Amazing Kids! Magazine

My Journey Far Away

By Jimena Valdivia, age 11, California


“Amy,” said Ms. Abby. “Pay attention.”

“Yes, Ms. Abby,” I answered, noticing my surroundings and adjusting to the light. I had been trying to imagine how it would be when I moved to Florida. Would I find a friend in Florida? Fortunately, nobody would miss me: I had no friends, and my classmates barely noticed me. Maybe they would miss me when I was gone, but I doubted it. The teacher barely noticed me, and when she did, it was only to remind me to pay attention. I could start a new life in Florida; maybe my new sixth-grade teacher would be different. “Rrrrr!!!” The bell rang and scared me half to death. Luckily, this was my last day at this school, and maybe there wouldn’t be loud bells in my new school.

“Amy,” said Ms. Abby again. “Did you hear the bell ring? School’s over.”

I stood up and walked towards Ms. Abby with her lightning eyes looking at me and her crooked smile. A bird tweeted nearby.

“My dad got a new job in Florida,” I told her as I felt my cheeks get hot, “and we’re moving there.” I grabbed my skirt for balance as I glanced at Ms. Abby’s face for her reaction. She was creating a smile, but as soon as she looked at me, her smile disappeared like a rat being chased by a cat.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear such sad news; we will all miss you a lot,” said Ms. Abby with no expression on her face.

I knew that none of what she had said was true, but I tried to act like I didn’t know. I left without saying one more word, but before leaving, I glanced at the left back corner, where I had sat for almost two months. When I got on the back of the bus, I stared out the window and wondered (again) how it would look like looking out the Florida bus window. When the school bus reached the corner of my street, I got off and looked at the bus as it disappeared in the west. I reached in my knitted sweater pocket and grabbed the keys to my house. As I walked up the front steps to my house, I realized that no matter how many times I moved from state to state, I would always be the same shy girl hoping to make friends in a new place (at least that’s what I thought).

I looked at the living room clock; it read 2:43 p.m. Good, I had one and a half hours to do my homework and then about 50 minutes to cook dinner, so when my father came from work, he could eat after taking a shower. After I finished my hard history homework, I headed to the kitchen. While I walked downstairs, I remembered that today my dad would be out buying food for the long trip. So, I headed downstairs faster than usual. I had decided that since today was our last night here, it should be extraordinary. I opened the fridge and got out eggs, milk, and butter. Then I opened the cabinet for dry ingredients and rapidly got out flour, salt, and baking soda. I stirred the ingredients together and put it in the oven. While the cake was baking in the oven, I set out the frosting, sprinkles, etc. After that, I made a salad, wrapped it up with plastic wrap, and made some chicken alfredo. I then heard a knock on the door, then a tug at the door knob. My dad was home with a bunch of food.

“Look who’s home,” said my dad with excitement. “Can you please help me with the groceries?”

“Yes, dad!” I yelled as I flew over to the car and grabbed a gallon of milk.

While he took a shower, I remembered the cake was in the oven and got the cake out, just in time. I put it to a side to cool off. While it cooled, I put the groceries away where they went and got some drinks outside for my dad and me. I remembered about the cake. I glanced at it. I quickly but carefully decorated it. I fixed the table by placing napkins, plates, forks, chicken alfredo, the salad, Ranch, wishbone dressing, and a big spoon for the salad. I opened the window, and the cool wind blew on my face and gave it a chilly hug. At that exact moment, my dad appeared in the kitchen.

“Is it just me, or did you bake a cake?” asked my dad, licking his lips.

I laughed. The cake was supposed to be a surprise, but I guess I couldn’t hide anything from my dad’s awesome sense of smell. As we both sat down to eat, I was starving. My dad read my mind and exclaimed, “Well, what’re we waiting for? Let’s eat!” I passed the salad to my dad, and we began to eat.

This dinner was supposed to be happy; instead, it reminded me of my mom and happy memories. My mind was like when you eat too much ice cream and get a stomachache. Oh, poor me, my mom didn’t have to die in that horrible car accident a few years ago, when I was about six. After we finished dinner, I went for the cake and ate half of it.

That night we packed all our belongings and went to sleep.

“Amy, it’s time to leave,” said my father. “Wake up, Amy. Amy…”

“Okay, wait, I need to take a shower and brush my teeth,” I told my father. I am definitely NOT a morning person.

