Living the Dream:
From the Czech Republic to Cape Cod

by Jitka Borowick

I was born in 1978 in a little village in the Czech Republic, which was communist until I was 11 years old. Because I was born into a communist society, I accepted the lifestyle and did not feel deprived of material things that children today see as necessities.

There were not many choices available. We had just a few kinds of candy, didn't have cereal and everything was very limited. We were lucky to have oranges and bananas for Christmas. My parents used to wait hours in the line to get meats and many times they didn't get any.

We never had paper towels, wipes, a clothes dryer, or plastic bags at the store. I always had to bring back the plastic bag from my lunch. We had two television channels, one car in the family and we studied Russian language.

We had chickens, a goat and our own vegetable and fruit garden. There was nothing better than waking up in the summer and running outside to pick fresh strawberries and raspberries. I composted with my grandpa, not realizing that composting was anything special. My mom cooked homemade meals – there was always a pot of soup on the stove - and Grandma baked her delicious treats.

After the Velvet Revolution and the end of communism in 1989, we were introduced to Western culture. We were shocked to see what was available – people had many choices in food, clothing, entertainment, arts, all areas of the culture. Then we could study German and couple of years later even English (that was a big deal). But I liked German and continued in learning it.

When I was a teenager, I had a dream – I wanted to speak the German language so well that I would be able to find a job in Germany. I saw myself in a hotel talking to customers in German, which motivated me to study more seriously in order to achieve my goal.

After 5 years of business school, I went to Prague to study languages, focusing on German. I was promised a job in Germany if I passed a language exam. I passed the test but unfortunately the job fell through. Instead I found a job in a German Company in Prague, and started making new goals.

I came to the U.S. in 2003 with very little knowledge of English. I lived with a family in Harwich and was taking care of three teenage boys and the household while studying as hard as I could. Unfortunately I couldn't go to Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) because the semester had already started.

I was lucky to find a wonderful tutor, Marjorie Block. We met at the library, coffee shops, walked together and spent hours and hours on my English. We became very close friends and still see each other weekly. When I realized that one year was not enough to learn English well, I extended my stay.

When the new semester started, I went to CCCC full time while I was helping my friend Pam in her public relations company in Boston and also with her kids. Pam is a very successful businesswomen and I was learning from her daily. I admired how professional she was and at the same time such a great mother.

In 2003 I also started cleangreen, a natural cleaning company. I was cleaning by myself, working from home. But I had a vision of someday building a successful company with an office, company cars, and office manager.

At the same time I was studying at CCCC and everything I learned there I applied to my business – from graphic design to public speaking. While I was there I heard about Suffolk Cape Cod. It seemed unreal to have the opportunity to earn a degree from a great university without leaving Cape Cod. So I started to work towards that goal.

I got married in 2007 and Cape Cod become my new permanent home. In 2008 I graduated from CCCC and transferred to Suffolk Cape Cod. I took so many classes that helped me run my business better - public relations, journalism, feature writing, event planning, advertising and many more.

I learned how to put together a marketing plan, how to work better in a team, and how to listen. One of my dreams became true when I graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Suffolk University in September 2011.

I started to network, got more involved in the community and in 2009 I joined ABWA. At one of the meetings I heard about WE CAN and got very excited because this was my chance to give back. I have been involved with WE CAN for three years and have loved every minute of it.

Now I have a fourteen-month-old daughter so my life has changed a little – especially the part about never enough sleep – but everything else is the same. I still wake up in the morning looking forward to going to work.

I feel very lucky to have so much support around me and so much opportunity. It is very special – you don't see this in Czech Republic.

And I have also learned that if I have a dream, with hard work and focus the dream will come true.

Get Your Kitchen Ready for the Holidays with Eco-Cleaning Tips from cleangreen:

How can I keep my drains from getting clogged and clear them without chemicals?

To keep your drains free-flowing, don't pour cooking oil, grease, or other fats into them. Pour leftover grease into a can, and then toss it out with the trash.

Don't dump stuff that clumps, like rice, coffee grounds, in drains, either. Outfit all sinks with strainers to catch food, fibers and hair, and clean them out regularly. And flush kitchen drains regularly with a few gallons of boiling water, which can clear away built up grease and soap.

For pushing and pulling clogs loose, stick with a plunger. The accordion-style Master Plunger (about $6) forces out clogs better than chemical drain cleaner. Or consider an enzyme-based biological cleaner ($5 - $9), which eats away at organic-based clogs like grease, hair, and soap without using harsh chemicals. But it can take 24 hours or more to work.

What is a good cheap way to prevent or get rid of hard-water stains on stainless steel?

White vinegar is a mild acid that's good at removing residue from hard-water deposits on teakettles, faucets, shower heads and coffeemakers. For coffeemakers add a cup of white vinegar and run it through a regular hot water cycle. You can also unscrew a grungy shower head and soak it in vinegar.

What's the easiest way to clean the microwave, especially after a baked-on tomato sauce explosion?

To speed-clean and mask odors, place a small bowl with about one-quarter cup of fresh lemon juice in your microwave. Then run it on high for 1 minute. Remove the bowl and wipe the oven cavity, using the condensation that formed to clean it.

Those baked-on tomato stains should be easy to get off with plain water. Repeat if necessary, and scrape off any stubborn gunk with a plastic credit card. Just don't scrape the glass window; that could damage it.

How can I clean my oven without harsh chemicals?

To clean a greasy oven without chemicals or noxious fumes, mix together 1 cup baking soda and one-quarter cup of washing soda (Arm & Hammer makes one), then add enough water to make a paste.

With gloved hands (washing soda may irritate skin), smear the paste on oven surfaces and let soak overnight. The next morning, lift off the soda mixture and grime and rinse all surfaces. Tip: To avoid having to clean your electric oven in the first place, put a layer of aluminum foil in the bottom of the oven; replace frequently.



Citric acid gives it its fresh scent, bleaching, stain removing, deodorizing and bacteria-fighting capabilities.

  1. Clean food stains on a counter: Cut lemon in half. Sprinkle some baking soda or cream of tartar on the counter squeeze a little lemon juice on top and use the lemon itself to scrub. Allow to dry and wipe with a clean cloth.
  2. To polish chrome: Just rub cut lemon on and polish with a clean cloth.
  3. Deodorize and kill germs on wooden cooking utensils and cutting boards: Rub with a cut lemon or some lemon juice and rinsing clean. Allow to thoroughly dry.
  4. Clean your stove top: Use a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda.
  5. Clean copper: Use a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda or salt, or just sprinkle one of them on lemon half and rub. Rinse clean.
  6. Clean stainless steel sinks: Rub with lemons and baking soda. Rinse clean.
  7. Cleaner Laundry: Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle, instead of bleach.


Despite its smell (which disappears when it dries), I do use vinegar around the house for a few things. It is popular for many homemade cleaning products and has many uses as a cleaner, deodorizer and disinfectant.

  1. Dissolve mineral deposits in tea kettles by pouring straight vinegar into kettle and soaking overnight. Scrub and rinse clean.
  2. For minerals on a shower head, remove the shower head and soak in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. If it can't be removed fill a plastic sandwich bag with vinegar and tie on to showerhead.
  3. For any hard water stains soak a rag with vinegar, cover stain and leave for an hour. Wipe with a damp towel.
  4. Add 1/2 cup vinegar to final rinse cycle of laundry to deodorize and soften.
  5. Mix even amounts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle for window cleaning.
  6. Vinegar and baking soda mixed together as a paste is great for cleaning soap scum. (This is much easier to do if you don't let the scum build up.)

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