I wasn't sure if moving to United States would work out for me. Looking back, it feels obvious. It was the right decision that gave me a chance at a life I always wanted, that I never dared to dream having. But seven years ago it wasn't. On many levels I felt accomplished. I graduated with honors from the top law school in my country, I was starting up a foundation for disabled students in Warsaw and I was gaining recognition as a media writer for some of the top websites back home. And I guess I never told any of my friends the real reason why I jumped at the opportunity to go back to school in America. I haven't felt happy in years. I rememember working on my computer in my room one New Year's Eve just like any other night and I imagined how my live would look like twenty years down the line. And I saw myself sitting in front of that very computer, with very little to none social life, expressing myself and living it out through the internet. Because no matter how accomplished I'd become, how impressed people would be with my independence or my physical state, I still was a guy inn a wheelchair in a very wheelchair inaccessible reality. I felt stuck. Stuck in my life, stuck in my apartment. Some would say, I suffered a depression, a mid-life crisis in my mid 20's after graduation. I'd say it's just the opposite. The limitations put on me were not in my mind and they were real. If I wanted to go see a movie or go out, I had to order a para transit system 10 days in advance. The scholarship I won from Miller Canfield, a law firm in Warsaw had to be presented to me on the ground floor because the actual office was up the stairs. The place I picked to fulfill my practical training requirement had nothing to do with my interests in law but everything with lifts and ramps. Over time, you learn to accept that this is where you are and this is your life. I have the most amazing, giving and loving parents, but even when I was in elementatry and high school going to the theatre with my friends or going on a trip posed a problem. Can my parents carry me up the stairs and at what point would they not be able to do it anymore. And.... is it even fair for them to sacriface themselves for me. But, as we don't pick our lives maybe I should just cope. I wanted to go places, I wanted to meet people and see things, experience life. So, I jumped at this opportunity, just to try it. I wanted a place where I could be normal. Where I can go to the store and have a drink with friends. I decided to try this for a year. It worked out, but you never know, it could've easily gone the other way. I guess this is part of what kept me so driven through my problems with the LSAT accomodations, law school admissions and green card issues. This is my life now and I'm holding on to it and I'm never going back to who I used to be. And my chair isn't limiting me. It's enabling me, everyday.
Very interesting and inspiring story.ReplyDelete
Good Luck to you, keep up the good work.
From one Polish immigrant to another.
Your story was wonderful. thank you for sharing it I am happy you found a better life in America. Have you been able to find a partner? I sure hope so. You sound like a very nice man full of hopes and dreams. I hope your dreams keep coming true! Best wishes to you!ReplyDelete
Two generations away from family in Poland!