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A Different World


Nie ma tego złego co by na dobre nie wyszlo
Bad things often turn out to be good for you.

That is what I was told right before I got onto the plane to Chicago for school. Things were turning bad back home, but with these bad things that meant I was gonna be able to go to school in America, Chicago to be exact. I said good bye to Poland, and it was time to try out American school.

When I first got to American it was already in the middle of the semester at DePaul. My roommate seemed pretty nice, and she was dating some hockey player. I knew a few things about hockey, but not in America. However, that was the least of my worries.

“Hi I’m Katey Butler.” Katey said opening the door to our dorm.

“Hi.” I said quietly. “I Elisabeth Niemczak.” I held out my hand and she shook it.

“Where are you from?” Katey asked me taking one of my suitcases.

“I from town out hour from Krakow. Know you is Krakow?” I asked her.

“Huh?” She said.

“I do not say right. I think...” I said confusing myself.

“Yeah you butchered that one.” She laughing. “I know where Krakow is though. You live an hour away from there?” She said.

“Tak! Mean yes.” I said correcting myself. There was a knock on the door and Katey went to go get it. She opened it up and it was a girl. She was very pretty, but looked like one of those girls on MTV I’ve seen maybe twice in my whole life. We didn’t really watch a lot of TV in my town...

“Oh my god she is some third world girl!” The girl said barging in.

“Third World? I from Poland.” I said confused. “We part Europe.”

“Oh my god your English is so cute!” The girl said.

“Who you?” I asked her. I didn’t like her. She was too overwhelming.

“I’m Rebecca O’Neil the RA! You dress so adorable you look like you are stuck in 1970 Soviet Poland! You are by the most adorable thing in the world. I bet you are from the highlands of Poland.” She was taking so fast it was hard for me to decipher. However, the things she was saying was rude and uncalled for.

“Nie! I from not Highlands. I no idiot! Soviet Poland no good place. I from town small! We dress all like this!” I getting kind of mean.

“Whoa calm down there Pollack.” Rebecca said. My mouth dropped.

“Głupi Irlandii kurwa!” I said. “Nie masz poczucia kultury. Głupi irlandzko-amerykańska świń!”
(You Irish whore! You have no sense of culture. Stupid Irish- American swine!)

“Rebecca leave!” Katey said pushing her out the door.

The whole day went getting my stuff ready and what have you. Then when it was night time Katey was getting ready to go somewhere.

“Where you go homework no?” I asked her looking at my laptop bored out of my mind.

“I’m going to my boyfriend’s hockey game. You want to come with after we are going out to party.” She said.

“American party?” I said thinking of the few American films I’ve seen. They were crazy.

“Yeah, we usually go to the bar and drink a few. Then we go back home.” Katey smiled putting her blush on.

“Oh okay that work. I go with you. I wear what?” I asked her looking at my clothes.

“You own any jeans?”

“Nie girls wear no jeans.” I said.


“Home girl wear no jeans. Mamo only let you wear dresses.” I said remembering how my mother never let me wear jeans or anything that wasn’t dresses.

“Well wear a simple dress then. We are totally taking you shopping.” Katey said smiling.

“I no like jeans that hang too low. It look bad.” I said.

“We can get you skinny jeans! You are thin enough for them!”

“Okay?” I said confused. I went to go change and then when I was done it was time to go. We got into a cab, and we were off to some kind of arena.

I wouldn’t lie when I said my first hockey game was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never really seen a lot of things though... So who knows if this was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

I was from a town of 800 people. We knew everyone and everything was excessively old school. All the women stayed at home and the men went to work. It was nice and simple. I liked it that way.

“Come on Elisabeth!” Katey said jerking me from our seat after it was over. The Chicago team won so everyone was kind of happy. They were playing the Red Wings or some kind of wings. I wasn’t sure.

“Where we go?”

“To go meet up with the team.” Katey said knowing the corridors of the large arena. We waited twenty minutes later with other girls and they were talking so fast I didn’t understand much of what they were saying. I was just quiet.

“I’m Elin.” A girl said. She looked Swedish.

“I Elisabeth.” I said.

“Are you new here?” She asked me slowly.

“Tak, I mean yes. I from Poland. I Katey’s roommate. I got just here.” I said. “You from Sweden?”

“Oh my gosh you are adorable! Your English is so cute. I’m from Sweden. You from a small town? You look like you are from one.”

“I from small town out hour Krakow. Everything overwhelming here.” I said explaining things.

“I feel you on that one. Back in Sweden we are from a small town. Chicago is so big. You’ll like it though. You ever need help, I’ll help you okay? Us Europeans have to stick together.” She smiled.

