View from on top of Table Mountain to the crashing waves on rocks below

A Great Experience in South Africa

This story is about the feelings I had in a Montessori school in South Africa. This wonderful school I went to is called IMG_2976Auburn House School. In that school there were very nice people and I felt like everyone wanted to be my friend. It made me feel so happy.

One of the nice people I met was Iman, she is a kind girl who is my best friend. I am writing about Iman because on the 10th of April I was sitting on the playground and she sat next to me. Iman was very kind so I was kind back to her. One day me and one of my friends that I met on my first day (Haajir) walked over to Iman and asked her why she looked sad. She told us that some of her friends were not her friends anymore. I felt so bad that they weren’t her friends anymore so Haajir and I decided that we should do more things with Iman since she was all alone for at least three days. We then always worked with her or sat with her at lunch. I will always remember Iman because she is a really kind, loving and sweet friend!

On my first day of school I was very shy. Luckily, I knew the teachers so I thought that one of the teachers (Miss Cherry) would show me were to put my stuff. Instead, it was a girl named Bella who showed me where to put my stuff. She had lots of friends but I didn’t play with them because I felt very shy and didn’t know many of the kids she was playing with. So I decided that I would go sit on the steps by myself and wait. After awhile, I walked over to two girls one of them had braids (they call them plats in South Africa) and the other had a ponytail. They told me about the game they were playing. I became friends with them and started playing their game. It took me a couple of days to figure out what their names were. At first, I thought their names were Sydney and Taylor and then I thought their names were Sadhiv and Hacha but then I finally figured out their names were Haajir and Sadhiv. We all became BFFs (best friends forever) after that.Sign for Auburn House School with Table Mountain in the background

There is this language that we studied in class called Xhosa. One of my teachers, Miss Pili, teaches Xhosa. Xhosa is a native language to South Africa. It is actually a pretty fun language to learn. I liked learning Xhosa better than learning Afrikaans, which is another native language in South Africa. Some funny things that usually happened during Xhosa is that Miss Pili would always put funny things about one of the boys in my class on the board. One time she said he was dancing, singing and laughing. One time, Haajir and I were sitting down at reading time and reading a book about Xhosa words. We were trying to figure out what the word for fart was in Xhosa. We wanted to know because this same boy would always fart in class. No one in the whole class knew the word so we wanted to find out what the word was so that we could tell Miss Pili. The next day we did just that and we told Miss Pili what it was and she wrote down on the board and Haajir and I started laughing so hard while everyone else was looking puzzled.

The difference between the school I went to in Denver and the school I went to in South Africa is that back in USA after our teacher took attendance, we always had to sing The Pledge of a Allegiance but in the school we went to in South Africa we did not have to sing it. Another difference is that in Denver at the elementary school I went to there was only one grade in each classroom instead of three different grades in one classroom at Auburn House School. Some of the things that are the same are that we would always eat our lunch and then after that we would walk to the playground.

The five best words that describe South Africa are: friendly, amazing, best school, beautiful and lots of traffic. It is amazing because of Table Mountain. It is friendly because at the school I went to in Denver the cafeteria ladies were very strict and in South Africa there weren’t really cafeteria ladies who would boss you around. South Africa is beautiful A game of chase, mackenzie and quinn run on the green lawn of Kristenbosh Gardensbecause of all the sites you can see and all the nature with mountains. There is a lot of traffic every morning when we go to school and that is why it took 40-50 minutes to get there every morning. Some days I felt like I would vomit in the car because it was jerking around. The reason why my last word is the best school is because when I entered the school I felt really nervous and I felt like a lot of the kids were staring at me but then when I got to know it I felt like I could just walk around and be normal at the school.

On my last day of school I felt so sad and I remembered that I might never see my best friends or my teachers again. I was soo so so sad I even felt like crying. Since I came to South Africa I never wanted to leave but since I have I am glad I got the experience of being in the school.



