Help Liliana's book speak English

People have dreams. Maybe animals do too. But books? Sounds crazy, but some book lovers’ claim that books have hearts and even souls. So, can they dream too? Abso-freaking-lutely! The book I have brought to life in my mother tongue, is dreaming.

“I dream to have an English sister”.

Before I dreamed to have it published and the dream came true.
I named her “Czy było warto? Odyseja dżinsowych Kolumbów” ”Was it worth it? The Odyssey of blue-jeaned -Columbus”.

The book came out in Poland five years ago. Soon after, it came on a journey with me.

It told my story to Polish readers and radio/TV listeners in many places around the world: Warsaw, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Chicago, New York, Dublin Ireland, London GB, Cape-town RPA, Sydney Australia and others. It was priceless for me to learn as an author that many emigrants like me identified with my story as their own.  From near and far I was asked if I have considered translating my novel to share with English readers. Many people at my book-signings in Canada and the US have encouraged me because there is interest in the history of contemporary emigrants, especially in today’s political climate. Awesome!  I always replied that this is my wish, but to do it right isn’t so simple. Unfortunately, my Polish book publisher does not have the capability to operate in English language markets. However it is critical for the conversion from Polish to be done by a professional translator whose native tongue is English.

So I took it upon myself to look into possibilities of arranging the translation here, soliciting a few estimates. It turns out that the costs of translation and publishing in North America are way beyond my financial means.

So my daughter suggested GoFundMe.

And I’m asking for your help! Please donate and help my book’s dream come true. When the translation is finalized the goal is to print at least 600 copies of the English book. Anybody who donates $30 or more will receive a signed copy of the book. But I’ll be grateful for any donation, big or small and I thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

Now we are both dreaming.
Liliana and her book

When you decide to move from continent-to-continent then you might find yourself walking upside down. You end up in a place where The North Star is not up there anymore. You have to find another all over again – a new sense of direction and belonging. Otherwise you are lost!
Years ago, as a young, lucky Eastern European I went to Peru to see my folks working there on contract. In Lima at the Polish Embassy garden party I made a close friend. She was Argentinian but like me of Polish parents and spoke Polish well. For two unforgettable months I had a great girlfriend companion. A few days before my return we were talking in a trendy café about our unpredictable future, when she snapped at me saying: “Why don’t you emigrate?”

“Here - to Peru?” I asked baffled.
“No, to Canada” she replied.
“Why to Canada?” I asked, still surprised.
“Because I lived there for four years and they were the best four years of my life!  
I think that Canada is the ideal country to emigrate to.”
“Maybe it is, but I don’t know English,” I replied unbelievingly.
“Don’t worry, you will be fine. Just use your enthusiasm, be open to people and work hard. Language will come.”

 We continued the subject for a while and she tried to instil this idea into my mind.  
I was listening with interest but my thoughts were already back in Poland with my husband and my little daughter. I missed them dearly.

We didn’t have much but where in the world you feel at home if not in your motherland? It is my country, family, friends, people, language, education, history, traditions and culture – the sense of belonging for better or worst   I thought.

I returned home before Christmas. Loaded with presents, new experiences, excitement and optimism that the situation in Poland with SOLIDARNOSC will change things for the better. Young people especially believed in this movement – we wanted to have bright future.

As usual spring arrived to awake and rejuvenate nature but our peoples’ moods did not go with it. Hopes were dwindling away as the economical situation worsened. With it, basic goods were disappearing from store shelves and instead we were getting more coupons and rationing.
Gossip was going around about friends of friends who did not come back from foreign trips. For the first time we heard about refugee camps in Austria.

To defect, leave it all behind. To become an enemy without a chance to come back - it felt like treason. The thought of it sent a chill down my spine.
My undeterred faith in a sensible future was tested day after day. But with hope in your mind you can endure a lot. That is what I thought until one April day, when out of the blue I snapped over a stick of butter. Imagine. An ordinary stick of butter became the trigger to challenge my allegiance and my patriotism.

Enough of this limbo! I didn’t want to wait for my maybe-better-life any longer! I wanted out! The café chat from Lima blazed in my brain. The consequences no longer mattered. I decided to leave my country.

It took us several stressful, uncertain months to prepare and set up our journey to the unknown world. The first stop was Paris in France…
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Liliana Arkuszewski 
Nepean, ON
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