“Tack.” I said in Swedish and smiled.

“Varsågod!” She grinned. “Here is my number. Next time you are free I’ll get you on your feet here. My treat.” She said writing down her number on a piece of paper and she gave it to me.


“I have to go now. It was nice to see meet you.” She was saying as she walked to some very tall blonde guy. I guess that is her boyfriend.

“Elisabeth come meet my boyfriend.” Katey said taking my hand and putting me face to face with this tall guy that was very attractive. “Patrick this is Elisabeth. She is from Poland. She is my new roommate I was telling you I was gonna get.”

“Hi nice to meet you.” Patrick said shaking my hand.

“Hi nice to meet you.” I said just copying what he said.

“Are you coming with us to the bar?” Patrick asked me.

“Tak.. I mean yes. I go with to bar.” I smiled.

“Okay well we are meeting up at some bar up in Wrigleyville in like few hours so we’ll see you there.” Patrick said leading Katey away really quick.

“Wait I not know where I go that!” I said trying to catch up with them.

Fuck my life.

“Crap.” I said out loud thinking.

“Do you need help?” someone asked me. I turned around and saw a guy that was very handsome. He had dark eyes and dark hair. He was on the team. I remember them saying he was the captain of the team.

“Katey and Patrick leave out me. I know not go. Some bar later or something.” I said to him.

“They just left you?” He asked me.

“Yeah... I know not how to get home or anything.” I was starting to feel overwhelmed my first day here and all the English was making my head hurt. I wanted to speak Polish, but no one understood it. He must have sensed something, because I came over to me right away.

“Calm down okay. I can get you home if you want to go home.” he said.

“I suppose to go to bar with Katey later. She just left and it annoying.” I said just unloading on the stranger.

“We’ll I’m going out with them tonight. You can just with me, okay? You don’t have to stress out.” the captain said.

“That work. Thank you.” I said trying to hold back the burning sensation in my eyes. I didn’t like Chicago at all.

“Okay come on. We’ll go to my condo for a bit then we’ll meet up with them. That is usually how it works.” He said as we started to walk out of the place. “I’m Jonathan Toews.” he said introducing himself.

“I’m Elisabeth Niemczak.” We did a quick handshake as we walked to a huge car. “You drive that?” I said as he pressed a button on his keys.

“Yeah?” He asked confused.

“It so big!” I said climbing into the passenger seat of the car. He just laughed and I started the car.

“So where are you from?” He asked me.

“I from Poland. I live hour from Krakow.” I said.

“Well you picked a good city, Chicago is full of Polish people.” Jonathan said smiling.

“I know that why family pick here me to go school here.” Jon started to drive and make idle chat with me he was very sweet.

“My English hard to understand?” I asked him.

“Well sorta. I get what you are saying, but you butcher what you are trying to say. We understand you. It is just not the right way to say it.” He said being truthful.

“Thank you for not say ‘Your English is so cute’ it so annoying.” I said in a mocking voice.

“Everyone is going to say that. Foreigners, people tend to awe over. Especially when they are as oblivious as you.” Jon said to me.

“I not oblivious!” I said kind of defensively.

“I’m not saying that is a bad thing. It is just like you came off the plane from another world. You don’t dress like us and your English is choppy. It isn’t a bad thing. My mom came to Winnipeg when she was younger and didn’t speak a word of English. She now speaks perfect English. You’ll learn better English and be less oblivious soon enough.” Jon said to me. He seemed to be the only hopeful one about me being here so far. He spoke so slow for me too and he wasn’t loud. Everyone thought yelling would make me understand them better, but it never helped it just makes them seem hostile.

We were at a stop light and he just looked at me. “You ever need anything just ask me, okay? I have a feeling Katey is gonna get frustrated with you.”

“Lot peoples get frustrated with me...” I said to him.

“They just need to understand better.” Jon said.

“It rough first day.”

“You’ve only been here a day?!” Jon said shocked.

“Yeah I go class tomorrow afternoon 14:00 to 15:00” I said smiling.

“That was kind of a dick move to leave you alone your first day here.” Jon said starting to drive again.

“I know but I okay. I think they went go sex.” Jonathan just started to die of laugher. “WHAT SO FUNNY! THAT NO JOKE!” I was getting angry.

“No it just you said it the wrong way so it sounded funny! I think they went to go have sex. That is what you say.” Jonathan said through his fits of laughter.

“OH!” I said laughing. “Sorry.” We had or spout of laughter and then we arrived at his condo. It was right by the river and it was very pretty. I followed him up to his condo, and it was just very quiet.

