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An Ocean Between 100% American - 100% Ukrainian

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My family immigrated to the United States and now, 70 years later, I am giving our story to you. This is the story of growing up with two parents and a sister who have immigrated from Ukraine, whose language barrier and lack of education is overcome by the tenacity of desire to succeed in America. It delves into Ukraine, along with its traditions, its beauty, its bounty an My family immigrated to the United States and now, 70 years later, I am giving our story to you. This is the story of growing up with two parents and a sister who have immigrated from Ukraine, whose language barrier and lack of education is overcome by the tenacity of desire to succeed in America. It delves into Ukraine, along with its traditions, its beauty, its bounty and finally a turn in its history that sends the Chopek family, my family to the mystery of America. My parents and sister, upon arriving in Boston, can only afford to live in a slum area teeming with other recent immigrants. My mother sees one solution to the language barrier while she watches a woman dramatically imitating a chicken laying an egg in order to buy some eggs from a store keeper. The intense loneliness in this new environment is overcome at their Ukrainian church, where they can speak to their fellow Ukrainians, follow their beloved customs, take part in their familiar songs and dances in the church basement as well as sing the Sacred Service in the church upstairs. The Depression is long and exhausting and made no easier for my mother by my birth a few years before it struck. How to care for me along with her need to work over ten hours a day to sustain the family is a constant problem. My sister, fourteen years older than me, works as a secretary by day, and goes to law school by night. She achieves the highest score on the bar exam against students from prestigious colleges like Harvard, but is denied jobs in Boston law firms because she is a woman. My father, unable to find work, finds his joy at the church: directing plays, organizing dance and choral concerts at which he inserts lectures on Ukrainian poets and recitations with exaggerated gestures of their poetry by young children like me. I find that being a child of immigrants brings physical bullying by neighborhood kids, as well as verbal bullying from teachers ignorant that a placed called Ukraine exists. Explaining that I was not in school on Jan. 6, because it was Ukrainian Christmas causes my teacher to call me a liar. The book ends when I am in sixth grade. The financial stresses for my parents ease, because my father becomes a janitor in a prestigious day school. My mother is hired there as a cook a short while later. They begin to feel American. I went on to attend Northeastern University, studying physics and math. My new (Ukrainian-American) husband and I entered Yale Graduate school soon after we were married. Upon completing his PhD we came to Los Alamos, NM.in 1948 where he worked at the National Laboratory in physics. We had six children. In 2011 I was honored as a Living Treasure of Los Alamos.


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My family immigrated to the United States and now, 70 years later, I am giving our story to you. This is the story of growing up with two parents and a sister who have immigrated from Ukraine, whose language barrier and lack of education is overcome by the tenacity of desire to succeed in America. It delves into Ukraine, along with its traditions, its beauty, its bounty an My family immigrated to the United States and now, 70 years later, I am giving our story to you. This is the story of growing up with two parents and a sister who have immigrated from Ukraine, whose language barrier and lack of education is overcome by the tenacity of desire to succeed in America. It delves into Ukraine, along with its traditions, its beauty, its bounty and finally a turn in its history that sends the Chopek family, my family to the mystery of America. My parents and sister, upon arriving in Boston, can only afford to live in a slum area teeming with other recent immigrants. My mother sees one solution to the language barrier while she watches a woman dramatically imitating a chicken laying an egg in order to buy some eggs from a store keeper. The intense loneliness in this new environment is overcome at their Ukrainian church, where they can speak to their fellow Ukrainians, follow their beloved customs, take part in their familiar songs and dances in the church basement as well as sing the Sacred Service in the church upstairs. The Depression is long and exhausting and made no easier for my mother by my birth a few years before it struck. How to care for me along with her need to work over ten hours a day to sustain the family is a constant problem. My sister, fourteen years older than me, works as a secretary by day, and goes to law school by night. She achieves the highest score on the bar exam against students from prestigious colleges like Harvard, but is denied jobs in Boston law firms because she is a woman. My father, unable to find work, finds his joy at the church: directing plays, organizing dance and choral concerts at which he inserts lectures on Ukrainian poets and recitations with exaggerated gestures of their poetry by young children like me. I find that being a child of immigrants brings physical bullying by neighborhood kids, as well as verbal bullying from teachers ignorant that a placed called Ukraine exists. Explaining that I was not in school on Jan. 6, because it was Ukrainian Christmas causes my teacher to call me a liar. The book ends when I am in sixth grade. The financial stresses for my parents ease, because my father becomes a janitor in a prestigious day school. My mother is hired there as a cook a short while later. They begin to feel American. I went on to attend Northeastern University, studying physics and math. My new (Ukrainian-American) husband and I entered Yale Graduate school soon after we were married. Upon completing his PhD we came to Los Alamos, NM.in 1948 where he worked at the National Laboratory in physics. We had six children. In 2011 I was honored as a Living Treasure of Los Alamos.

4 review for An Ocean Between 100% American - 100% Ukrainian

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarahjvs

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave Frey

  3. 4 out of 5

    E.E. Giorgi

  4. 4 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

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