns in what is now Ohio. Ohio became a state in 1803, and at first its capital was Chillicothe, then Zanesville, and then Chillicothe again. The politicians decided that a new capital somewhere in the middle of the state was needed, and finally they picked a forested area called Wolf’s Ridge instead of any of the existing towns and villages. The new capital was named after Christopher Columbus. There is a replica of Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, by the river in Columbus; when I arrived here from Brazil I had my first American picture taken there.
Life wasn’t easy in the early days of Ohio. Floods and outbreaks of disease happened frequently, including a cholera epidemic in 1833. In 1840, the population of Columbus was still only six thousand people, but ten years later three times as many people lived here. Since then, the population has kept growing, and now Columbus has more than 730,000 residents. Columbus has a policy of making its suburbs part of the city rather than leaving them as independent towns, which has helped it to grow rapidly.
The National Road from Maryland reached Columbus in 1830, and the Columbus and Xenia Railroad reached the town in 1850. By 1875, eight different railroads came into Columbus. Now that the town was easier to reach, immigrants began setting up new neighborhoods: the Irish came to what is now Nationwide Boulevard, and the Germans came to the southern part of town. The Germans built lots of beer breweries, and set up the first kindergarten in the United States.
In the Civil War, Columbus hosted Camp Chase, a major base for the Union army. 26,000 Union solders were stationed there, and thousands of Confederate prisoners of war as well. The museum of the Ohio Historical Society has soldier’s uniforms from the Civil War, along with old machines and exhibits that show how people lived in the past. Until I went to the museum, I hadn’t known that women were in the Civil war as well – most of them serving as nurses.
In the late 1800’s, Columbus became an industrial city, with buggy manufacturers, steel plants, and large breweries. Some of the country’s largest labor unions started in Columbus – the American Federation of Labor (now part of the AFL-CIO) and the United Mine Workers of America were founded in Columbus. The city kept growing through the 1900’s, and it is now Ohio’s largest city and the fifteenth largest in the United States.
I spoke with my friend Michael Schneider about his life and family here in Columbus. When Michael Schneider was 18 years old, he joined the National Guard to help protect his country. One of the things I like about Ohio is that people here are proud of serving, and of keeping our country safe. I say “our country” because now I feel I am part of America too. He says he is proud to live here, because Columbus is very calm and peaceful. He likes fishing on Candle Lake in Mount Gilead – one of the nicest places I’ve ever seen. The lake and the area around it are kept clean by security guards, who, along with the Franklin County police, make our lives safer and quieter. Michael’s parents are Mr. Terry Schneider and Ms. Pam Schneider. Terry Schneider is a retired fire fighter, who bravely served the community and has great stories to tell everyone who comes to his house for a nice cup of tea. Pam Schneider is a lovely housewife who spends a lot of her time doing volunteer work in our community, such as feeding people in need. She does this not only around Christmas, but whenever she can. Michael also volunteers, at Doctors’ Hospital, one of the best in the area along with Mount Carmel, which has a School of Nursing as well. He also likes to visit local churches. Michael took me to the Ohio Historical Society museum, and also to the Columbus Zoo.
During the college football season, every time the Ohio State University team plays, the whole state stops and everybody watches the game. Ohio State was Number 2 this season; their basketball and baseball teams are also pretty good. OSU’s biggest rival is Michigan and this year the team was able to make it to the National Championship, where we played the Florida Gators. The baseball team here is the Columbus Clippers, and a big part of Columbus culture is the Buckeyes. The teams here are another source of pride for the residents of Columbus.
I am very proud to be living in Columbus. I love the people who live here. They are always willing to welcome a new arrival like me and are always friendly and happy to help. I am also very happy to be studying at Columbus State College, one of the nicest community colleges around. Since I have not been here very long and English is not my first language, I still do not feel that I am a real part of my community. I am looking forward to learning more about my new community, and becoming more of a real Columbusite. In the meantime, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!
What do you like best about your essay? What are its strengths? Explain.
I like that my essay talks about my experiences since I moved to Columbus. I think that it shows the way I feel about living here and my excitement about being a new American citizen. I also think that it gives a good history of the area. I think its strength is that it captures the way I feel about Columbus.
What do you like least about your essay? What do you think needs to be improved? Explain.
I wish that my first language was English because sometimes I cannot come up with as big of a vocabulary as I would like. I wish I could write well in English but I am improving. I think the more I learn the language and the more writing I do, the better I will get.
What do you want your essay to communicate to anyone who reads it? What do you want your reader to learn? What do you want your reader to remember about your essay? In other words, what point are you trying to make in your essay? Explain.
In my essay I want to communicate how great it is to live in Columbus, Ohio and what my experiences have been coming from Brazil to here. It has been an adventure and I want them to learn that. I want my reader to remember about my essay that my time in Columbus has been wonderful and that I am happy to be an American.
Overall, what have you learned through the process of writing this essay (about you, about the story, about interpretation, about writing, etc.)? Explain.
I have learned that sometimes it is difficult to put your own experiences down on paper but that it’s worthwhile in the end. I enjoyed researching the history of Columbus and talking to my friend about his life growing up in Columbus. I think the most difficult for me has been learning how to do MLA format and how to decide what is a paragraph and when to make a new paragraph. Overall, it’s been a great experience writing this essay.