One of her first memories is from about 1968-9 when her mother bought a TV set in order to watch the Moon landing. She didn't pay attention much but she did catch some scary news, showing students rioting and being beaten by the police, in Paris, she thinks. Bad news about the West was often portrayed on this side of the Iron Curtain... so she remembers thinking and saying that being a student seemed very dangerous and she would not be one, ever. Her second very fearful encounter with the reality of the West was when her dad, who had earned some hard currency as part of his study trip to the USA, took her and her stepmom on a holiday to Western Europe in 1976! They drove in his Skoda all the way from Poland to Switzerland camping all the way. Their first night in the West was in West Germany on a campsite. She could not sleep all night because she was sure that everyone in West Germany had guns and that she would be shot... She was nearly 13 and she was terrified. The West was a kind of promised land, on the one hand, with material goods and the idea of freedom, but on the other, it was also a scary, unfamiliar place.