Mother's Answer to 'What's Next?'

By Lucasz Palatan

Subway map that appeared in a dream led Lucasz Palatan from Poland to New York?
For many new immigrants, there are twists and turns and bumps and detours on the road to a college degree and the American dream. But there can be no turning back. Lucasz Palatan knows this. He left his native Poland for New York City and enrolled in a language immersion program at LaGuardia Community College. Last fall, he left the program for personal reasons. Now he plans to return this summer. His goal is to become a college graduate and a paramedic. In a recent issue of LaGuardia's International Student Newsletter, Palatan explained what spurred him to leave his homeland, and pursue a better life in Queens.

It was exactly one year ago when I had to make a very important decision. Those were very hard days for me. My mother died and I was completely depressed. I lived in an empty house only with my sister.

I was working and studying, but when my mother died I quit school and I got fired from my job. I started to drink a lot and smoke marijuana to get calm. It was good for a short time.

One night I had a very strange dream about my mother. It was the time when I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that I couldn't drink and smoke and do nothing else. In my dream my mother gave me an answer for my question: 'What's next?' I saw her and I talked to her, but I knew she was dead. She gave me a map. I looked at it and thought that I had seen this map before. It was the map of subways in New York.

Then I woke up and went to my sister's room and said what I was dreaming about. I took my dream very seriously and she did too.

"It was a sign from Mommy," my sister said. "She showed you what you should do and where."

From that night on, I have done everything that my mother wanted me to do in my dream. She wanted me to go to New York and start a new life. Four months later, I was sitting in the plane to New York. There was no way back. I began a new life and I made this hard decision because it was the last will of my mother.