Profile Essay

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Shannon McKeon
English 102- Profile Paper (Revision)
March 2, 2011

A Hug From 5,006 Miles away, and across the Atlantic Ocean

Never judge a book by its cover. This saying has been the inspiration that lies behind getting to know Krystyna Ruzhytska. We all learn about people who come to America looking for a better lifestyle. We have all learned the stories of those who have traveled to a different place and sacrificed everything, in order to rebuild a new life. These stories are lacking of much emotional depth, until given the opportunity meet an individual who is currently in the working stages of building that American Life. Krystyna Ruzhytska has come to America all the way from Europe. The name of the town of where she is from is nearly impossible for Americans to pronounce correctly; Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The city of Dnepropetrovsk is approximately 5,006 miles away from the United States, directly across the entire Atlantic Ocean, and a two day train ride, followed by a day airplane ride, from Waukesha, Wisconsin where Krystyna currently has her own apartment and life. Krystyna Ruzhytska is nineteen years old, distanced from any form of family in a new country, paying for everything on her own, going to school, and working. Through it all, she has still been able to figure out how to light up any room she enters, stay on top of her bills, be the rock and an inspiration of her boyfriend Rollie Tappa, and live the ideal life of a successful American and Ukraine citizen. Consider the distance of Krystyna’s apartment in Waukesha, Wisconsin to her families’ neighborhood in Ukraine. Think of having to travel 5,006 many miles by plane, train, or ship, just to hug your mother and father. The opportunity of getting to know Krystyna Ruzhytska, has given the words ‘independence’ and ‘strength’ deeper meaning within my own life. What nineteen-year-old Krystyna Ruzhytska does not realize, is the impact her individual strength has on those around her. Krystyna was in first grade when her mother decided that the two of them were going to move to America. Things among her families were rocky with Krystyna’s father at the time, so her mother made the decision the two of them were going to try and make it together in America. Traveling the thirteen-hour flight, with a stop in Poland, and an overnight train ride from the airport to her city, was the most life changing experience Krystyna talked about. Being only seven years old, and having to learn to accept the way of life and beliefs of people in America was the biggest hill to climb. The journey Krystyna and her mother made to get over the obstacles placed in front of them, turned out to have the biggest impact on shaping the person Krystyna is now, and how far she has come. Krystyna and her mother came to the United States not understanding, or speaking any English. After the long and confusing two days of traveling by car, ship, plane, and train, Krystyna Ruzhytska and her mother arrived at the Chicago International Airport in O’Hare, Illinois. Krystyna’s mom drove the two of them to Brookfield, Wisconsin where they met up with a close family friend, whom Krystyna refers to as her stepbrother, and stepfather. She described how getting use to the way of life in America, and especially the language, was challenging. The reality that Krystyna was so young made stable progress in America lifestyle even harder on the two of them, and Krystyna’s mother considered going back home to Ukraine within a week of arriving in America. Her mother decided it would be best to enroll her daughter in school, and here Krystyna would hopefully start to pick up on the norms of the lifestyle, and English language. Krystyna and her mom learned the English language from attending the first grade class together, and picking up what little they could from what the teacher said in class. Krystyna made a clear indication that her first grade class was not specifically teaching the English...
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