“You can sit down and watch TV until I get dressed. Then we can go out to eat then go to the bar I’m starving.” Jon said setting down his keys.

“I make food! I good at it. What you want?” I said.

“What no! We’ll go out to eat you need to see Chicago more. Besides I don’t think you need to make any food.”

“I good cook. It what I learn do. I no go gymnasium!” I said to him.

“You can make me some food later. As of right now we’ll go to some small place.” He said going into his room real quick to change. I just paced around the in the living room and enjoyed of this huge city.

“Ready?” Jonathan said. I jumped a little. I turned back to look at him and he was wearing a black button up and jeans. He looked really nice... Except he got all the buttons messed up. Silly boys.

“Wait.” I said walking up to him closely. I stated to undo his buttons and I felt him jump.

“What are you doing?” he said still standing there as I do unbuttoned his shirt.

“Buttons all wrong. You mess up.” I said fixing his shirt. I couldn’t help but enjoy the lower I got either. Any girl from Poland or USA couldn’t help but like guys that were fit. When I was done I stood back up and smiled at him.

“All good now?” he said.

“All good.” I said smiling. We took a cab to a restaurant and Jonathan was very polite. When we sat down we started to talk.

“You said earlier you didn’t go to gymnasium. What does that mean?” Jonathan said. “You didn’t go to the gym?”

“No gymnasium high school for smart people. I go no there. I school home with my mother. I never go to school.” I said.

“You were home schooled and they let you in American college?”

“Yeah. It not hard. I try my best on test I get good goal. I go to American school.” I smiled.

“So did you live in a little town?” Jonathan asked me.

“Tak. Chełm only 800 people. We small town.” I smiled. “I never left Chełm for that long. I do not like Krakow. Very big.” I said to Jonathan.

“So everything is like a whole new world to you?” He asked me.

“Tak I know America not like Poland, but I try and learn America culture. I except no one to like mine or even me.” I said trying my best to speak to Jonathan.

“What do you mean?”

“I leave Poland, because bad thing happens. It more flee Poland or be unhappy.”

“What happened there? Why did you leave?”

“In Poland we still traditional very. I from town it small. I twenty-one and all friend ready married. I only single one.”

“You left Poland because you were gonna be the third wheel to everyone?”

“Nie. I leave Poland, because you don’t marry before twenty four in town small you big shame to everyone. I go school in America make good life for self I not shame.”

“I don’t think you are a shame to anyone.” Jonathan said.

“I know my English no good. I bad at English. I learn English year four ago, but I try hardest.” I said trying to express myself better. “I write good. I good at writing. Speaking not so good.”

“Well if you ever need to to just pass notes back and forth we can do that.” Jonathan said.

“Okay thank you.” I said nodding my head.

“Do you have a cell phone here yet?”

“Cell phone?”

“You never had a cell phone before? Something like this.” he said pulling something out of his pocket. It looked like a little computer.

“Nie. We use home phone.” I said.

“Oh god. Well I’ll tell Katey to get you a phone tomorrow so you can talk to people or text them.”

“Text?” I asked. Then the next twenty minutes Jon explained cellphones to me.

“Maybe I’ll take you to get one tomorrow. We don’t have practice and you just have a class tomorrow right?”

“Yeah I English class have.” I said.

“Well good then after class tomorrow I’ll take you to get one. You kind of need one. Maybe one with GPS...” Jonathan trailed off. Once we were done eating and having a nice time we went to the bar, and that is when I saw Katey.

“Katey!” I said rushing towards here.

“Thank god someone got you here.” She said hugging me. “How did you get here?” She asked me.

“Jonathan take me. Jonathan ni----”

“Katey who is your friend?!” Someone said breaking up the hug and looking at me. He had bushy eyebrows, but very nice blue eyes. He was so short and looked Irish.

“Kaner stay the fuck away from her.” Katey said.

“I Elisabeth” I said to him. His eyes got big.

“She is foreign!” Patrick said.

“I from Poland?” I said.

“Oh god, Kaner stop!” Patrick said to the guy. Then before I knew it this person they called Kaner was talking to me and being really nice. He was really sweet and always complimented me on how pretty I was then he some other girl. I was ditched and some guys came up to me. I didn’t feel comfortable.

“So you must be special if Patrick was talking to you.” The guy said. I was confused that was Kaner.

“That Kaner not Patrick. Patrick over there goof ball!” I said taking a sip of my vodka. The guys looked at each other and I didn’t feel safe in this conversation at all. The started to make advanced towards me.

“You are very pretty girl.” One said touching my cheek.

