28 years ago, to the day, I arrived in the United States. Back then going anywhere from Eastern Europe was a major crossing. Coming to America was arriving at the best place on the planet.

To this day I remember minute by minute of my first American hour. It consisted mostly of the (surreal to me) drive from JFK to a friendly home in New Jersey.

The dreamy sequence of moving, slow motion (that's the free airline booze effect) images of night lights, amazing highway announcements, strange road signs, suburban homes (too clean, pretty and large to be real) is my first American memory.

During the drive a question uttered by my host (a wise, European escapee) turned out to be prophetic.

John turned from the front seat (Mary, his wife was driving), locked his eyes on me and asked - “So Pawel, did you come here to stay for good?” The question shocked me. I never allowed myself to voice such a thought. He did it for me. I mumbled some insignificant, stupid answer. However, at this moment something had pierced through and we both realized the truth.

John and Mary, I bow to you in my eternal gratitude. For your compassion, understanding and help. You will remain forever in the top of my Book of Life. Wherever you are, God bless you both!

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