Mackenzie in front of Eiffel Tower with Jacob jumping in

A Big Fun Trip to Paris

Part 1:

I went to Pairs with the money that our family gave us.   We had to go on a plane. The city we flew in to wasn’t Paris it was Beauvais, France. So we had to take a one- hour bus ride to get to Paris. When we got off the bus in Paris it was freezing. We had to wear two shirts, two coats, a hat, a scarf, two layers of pants and gloves but daddy didn’t buy any gloves. Daddy always had to hold Quinn’s hands to keep his hands warm because she was wearing fuzzy gloves.Mackenzie eating the last bite of the best croissant in the world Anyway, when we were walking we saw yummy treats in the window of a bakery, so we went inside and it smelled delicious. I told mama we should go in and we bought some plain croissants. They tasted amazing. They were a little bit sweet and very buttery. They made us forget that we were cold until we were done with them. After we were done with our croissants we had to go to the metro to get to our hotel. It was at least half an hour ride on the metro. When we got off we were at a stop called Porte de la Chapelle and it took about five minutes to get our hotel. It was clean and there was a shower and bath in one room and in another room there was a toilette. We stayed in our hotel for an hour and then we went to eat at a fancy dinner place. I got a small cheeseburger and so did Quinn. We also got very yummy French fries. After we got home we were all very tired so we went to bed.

Wall of bones and skulls in the Catacombs
Bones of the Catacombs

The next morning we had to get up early so we could go to the Catacombs. We had to take a metro to get to Catacombs.   For breakfast we got croissants, but they weren’t as good as the croissants we had on our first day in Paris. To get into the Catacombs there was a big line. Once we were at the front to of the line, there were so many stairs that I couldn’t count them. Daddy saw a sign that said there were about 130 stairs. When we were at the bottom of the stairs, it was dark and the lights were dim. It was very warm because it was 65 feet under the street. We were walking and we saw tons of creepy skulls and bones of 6 million people.

It was all wet and there were big puddles of water in the narrow walkway. We went in this room where it made you feel like there were ghosts but not mean ones, nice ones. I knew they were nice because I wasn’t scared.  To get out of the Catacombs, we had to go up eighty-three stairs instead of the 130, which I thought was weird.

Darkened ceiling of wispey shapes
Do you see ghosts too?

Once we were at the top of the Catacombs, it was time to head to the Metro to get to the Eiffel Tower. It took about 30 minutes to get to a stop where we had to switch trains and then it took another 30 minutes to get to the stop for the Eiffel Tower. When we got out of the Metro you could see the gigantic beautiful Eiffel Tower. It looked taller than a skyscraper. When we got to the line it wasn’t very long. We had to buy tickets to go on the tower. Once we bought our tickets, we had a choice to go on a short elevator ride or up a lot of stairs. We went on the elevator ride because mama’s knees were swollen. The elevator was fun because when it went up, it felt like I was flying when I looked out the window of the elevator. We didn’t get to go on the top because it was under construction but we still got to go to the 2nd floor.

When we got to the 2nd floor we could see miles away. I saw a big castle in the distance with a gold roof. Quinn saw another castle far, far away.   Mama said behind the castle was where our home in Paris was. That meant our home was a very long ways away. On the 2nd floor there was a balcony where we could see a little bit further than where we just were. I was so cold because we were up five hundred-nine feet! So mama let us go in a warm shop because there were a lot of shops on the Eiffel tower. It was very crowed but it was very warm. Then, we decided to go to the first floor of the Eiffel tower. We were afraid that if we took the elevator it would take us down to the bottom, so we had to take the stairs instead. It was five sets of stairs and a small platform over and over until we reached the bottom. It was exciting because there was loud music and a small ice skating rink. When we were on the 2nd floor we couldn’t hear it or see it. I wanted to go on the rink so Daddy said that if it was cheap we could go. So we went in the line to get ice skates. When we were at the front of the line we had to take off our shoes and tell the man what size we were. Then daddy asked how much skating was, the man said it was free. So we put on the ice skates with a little bit of difficulties but we managed it. Daddy and I were done first.

