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(From "YEAR ONE: Crash Course In Culture Shock")


The last few weeks have been full of packing up, garage sales, and saying goodbye. I have to admit, I'm getting kind of excited about going to China. Mom and dad said we're stopping in Hong Kong on our way to our new city and going to Disneyland. COUNT ME IN!

One day dad tried to explain to Lucas (I already knew about it) that China is on the OTHER side of the earth so if we started digging a big hole in Texas then we would come out in China...probably looking pretty dirty I added and maybe a little melted since the earth's core is like 1,000,000,000 degrees. That didn't stop Lucas from wanting to try (I can't believe my dad didn't see this coming). We got two shovels out of dad's tool shed and then walked around our house looking for the best place to dig. The ground was hard everywhere except in the flower beds in front of our house. The flower beds were full of these red woodchips and then the dirt underneath was dark and soft. We started digging and jumping in our hole to see how deep we'd made it. When Lucas' hair was the only thing sticking out (and piles of dirt, woodchips and flowers covered most of the front yard), mom came out and screamed. I think she was worried Lucas had actually fallen through to China. I showed her the rope that I had tied around Lucas' waist, but it didn't stop her from crying. Even when he climbed out and shouted "I'm here!" She didn't look relieved. We were immediately thrown into the bathtub. Later, dad told us that mom had been working really hard on her flower beds. He said he fixed the hole, but when we looked at it definitely didn't look as good as before. I told mom that her flower beds look A LOT better than dad's. I thought that would make her happy, but she just frowned. So did dad. We had to promise not to dig anymore, or use the tools without asking, or ever step foot in the flowerbeds again. So in the end, we didn't make it to China AND we got kicked out of our own yard!

My Ita and Tata (my mom’s parents) live only a few miles away and they agreed to keep some of my things for me while we are away. I’m not sure if the word SOME has a numerical value or not so I counted out 150 items (everything I owned), boxed them up, and got Tata to move them all to his house before my mom and dad could go through it. I think they were actually going to SELL my stuff in our garage sale. I didn’t have the heart to tell Lucas that most of his things went for under $1. I did hide his favorite blanket in my box of stuff. I do have a heart.

I don't know how much money we made from our garage sale, but I pulled in $100 with my lemonade stand. I figured our garage sale customers would get real thirsty standing around in the Texas sun and I was right! The only problem was that Lucas kept drinking the lemonade and that made him have to pee a lot and I had to take him in the house to use the restroom so I probably missed a lot of customers. I tried to let him pee in the bushes to save time, but someone told my mom and I got in trouble for that. After I counted my money, Dad said in the real world, I would’ve had to go to the store and buy all the supplies myself, but then I said in my world the supplies come from our kitchen. Somehow Lucas got a cut of my profits just for drinking and peeing all day.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but we are about to say goodbye to a lot of really important people. To Ita and Tata, my grandma and Papaw, our neighbor Kathy, my best friend Jordan and his little sister, Sarah, my teachers and friends at school and at church…and Aunt Mel! Aunt Mel keeps telling me she will come visit us in China often. I’m feeling pretty sad right now.

I’ve lived in my house for 6 years. I have a lot of good memories there. Birthday parties in the backyard. The zip-line my dad hung up that carried us from one end of the yard to the other and right into a tree. Jumping on the trampoline. Campouts on our deck. Learning to swim in a big pool that dad installed on our deck, which caused the deck to collapse. He moved the pool to the grass after that. Shooting hoops and chalk drawing in our driveway. I guess the memories will go with me even if the house can’t. Mom said we’re not selling the house, just renting it which means someone else will live there while we’re in China. I was glad to hear that. It’s hard to say goodbye to a place you love and even harder to people you love. Aunt Mel gave Lucas and I our own teddy bears. She said the bears are brothers too and they are going with us to China to keep us company. I think I’ll keep mine forever.

Dear God. I don’t really want to leave my house or my family and friends. Tonight mom read some Bible verses that said when people say goodbye to their family because they are going where you want them to go and doing your work, that they get 100 times more family. I don’t know what I will do with 100 Grandmas and Papaws and Itas and Tatas, but that would be A LOT of birthday presents! Please help me make new friends in China and keep our friends and family safe here in Texas. Amen.

Matthew 19:29 (ERV) “Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms to follow me will get much more than they left. And they will have eternal life.”

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