“Who was watching Kaner with Elisabeth?’ I heard someone say in the background.

“No do that! No touch.” I said moving his arm. Then he touched my chest and someone came between us and the guy.

“The girl said no. Don’t you dare think about touching or looking at her again.” It was Jonathan. The guys walked away and I just wanted to start crying. Instead I just hugged Jonathan for a second.

“You okay?” He asked me.

“I say no they no stop.” I said to him. “Kaner disappear and they come.” I said holding on to Jonathan.

“Nothing bad is gonna happen to you. You got all of us here.” Jonathan said in my ear. We walked over to our group and Jonathan kept his arm around my waist at all time. I felt safe like that.

“Why you holding onto her?” Katey asked Jonathan.

“Because you idiots left her alone and some guys were trying to grope her.”

“She should know better to get away.” Katey said.

“I no go to bars in Poland. I drink not much. I single whole life.” I said. Everyone just looked at me.

“I think she lived in some repressed world where people wanted to be back in the old times where they are virgins until they are married.” One of the guys said.

“Poland most girls are... We very Catholic there.” I said. Everyone’s mouth dropped.

“This is why you don’t leave her alone.” Jonathan said. “Not to mention she is new country where she doesn’t know shit.” Jonathan said to everyone. “It is her first day here what to expect a worldly scholar who knows everything?”

“She can take care of herself Jonathan she doesn’t need a baby sitter.” Katey said.

“She needs someone to help her understand things, Katey. You are her roommate yet you ditched her at the UC with no form of technology where she can call anyone for help. Do realise how dangerous that is for her? If she needed help she wouldn’t even know how to call for help, because 999 is standard in Europe for 911. She’d be dialling the wrong number. Not to mention a bar of all places to leave her alone with Kaner!” Jonathan said getting louder and louder. “Why in the world did you bring her when you were just gonna ditch her?” Katey just looked at us. Patrick didn’t say anything. He knew what Jonathan said was right.

“She is like a little baby! You have to cater to her every need or she freaks out! She just fucking comes strolling in to my dorm room where she fucking just starts a fight with the RA and speaks Polish. No twenty-one year old should be this stupid. How she got into college is beyond me. She should go back to the shit hold she came from and get the fuck out of Chicago, because there is no room for twenty-one year old virgins who never drink. Get the fuck over yourself Elisabeth. I from Poland. Learn fucking English! You aren’t fucking special, you poor piece of Polish trash.” Katey said pouring her drink on me.

“Katey!” Patrick said to her. I just stood there for second and just started to cry.

“Katey that was dick move.” Kaner said coming up out of nowhere.

“Oh shut up Kaner.” Katey said still raging. “Don’t you dare think about coming back to that dorm either. I’ll keep you locked out.”

“She is going home with me anyways.” Jon said. “Come on.” He lead me out of the bar and we took a cab back to his place and the whole time in the cab I couldn’t stop crying. “Come on Elisabeth cheer up. It is fine okay.” Jonathan said.

“I want go home. Jonathan pay to get back Poland. I pay back. “ I said between my tears.

“Elisabeth it is one bad night. Don’t go back to Poland. Things will get better I promise.” he said holding one of my hand and rubbing it with his thumb. It was the only comfort I was gonna get.

“I no like America. Rude people and pour drink on me!” I said wiping my tears. “Why you so nice to me? You want something?” I asked him.

“No, I don’t want anything from you. If Katey isn’t gonna help who is? I’ll help you. Listen I know my mom moving the English speaking part of Canada from the French part can’t be as hard what you are going through right now, but my mom always talked about it with me. I can’t imagine being you right now.”

“So you are do this sympathy? I said looking at him.

“No, I’m doing it because you need a friend.”

My first night in Chicago I didn’t even get to sleep in my own bed. I slept in a spare room in Jonathan’s condo in a pair of shorts, that I didn’t exactly feel comfortable in and a giant t-shirt. It felt like a big dress. I couldn’t sleep though. I walked to Jonathan’s room and I saw him out cold. He was funny when he slept. I tapped on his shoulder, and in one quick movement he pulled me on to his bed.

“Go to sleep Elisabeth.” he mumbled. I barely understood him. Five minutes later I managed to get under the blankets, because I was freezing and Jonathan pulled me closer. It was nice and warm, but it didn’t fell right sharing a bed with someone you just met. However, I fell asleep quicker, and tomorrow was gonna be a new day.

Do widzenia Polska. Tęsknię za Tobą.
(Good bye Poland. I miss you.)
♠ ♠ ♠
Leave some feedback on the new story guys! Katey and I will be writing like crazy again!