I jumped out of my bed, grabbed fresh clothes, and ran to the bathroom. The first thing I did was grab my toothbrush and toothpaste and brush my teeth. I washed my face with fresh water and got in the shower. I got out of the shower and reached for the towel. I put on my clothes and looked in the mirror, imagining my life in Florida. Good thing my dad bought a house in Florida. At least we would have a roof to sleep under. Would I miss living in Minnesota? I didn’t think so. I got out of the bathroom and looked in my closet for a sweater. I grabbed my plain white sweater and ran to the kitchen.

“I’m starving,” I told my father as I opened the fridge and grabbed a waffle and then grabbed some syrup and whipped cream. I got the toaster out and connected it to the plug on the wall.

Chiing!!! I jumped and turned around; my waffle was ready. I sat down to eat and looked at my dad. He was always hungry; his mouth was full of yesterday’s leftovers. I jumped into the passenger’s seat and waited for the journey with my dad. Rrr! went the car when my dad turned the car keys into the engine, and our journey began getting a little closer to Florida every time the wheels of the car advanced an inch. My dad turned into 711 and parked under the 3rd gasoline spot, and we both opened our doors, got off, and walked towards the front door of 711. We were now two hours closer to Florida, but I was already tired of sitting for what seemed like forever.

We were almost in Iowa. We just needed one hour more. I grabbed some Turbos, Watermelon Arizona, gum, Hershey’s, jelly beans, Sour Patch Kids, and an ice cream box of vanilla with caramel.

“Are you going to eat all that?” asked my dad.

“Yes,” I informed him. “You know, it’s a long journey.”

“Oh, wait.” He ran over to the healthy snacks area and grabbed a package of mixed nuts, vitamin water, and an apple. He had been trying to get fit, and so far, so good. He was trying to get a six pack now, but wasn’t he too old for that? I had tried backing him off that six pack achievement, but I guess when he had something in his head, there was no way to get it out no matter how many times you tried shaking it out of his head.

I got into the car and popped open my drink. My dad brought the car to life. I was getting sleepy.

“Amy, wake up,” said my dad as he grabbed my hand in a warm way. “We stopped at Denny’s because I was starving, like always.”

We both laughed, and I rubbed my eyes.

“Not really,” I said. “Anyways, what time is it?”

“Uh, wait…” My dad put his hand in his jeans pocket and pulled out his phone.

“It’s 4:56. You slept about four and a half hours,” my dad informed me.

“Table for two?” asked the young man right after we entered Denny’s.

I nodded, and he led us to the right side of the dining hall. As we sat down, he gave us the menus. He turned around and walked inside a door where I thought the chef was cooking. I just wanted chocolate chip pancakes.

“If he comes while I’m in the bathroom, tell him I want Sprite, okay?” I told my dad as I got up and walked to the bathroom.

When I got out of the bathroom, I looked at our table and saw the table with a coffee and a Sprite. I sat down while my dad was pointing at a picture of a huge hamburger with a thin stick in the middle helping the hamburger to stay together.

“I want two chocolate chip pancakes,” I informed the young man with a badge that read GREG. He nodded and headed to the door again, and I saw him hand our orders to an older man. When we got back in the car, I was full and tried to sleep, but I couldn’t fall asleep again.

“Two for one night is going to be $158 with 74 cents,” said the lady at the front desk while my dad pulled out his money and spilled a couple of coins on the floor. They went ‘round and ‘round and then finally stopped on the floor, waiting for me to pick them up one by one.

When I opened the door, I ran to the bed and fell on the bed. The bed felt like a big, fluffy cloud. Almost as fast as I had fallen on the bed, I fell asleep and woke up to my dad shaking me to wake up. I went to the bathroom and found out they didn’t have a shower. So, I just brushed my teeth and fixed my hair. When my dad started the car and we headed to the freeway, I had slept eight hours in the hotel, so I wasn’t sleepy. For about an hour, I looked out the window while eating my Turbos chips. We stopped at this gas station named Pilot to use the bathroom and then got on the freeway again; the sign read 13½ miles more for Alabama. Just a couple of hours more. I look at the minivan’s clock when I got in the car from IHOP; I was full. I hoped that lasted the rest of the day. Yes, 2 ⅓ hours more for Florida, but we needed to go to Tallahassee, Florida. It was too quiet; my dad and I hadn’t talked since we got in the car from IHOP. When we arrived at our new home, we ate basal soup and unpacked half of our belongings. Luckily, my dad had already ordered our beds and furniture to be placed.

“Tweet, tweet,” went a bird that had its nest on the outside of my window.

The next morning, I opened the curtains to my window, and the sun shined bright on my face while the birds sang to their newborn chicks. I had a feeling my luck just started to change.