Immigrated from Poland
"I'm glad to be here now."
My piano teacher, Maggie and I sat down in my dining room and she began to tell her story. She has curly brown hair and thick rectangle glasses. She moved to from Poland to the U.S.A when she was fifteen years old. Her mom had one the green-card lottery after three years of applying for it. Maggie’s family sold everything they own to buy four plane tickets to come to Orange County, California.
Maggie was a good student in Poland but when Maggie moved to America, she didn’t know the language, so school was harder. She used a dictionary to write an essay to get into honors English. The teacher helped her learn English and introduced her to seniors to teach her English. The first book she read in America was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In the begging she would translate each word but that took 45 minutes per a page, so she just read the whole book even though she only understood about 10% of it.
Not only was the language different but the culture was too. Back in Poland her house had to be heated by coal and at 5 am each morning a milk man would come to deliver fresh milk. There weren’t any restaurants in the town she lived in, and her grandparents and cousins were just as much part of her daily life as her parents and siblings. “I didn’t even understand that racism was a thing that was still present. So in class when we were being taught about it I was convinced that my teacher was saying ‘rain season’.”