Today was a little bit sad because I had to say bye to my best friend Violetka. However, we still were quite busy my last week here, and Violet and I promised to visit each other soon.
Here are a few things we did over the last week-
Violetka was unaware of the reasons my family doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving. As I told her more about the Pilgrims and the disease and ignorance they brought to the new world, she understood. I think she was sad, because she had some tears in her eyes and she hugged Kaya a lot.
After Thanksgiving we visited the farmhouse for the night. I can really see why Violence loves it down here, it is so peaceful. The only thing that would make it better would be if they had a Jr. Ranger program. Violet and I agree that we are the best Jr. Rangers ever.
And today I packed up my things and said goodbye and hugged Violence. I'm headed home!
Today I woke up and finally became eleven years old! Hurrah! I am so excited! Plus, DyaDya Ethan and Tyotya Jess had a special birthday surprise; they booked a hotel room at Snowbird Cliff Lodge (at a very famous Utah ski resort)so we could spend my birthday weekend in the Utah mountains. Holy hotdogs I'm lucky!
Right when I woke up Violetka pulled out all of my presents, and there was a huge pile! It is so fun opening birthday presents first thing in the morning. And guess what else? We ate birthday cake for breakfast!
After birthday cake and lots of awesome presents we went to the Cliff Spa, where we relaxed and swam in the rooftop pool. I've never been to a spa before, but now that I'll eleven, I'm old enough. And, when you are swimming, you have a perfect view of Snowbird ski resort.
Relaxing in the Solarium-
And swimming in the rooftop pool!
After our very busy morning we went on a hike. It was warm enough that we didn't need coats, but we still needed our snow boots because there is already snow here. What a great birthday!
Tonight we are going to make spaghetti and watch old Cheburashka videos. Sounds perfect.
Violet says there are lots of surprises planned, but she won't tell me a single one. Stinkbugs! All this birthday planning is making me more excited, I've never spent a birthday in Utah before.
We are busy playing games, watching movies and raking leaves. Also, I've been working on my journal, because I'm going to mail home on Monday, and I want to be ready to go. Violence is nice enough to let me use her desk AND her colored pencils. Thank you Violence! I hope I get back to New York by Thanksgiving. Do you think I will?
Hurrah! Did you know that NASA produces rockets for space missions here in Utah? Neither did I! DyaDya Ethan knew though, and on the way home from Golden Spike National Historic Site, we stopped. Imagine that, becoming a Jr. Ranger, spending the day with Violence and seeing rockets all in one day.
Also, Violence has been working on a photo album of my time here so far, and she wanted to make sure I posted it. Here is the link.
Holy Hotdogs, with this many Junior Ranger badges, Violet and I might as well be real rangers! Yesterday Dyadya Ethan drove all the way up to the top of the Great Salt Lake (over two hours) so we could become Jr. Rangers at Golden Spike National Historic Site. This is where railroad workers finally connected the railroad across the USA in 1869. There was a huge party, and two trains met on the tracks there. Never again would people have to take horses across the country, because the train was complete!
Violence and I learned a lot about steam engines. Did you know that neither of the locomotives that met on the track on that historic day were the ones planned to be there? We learned a lot, and then we got our badges. We rock.
Here we are on the very last tie that connected the entire country! There is no longer a Golden Spike, it is now in a museum in California.
Violetka and I are having so much fun! We've been trick-or-treating, played witches and black cats in the back yard, visited the farmhouse and next weekend we are going to get another Jr. Ranger Badge!
But, with being this busy, we didn't forget to vote. (Well Tyotya Jess and DyaDya Ethan voted, because they are old enough). Violence and I just showed our support.
Tonight we are going to have a party and eat pizza, watch the news and cheer on Obama!
You won't belive who I am with - VIOLENCE! You probably guessed correctly, but it is true, I am here with Violence, in Utah, as I type. I'm spending Halloween, the election, and the 91st anniversary of the October Revolution on November 7 in Utah! Also, Violet's Mama has been working on a Halloween costume for me, but they say I can't see it until Friday. Stink bugs. I wonder what I'll be. Any guesses?
Hi everyone! I'm finally back from my trip to the hospital. I had to have surgery on my feet because I got a weird infection from my Keens. I had a lot of fun. They let me eat ice cream out of little cups with a wooden spoon. The only bad part is that when I woke up from my surgery, I wasn't wearing any underpants under my hospital gown! How embarassing!
Guess what though? While I was in the hospital, someone gave me a really hardcore bath. Now I have an eye infection. It's really hard for me to open my eye without thrashing around all crazily. I might have to go back to the hospital! Poop dogs!
It's almost October and guess what that means? I get to visit Violet in Utah! I can't wait!
Violet and I had this picture taken last week. Since we're homeschooled, we don't have school photos taken. Instead, we went to American Girl Place and had our portrait done with our dolls! It was so much fun. We both wore our AGP hoodies and carried an American Girl doll. I already miss Violetka so much.
I'm off an a new adventure- guess where I'm blogging from this time? The hospital! My red Keens gave me a really itchy, painful, red rash. I had to come to the Doll Hospital in Wisconsin to get seen by a doctor. I hope everything goes well! Think of me, okay? I should be home in a few weeks.
