is out for summer! June
First grade ended June 16th.
My school had a big party the last day, an outdoor "fair" with games, popcorn, and
I had a really good year; the last week I brought home
notebooks full of lots of work I'd completed through the year, so I know I
learned a lot.
I was sad to say goodbye to
my teacher, Mrs. Cho [left], because she won't be
returning to the school next year. But I'll see all my friends again when
I'm in second grade.
Just days after I finished school, Mom,
Papa, and I flew to southern Spain. We stayed in Andalucia
for two weeks. The first week we traveled by car. We stopped in Granada,
Sidonia, Ronda, and
Gibraltar. The second week we stayed in
Torremolinos, on the Costa del Sol. For the whole trip, we had
sunshine, and I wore only shorts and sundresses, even at 10:00 at night!
Here are some of my favorite experiences on our road
|Visiting the Alhambra in Granada. It was really hot,
but I didn't mind because there were lots of pools and fountains—even
water in a stairway railing!—that
I could dip my hands in wherever we walked.|
|Seeing Opa Jan in Granada. He drove from his home in
Benidorm to visit us overnight.|
|Swimming in the rooftop pool at the Ibis Hotel in
|Drinking orange Fanta at lunch and on breaks.|
|Walking tiny, narrow white streets in Córdoba.|
|Riding the subway in Sevilla. |
|Swimming in the rooftop pool at the Novotel Hotel in
|Chasing pigeons in the Plaza de España in Sevilla.|
|Playing with English teens in the Parque de Maria
|Petting carriage horses in Sevilla's Plaza Virgen de
|Running on the windy beach in Tarifa.|
|Taking the cable car to the top of the rock in
|Watching the tail-less monkeys, especially the moms
and babies, on Gibraltar.|
|Finding a 4-inch beetle on our walk down
Gibraltar rock (I called it a liz-hopper: part lizard, part
|Climbing trees and naming feral cats Stripey, Whitey
and Oreo in Gibraltar town.|
|Watching the glassblowers in Casemates Square.|
|Finding friends at the beaches in La Linea and
|Even more fun were some of the special
outings we took. One evening we went to
Benalmádena's Tivoli World theme
park. It had lots of fun rides; I especially liked the kid-sized bumper
cars (and Mommy and Papa couldn't ride on them).
Another evening we went to the Fuengirola's Bioparc.
That's a zoo that was open until midnight. We saw nocturnal animals that
usually sleep during the day, and lots of lemurs up close in the
walk-through lemur enclosure. We also watched a show of African
In Torremolinos we went to the Crocodile Park
[right] and saw many different kinds of crocodiles and alligators. The
best part was that I got to pet a small one! Cool!
We also went to Aqualand
in Torremolinos. That was a great water park with lots of fun water
rides and slides, and even a sea lion show. Some of the rides were really tall;
Papa went down the Kamikaze, and it was so tall and fast that when he got
to the bottom his swim trunks were up to his chin! I slid down the
Twister; I had to cross my arms and legs and go down on my back feet
first. It was scary, but I still loved it.
Finally, I met a new friend in Málaga. Her name is
Candela. Her parents, Joelle and Eduardo, set aside a day to show us the
city, treat us to a really nice lunch at a hotel near the beach, and take
us to the Nerja caves. Candela and I pretended they were a dragon's lair!
They also let me swim with Candela, and even though she speaks mostly
French and Spanish, she could speak just enough English that we had a
really good time together. I hope she visits me someday in Seattle.
From Spain, Mommy flew home, while Papa and I
flew to the Netherlands. After the sun in Spain, the
weather in Vlissingen was disappointing—sometimes even stormy! But Papa
and I still kept really busy and had lots of fun.
