When I shut my eyes I am back on the freighter making its way over the Atlantic to a new home, new country, a foreign place. Too young to know what I’ll miss in the old country, too alien to be accepted in the new, too language-limited to converse, and too naïve to care. When I open my eyes the present shakes me awake, slaps me into consciousness, shoves me out the door to grapple with the now. Too old to make new waves, too fearful of our future, too passionate about freedom, wise enough to see the land I’m in becoming the lands I left. When I shut my eyes again I’m still on my voyage; I haven’t yet reached the shore.
Evie Groch is from near Poland and several of the Stans. She grew up speaking a mixture of Yiddish, Polish, and Russian. Learning languages has brought joy into her life, and she went on to learn a few more. In her travels, she finds a new reality for each language she speaks and connects with so many people she would never have met.