"My name is Antonina, and I am not a writer. It was on the day of my retirement party at the Internal Revenue Service when I promised an agent, an employee of mine, to write a book about my life, and since I always keep my promises, I sat down at the computer to pour out my soul to people about my long journey. I had colleagues, students, and employees who knew certain episodes of my life and were curious if one day I would write a book. Their comments were that I lived an incredible and, by some, extraordinary life, which I should share with the world. My story is exceptional because of my background and the difficulties I had to overcome to live a brighter and fuller life. You are about to discover the meaning of courage, sacrifice, endurance, perseverance, and love for family and friends. You will learn the truth about life under communism and capitalism through my experiences at an early age to retirement. "