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Ever day I learn new words, new expressions.

I pick them up from school exercises from conversations, from the books I take out of Vancouver's wel-lit, cheerful public library. There are some turns of in s phrase to which I develop stran e aller ies. !you're welcome", for example I can hardly brin myself to say it -I suppose because it implies that say there's somethin to be thanked for, which in #olish would be impolite... Then, there are words to which I take an irrational likin , for their sound or $ust because Im pleased to have deduced their meanin . %ainly they're words I learn from books, like en matc or insolent words that have a literary value, that only exist as si ns on the pa e. &ut mostly, the problem is that the words I learn now don't stand for thin s in the same un'uestioned way they did in my native ton ue. (iver in #olish was a vital sound, encr ised with the essence of riverhood, of my rivers, of my bein immersed in rivers. (iver in En lish is cod. It has no accumulated associations for me. )hen my friend #enny tells me that she's envious or happy or disappointed, I try laborously not to translate from the En lish to the #olish but from the word back to its source, to the feelin from which it sprin s. *lready, in that moment o stain, spontanety of response is lost. *nd anyway, the translation doesn't work. I don't know how #enny feels when she talks about envy+ %rs ,ieberman is amon several #olish ladies who have been in -anada lon enou h to consider themselves well versed in native ways and who seem to find me deficient in some 'uite fundamental respects. .ince in #oland I was considered a pretty youn irl, this re'uires a basic revision of my self-ima e. &ut there's no doubt about it/after the passa e across the *lantic, I've emer ed as less attractive, less raceful, less desirable. In fact, I can see in these women's eyes that I'm a somewhat pitiful specimen pale, with thick eyebrows and without any bounce in my hair, dressed in clothes that have nothin to do with the current fashions. 0ne of them spends a day with me, pluckin my eyebrows and tryin various shades of lipstick on my face 'If you were my dau hter, you'd soon look like a princess.' The car is full of my new friends, or at least the crowd that has more or less accepted me. They're as livey as a roup of puppies. It's .aturday ni ht or rather .aturday 1i ht', and part spirits are obli atory. )e're on our way to the local )hite .po, an early -anadian version of %c2onald's, where we'll en a e in the barbarous as far as I'm concerned rite of the drive-in' .This activity of sitin in your car in a lar e parkin lot and havin sloppy, bi hambur ers brou ht to you on a tray, accompanied by reasy french fries boundin out of their you on a cardboard containers+ seems to fill these peers of mine with warm monkeyish, roup comfort It ills me with a fnicky distaste. -ome on, forei n student, cheer up one of the boys sportin a flowery 3awaiian shirt and a crew cut tells me, pokin me in the ribs ood-naturedly. )hat's the matter don't you like it here4'