When we walked over to the rink, I asked daddy if he knew how to ice skate. He said it was his first time. When Quinn and mommy walked on to the slippery ice Quinn saw kids using chairs to help them stand up. She asked if she could have one too, so daddy went over to get a chair. There was only one left. Quinn got to skate with the chair and mama helped me learn how to ice skate. It looked really easy but it was so hard. I fell a lot of times but when I fell it wasn’t very cold.

Amy holding Mackenzie's hand while she learns to ice skate at the Eiffel Tower
Never skated on the Eiffel Tower, Woohoo!

Daddy and Quinn left because they were cold. After a little bit mama and I left too. Once we all took off the skates and put on our shoes on we headed for the elevator. It took a little bit to find it but we found it. It was very full when we got on. When we were at the bottom of the Eiffel tower Quinn asked if she could go on the merry- go- round. Mama said yes but that meant she wouldn’t get a treat later. But Quinn still wanted to go on the merry- go-round. I wanted a treat because earlier I saw a kid with cotton candy. Anyway, it was three Euros for one ride. Quinn wanted to go on the plane. Daddy thought that it was probably boring because the merry-go-rounds in Colorado had music and this one didn’t.

When the ride was over we walked to the candy shop I saw. When we got there I saw waffles and lollypops but I pointed at a big bucket with a little bit of cotton candy string in it. I told mommy I wanted some cotton candy, so mommy asked the lady if we could have some. The lady went over to the bucket and dumped a cup full of pink sugar into a tube and pressed a button. Then, the strings of the cotton candy started getting made and getting stuck to the sides of the bucket. Then she grabbed a thin stick that she used to twirl the cotton candy on to it. Soon, there was so much cotton candy on the stick it was as big as my head.

Mackenzie taking a bit of a huge cotton candy pop
Cotton Candy Breathing Mackenzie

I didn’t have to share it with anyone except when daddy ripped off pieces of it. When we got to the metro I was almost done, and I had cotton candy all over my face. When daddy was pulling out our metro tickets he didn’t see one of the kid tickets.  He kept asking if we had it in our pockets in a frustrated sort of way.  In the end, we had to go to a machine and buy new tickets. Once we bought the tickets we hopped on the metro. Again, it was a 30-minute train ride and then we switched trains and it took another 30-minutes. When we got off the metro it was a cold walk to our hotel.

When we got home, daddy said he had to go pick up some dinner. He said we were having some chicken. When he left Mama let us play on our tablets while she was taking a bath. I went in to see what she was doing and I saw that she was relaxing in a bubble bath. She asked me to get her a cup. Then she asked Quinn to get her some beer. She poured the beer into the cup and Quinn and I left to go back to playing on our tablets. A little bit later Mama asked Quinn to get her phone so she could have music but when mama turned on her phone it was almost dead. Mama looked around for a charger but there wasn’t one. Then daddy got home and Mama had to get out. I asked if I could take a bath after dinner too. Daddy said yes. He also said after dinner we could watch a movie. After dinner I got a bath and instead of beer I got orange juice. When my bath was over I saw that daddy and Quinn were trying to find a movie. Daddy said that there was The Lorax or Back to Nim’s Island. I said I wanted to watch Back to Nim’s island because I have watched The Lorax a lot of times and I had never seen Back to Nim’s Island before. The movie was about a girl named Nim who wanted to take care of endangered animals but someone wouldn’t let them stay on the island. Nim wanted to stay so she could help the animals. It was a very exiting and scary movie, but I still loved it.

After the movie it was hard to go to sleep because I was so excited for the next day. The next morning we got up, put on our clothes and then, when we were walking out the door, I asked Mommy where we were going. She said that we were going to one of the most biggest museums in the whole world called The Louvre.

