Professor SchletterComposition 101
7 July 2018
It was the beginning of Summer 2014 in Lviv, Ukraine. I got a call from my dad while I was on my way home from a dance studio rehearsal. For over 10 years my dad had been living in Connecticut, USA. Approximately six years earlier, my older brother moved to live with him. My dad usually never called me on my phone, so my first thought was that something bad had happened. I immediately picked up and he told me that I needed to fly to the USA to complete some paperwork to receive my Green Card. I have not seen my dad many years and I did not had the close connection with him like I imagined in my perfect world fathers and daughters should have. It was not the first time that I had to go visit my dad in America, however this time I had to stay there for more than just a week. My mom and I were close and, in my mind,, there was no way that I would leave her in Ukraine by herself for more than a few weeks. However, we both realized that the time it would take me to go to the USA and back would go by very quickly.
July 2018. It was 6:00 a.m. and my airplane was leaving in three hours. The taxi driver helped drag my suitcase down the stairs and put it in the trunk of his silver Subaru. My mom joined me in the taxi to the airport. I spent the last hour with my mom in a taxi cab. If I had only known that a month would turn into years, I would appreciate that one hour left much more.
Every time I would come home from school or either practice, my mom would always make me comfortable. I remember how one very cold and nasty night I was coming back home, and I freeze myself out by waiting for a bus to come. Once I came home, my mom made a bath for me, got out the warmest cloth from the closet that I had and after I got out of the bath the tastiest smell hit me. She made my favorite food. In addition, she helped me to prepare for my upcoming test. I knew that she gets really tired at her work, however she still always finds time for me.
My flight landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. It always feels good in here. I saw my dad. The first thought on my mind was that he changed a lot after the last time I saw him. As soon as I saw my dad we headed to his house which was three hours away. Throughout the road we were most of the time quiet. The music was filling these minutes of silence. I slowly was falling asleep to a song “Firework” by Boyce Avenue that played on a radio.
Driving with my dad to do a grocery shopping, he suddenly offered me to stay. “What do you mean?” I asked him. He goes on and asking me if I want to stay living with him. I could not say no to him and neither I could say yes to him. He promised me that eventually my mom would move over here. My parents were divorced by the time; however, they called each other couple times a day. Deeply inside I hoped one day I will finally see the perfect image of my family being together and happy with future. I hoped that they will get together. By me staying here would made them become more connected to each other. With that hope on my mind I made a decision to stay.
It’s was the end of Summer 2014, 6:00 a.m., and I was in bed. It was time to get ready for the first day at a new school in a foreign country. After locking the front door of the house, I headed to the bus stop where the school bus would pick me up. Not knowing what to expect from the day, I dialed my mom’s phone number. In Ukraine, where she lives, it was 12 a.m. She might have been sleeping already, but I needed to hear her voice. “No matter what happens, just stay true to yourself and don’t forget where you come from. I love you,” my mom said to me as I was stepping off the bus. I was a sophomore.
Fear started taking over. I walked into New Britain High School. I then stood still for a minute, trying to figure out what to do. Kids were making loud noises while running to their first classes. The hallways became empty and quiet very quick. In the middle of the empty hallway I tried to use my phone to translate what I wanted to ask someone at the main office. I needed help finding my first class. “Put the phone away,” said some random lady that showed up out of nowhere. I was lost and did not know what to do. I missed my first class because I could not find it. Finally, I got to my second class, which was English. I sat down where there was a free desk. The bell rang, and the teacher stepped into the classroom. The kids didn’t pay any attention. They kept talking to each other, laughing and acting a bit aweless. I did not know any English and by the end of the day my head was full of the information. The last period was a math class and I met her. Ukrainian girl, she made my day. It was such a relief to have someone from your homeland. My math teacher knew that I do not know any English and she asked a class to raise the hand if someone if from Ukraine.
It had been already two months. Me and my new friend had the same school bus. We as usually sat down opposite each other, laying legs on the back of the seat. I asked lots of questions about our school. She moved a year ago, so she know much more than I did at the time.
“New Britain HS” she goes on “served 2,460 students in grades nine to twelve”.
“That is very impressive” I replied.
We started to compare Ukraine schools and education system verses high schools in America. In Ukraine the average of students is approximately 200 students in one school. However, in our NBHS lot of different races represented, and Spanish language spoken in NB High School. As the result, students of the same cultures group together and was fighting between the cultures was a common occurrence.
The last month of first year at school. School bus pulled over on our bus stop. We sat down. A friend of mine and I was talking in Ukrainian about the how was our first year at school and future plans. Suddenly, a girl that was sitting behind us tried to start a fight with us by provoking language she used, only because she did not like that we were communicating in Ukrainian. She was very disrespectful toward us. She started yelling. It became quit in the bus, she turned to her friend, said something in Spanish, then she stepped forward and aggressively hit my friend. Not thinking a minute, I jumped up and tried protecting my friend as I could. On the threshold of school guards were already waiting for us. We were taken to the dean office and writing an explanation about the accident that just happened. The girl was suspended for two weeks. We were suspended for the rest of that day, they did not let us go to any of our classes, even though it was not our fault. Our parents picked us up. My dad was not so supportive when I told him everything that had happened. My mom called me once I got home, I did not tell her anything, to not make her worry.
(I feel like at some point my story losing the main idea and I do not know where I am going. Also, my language is pretty weak, I would like to make it stronger. I wanted to be focus on the whole experience of taking a life changing decision, about the school that was not the best one. I did not include about how students were selling drugs during the classes, that students did not know the meaning of respect. I also did not know how to bring up the idea that I graduated early half of the year. And how ending up the story with seeing my mom after 2.5 years will make sense.)
Thank you for taking a time to read this. This experience made me see the world from different perspectives and it opened many doors for me. Back to my home country, Ukraine, thinking about it now brings me sadness.
January 2016. After 2.5 years passing by. The main gates between passport control and waiting terminal opened. I see my mom. I finally see my mom after a long time. Something draped in my chest and at the same time I had such a relief. The feeling of being home again after so long is unexplainable. Once we get home, I can see every very detail is changed in the house. My mom had prepared well for my arriving, she made my favorite Ukrainian food. This time I felt safe and complete like never before.