Smile Politely

Hello, C-U: Ania

“I am from Poland originally but I’ve been here in the states since the 1980’s. My family came here to escape the communism in Poland. To get here we crossed borders, illegally. One time we got caught crossing the Yugoslavian border. The wall was about this high [holds up hands to about 4 feet]. They kept us overnight and my father was in handcuffs. We had to go to trial too. Eventually, another officer let us go. He said to just go to another spot on the wall and cross one by one. I spent years here in the states and then went back to Poland for a visit. There was a school starting up and they needed someone to teach the children English. I was nervous but they encouraged me to do it. I found out then, that I loved teaching. I came back here to get my masters degree at Southern Illinois University and now I teach English as a second language to students at Parkland College. I love my job, I can really empathize with the immigrants. I don’t know what would have been of my life if my family had stayed in Poland. I can’t say if it would have been better… or worse.”

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