Mackenzie and Quinn sit on concrete stairs in front of the marina at sunset

A New Weird Christmas in Barceloneta

Two days before Christmas our elf Flutter left a note telling us to go see a Christmas market and find out what a “Caganer” was.  So we went to a christmas market in the Placita de la Seu by the Cathedral of Barcelona that looked like a castle and we saw a sign that said “Caganer”.  We looked around and we saw a stand with a guy selling little statues of people pooping. Daddy looked up on his phone why there were little tiny statues pooping and we found out that the pooping guys were the Caganer.  Another name for Caganer is “the little crapper”.  small Caga Tío logs with raisin and penuts for food and Caganger squattingHe lives in France or Catalonia.  He is a little statue with a red hat and his bottom showing!  People put them in nativity scenes with baby Jesus.  They put him in nativity scenes because his poop fertizes the world so that there will be food for next year.  Some people think that when you put a Caganer in a nativity scene it brings you good luck and good wishes and if you don’t you will get in trouble.  Some people think that it is bad to put a Caganer in a nativity scene because they think it is holy and sacred and they think that the Caganer makes it look funny and not very good.  In my opinion, I think that the Caganer is weird because he poops outside like a dog in the plants and not in a toilet.

When daddy went to go find a water filter I saw some logs with little hats.  Mommy asked the man selling the logs what they were.  He told us that they were Caga Tíos.   Caga Tíos are little logs with red hats and a smily face.  You are supposed give it a blanket and some food so they can grow.  On Christmas Eve you have to whack the log and sing a song: poop log poop out a present, poop log poop log.  The next morning all the kids will see the presents that the poop log pooped out.  I think  that the poop log or the Caga Tíos are good because I like taking care of the Caga Tío. People who live in Spain like the Caga Tío because they like taking care of the them too.Mackenzie stands in living room getting read to open a gift

On Christmas morning I woke  up and I ran into Mommy and Daddy’s room to tell them it is Christmas and “you need to get up”.  Then I ran into the living room and then Quinn woke up too.  When we were awake we had to first give everyone their presents then we got to open them.  In my sock a got a lego person, some candy and a bracelet.  Our Caga Tíos gave us each some chocolate eggs and some farm animals.  I unwrapped a  doll, a note book, a pen that has four colors, a lego set and some earrings from my grandparents.  Our family gave us some money and we will use it to go to Paris, France.  for the rest of the day we got to play with our toys.  It was a fun Christmas and I will never forget it.Mackenzie and Quinn stand with gifts of art supplies in front of the paper christmas tree we made

I liked it a lot and If I ever have a more fun christmas I will tell you!

baby monkey in a red hammock being cared for by a volunteer

Having Fun in Costa Rica

I have been in Costa Rica for two weeks.  The only thing I don’t like is it’s really hot and humid.  There are lots of cool things to see and do.  One day, I went to my friends house to have pancakes. I met her when I

thousands of leaf cutter ants carrying pieces of cut leaves down a tree
Leaf cutter ants hard at work disassembling a tree near our cabina

went to the butterfly garden.  Her name is Ana.  On the way to her house I got bit and looked up and saw a lot of leaf-cutter ants on the tree carrying leaves.  Then I saw a whole line of ants that looked like millions and billions of ants. They were taking the leaves to their home.

We also saw some big crickets.  The first one was when we went to the mariposiro/butterfly garden.  It’s right by our cabina.  We went at dusk.  We

praying mantis on chair
A helper to get rid of the bad bugs.

went at dusk because the tree frogs and toads come out to eat bugs. The cricket was as big as my hand.  It was on a stem eating bugs.  There are also these annoying black wasps that fly around our cabina.  They are really creepy.  They fly around mommy and it makes her mad.  I also don’t like them. One time daddy used a broom to get them away, by waiting and then when they flew towards him, he would try to hit them.

I have also seen a lot of animals.  There are these lizards that run by our house on their back legs.  I saw a

brown lizard carrying another lizard on it’s back.  The lizard had a blue tail and orange spots on it’s back.  I have seen small lizards and big lizards.  I even saw a green one with a hump on its head.  A week ago I saw two woodpeckers fighting in the trees and they almost fell on my head.  They were red-headed with white tail feathers and a funny shaped body.  There are some Howler Monkeys that used to live by our cabina.  They wake me up at 4:30am.

We had lots of fun in Costa Rica.  I love how when I open the door I see the jungle.  When the birds sing in the morning, it makes me feel ready to start the day.

Lizard on a leaf near the ground
Our neighborhood lizard