Vlissingen Papa took me to the street festival the first week, and we also
visited the annual fair several times, where we went on many rides, like
the Too Hot to Handle, that does upside down, and I felt sick, and ate delicious oliebollen. I went to a graduation party for my cousin
Maaike and a going-away party for my cousin Jolien (she was leaving for
Africa to help
orphans). Papa also had his 57th birthday while we were there; lots of
family came and sat around in chairs to celebrate. We visited a friend of
Papa's who lived on a farm; I liked chasing her chickens. And Papa's Seattle friend Peter
visited us, and we drove around the Walcheren
peninsula. On the very nicest days—there
went to the Vlissingen beach.
I also spent lots of time at
play areas, including the nearby Speeltuin, Klokhuis and Mini
Mundi [right]. My cousin Maaike and
her friend Rob took me to the Duinrell theme park;
Papa took me, with cousin Jasper, to the Efteling theme park; and
while we were visiting with Tante Lianne in Venlo, we went to the Irrland theme park in Germany. That's a lot of playing!
Tante Lianne also took us to a preview of the 2012 Floriade
(a decennial flower show).
||When our neighborhood hosted a garage sale
at the end of July, two of my friends and I decided to have a lemonade
stand. We sold cups of lemonade for $.25 and cookies and
brownies (baked by our moms, of course) for $.50 [left].
I proposed giving the money to a hospital, so we put up
a sign that said the money would go to charity. When all the lemonade and
cookies were gone, we had made $15! We decided to give the money to Children's
Hospital in Seattle, and Ella's dad was able to match that through
Microsoft, where he works, so Children's Hospital actually got $30 from
That's so cool!
Mom said the food in Holland must have made
me grow because when I got back home from vacation, some of my pants were
too short! Another thing that didn't fit me anymore was my bicycle, the same one
I learned to ride on without training wheels last summer.
So one Saturday we drove to Walmart, and I picked out a
new one. It's sort of a "half-birthday" present. Now my bike has 20-inch wheels. It's hot pink and even has hand
brakes. I have to get used to being taller, but I really like
camps and more, August
|After I got back home from Spain and Holland,
I needed a quiet week to recover from jetlag. I was glad to be home and
play with all my new toys again. But soon I was ready for more summer
One of the first things we did was go to a SeaFair party
on Mercer Island and watch the Blue Angels from a boat in Lake Washington.
The planes were really noisy, but I liked being out in the small boat.
For two weeks I attended camps at my elementary school.
The first week the theme was Animal Planet, and the Reptile Man came with
lots of cool animals! The second week the theme was Carnival Fun, and the
last day we even had an outdoor carnival with kettle corn, hotdogs, and
The week after that I went to a Skyhawks soccer camp in
Seattle. Mom drove me in on her way to work and picked me up afterward.
I'm not sure I really like soccer, but it was fun to run around with lots
of other kids in the sun.
The week after that was the Camp of Papa. I played with
friends Max, Ella, and Reagan, went to Sky High and McDonald's, caught
frogs and bugs and put them in jars (and let them go again), and got wet
in a sprinkler and water slide.
In addition to all that, I had swim lessons twice each
week [left]. I Improved so much that I passed
the swimming test at Waverly Beach in the waves of Lake Washington! I also read
lots of books all summer long, completing the Barnes & Noble
eight-book challenge and the King County Libraries 1000-minute challenge.
My favorite books for the summer were the Judy Moody series and the Ivy +
The last weekend of summer, Papa took me
camping on Whidbey Island. It was just overnight, but because he sold the Chateau
op Wielen, we got to sleep in a tent [right, inflating our air
mattress]! It was the first time I
ever slept in a tent, and it was so cool!
parts of camping were
- eating s'mores
- making new friends
- going to the beach (we saw three dinner-plate sized
jellies stranded on the beach)
- seeing stars at night, like the Big Dipper.
On our way home we stopped at Deception Pass. It was
very pretty, but Papa slipped and fell on the hillside trail and got cuts
on his hand, elbow, and knee. Sorry, Papa!
I hope Papa will take me camping again!
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