Today is Violetka's last full day in New York City with me. We've had such a great time together for the past few weeks. She's still here, but I'm already feeling a little sad because I know I will miss her so much. We had a great day together today, because we knew it's our last one for some time. Guess what? Violence's name isn't actually Violence! It's Violet, like the Russian word "фиолетовый," the color purple!! Isn't that funny? I decided that I will have to call her Violetka because she needs a Russian name!
We got up early this morning to go to our last National Park Service site. I think we saved the best for last; we saw the African Burial Ground. It was so powerful. Violetka and I were both crying when we watched the movie they showed us. We held hands and promised one another that we will both always work for peace and justice.
The Ranger told us that the African Burial Ground National Monument doesn't have its own Junior Ranger program yet, but she gave us the Underground Railroad Junior Ranger program to do. And guess what? They are picking the design for the African Burial Ground NM Junior Ranger badge right now! Violetka and I both let the Ranger know which of the designs we liked better. (The one with the sinfoka.)
I think that the African Burial Ground NM is probably the most important thing you should visit if you ever visit New York.
After the National Monument, we both felt like we needed to cheer up a little bit, so we went rollerskating! Well, actually Violet has rollerblades- so we went wheelbooting! She's such a good wheelbooter, because she takes ice skating lessons. Violet taught me to do jumps! Awesome!
I am going to miss Violence so much. It's so hard when your best friend lives all the way on the other side of the country. We are so lucky that we got to see each other twice this year!
P.S. Notice anything different about Violence? She got her ears pierced!
Violence and I got another Junior Ranger Badge! Hurrah! It's from Castle Clinton, an old old fort in Battery Park. It used to be way out in the harbor, but they made Manhattan bigger by dumping lots of stuff in the water.
The best part was learning about all the different things you can shoot out of a cannon- grape shot, bar shot, chain shot, and lots more!
Violence and I had so much fun yesterday. We visited the Tibet House. It's a museum and gallery with things from and about Tibet, a country under occupation by China. We saw so much coverage of protesters supporting Tibet during the Olympics that I decided we should learn more about the country. Violence agreed. That's one of the reasons she is my best friend; we always agree on what is important.
Tibet is a country high, high, high up in the Himalayas. One of the Olympic mascots (Violet's favorite) is YingYing, the Tibetan antelope. We learned about the different animals in Tibet. Did you know that pandas don't just live in China? They live in Tibet too!
Another awesome Tibetan animal is the yak! We each tried a sip of yak butter tea. I really liked it, but Violence says her favorite is violet tea from the Beehive Tea Room. I have decided that when I grow up, I am going to have lots of yaks.
We also learned that Tibet is one of the only cultures in the world where women can have more than one husband! That's called polyandry. It's not very common anymore, but we thought that was an interesting fact. I think my Tyotya Firinel is probably Tibetan, because she has two husbands too! I wonder if they are yak farmers?
The other place we visited yesterday was the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. It needs a shorter name. Like Teddyville. Teddyville was okay. We learned that Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to bring up Universal Healthcare. Violence that that was pretty cool, but honestly? If he were really great, he would have been a communist. Duh!
Last weekend, Violence and I had the chance to visit Philadelphia. We're both homeschooled and love to travel- so we read A LOT. We read on planes, on cars, on trains. Basically, the two of us are always reading. We love recommending books to each other. Earlier this year, we read some of the stories written by Edgar Allan Poe. When it turned out that his house is in Philadelphia, we asked if we could visit!
When you first get there, you have to knock on the door for a ranger to let you in. It's just a little house in a neighborhood. We knew which house it was right away, because there is a big statue of a raven in the yard!
We took a tour of the house. It was really creepy! This is us in the chimney from the story "The Black Cat." Spooky! Have you read that story? It rocks, but it made me and Violence feel all shivery!
That's our ranger guide. She was so good at telling Poe's stories in a scary voice. If you ever have the chance, you should definitely visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site.
Violence and I have been having so much fun! On Thursday, she and I went into Manhattan all by ourselves! We studied the subway and bus maps and figured out the best way to get to our destination. After riding the subway, bus, and taking a short walk, we arrived at... The United Nations Headquarters!
We had to put our backpacks through a scanner and walk through one of those airport security things. Violence and I felt so important! We pretended we were representing our countries and going to solve problems of international import.
This picture is really dark, but it shows what is just inside the visitors' entrance- Sputnik! I was thrilled that the first thing visitors see is the triumph of the Soviet Union. Hurrah! After that, we looked at exhibits of children's artwork. There was one about the Olympics, one about kids' views of the world, and one about the environment. One of the guides had a table where kids were coloring their own pictures, so we did that too.
This is a picture of us with Kofi Annan. Isn't it annoying when you ask grown-ups to take photos? They obviously didn't ask us to look at the camera. There was a wall with portraits of all the Secretaries General of the UN. I'm pretty sure that in a few more decades, Violence is going to be up there too.
Here we are in front of the UN flag! We had so much fun visiting the headquarters. If you ever visit New York, you should go! It's free, unless you want a guided tour.
I have been having so much fun since Violence came last week! Tyotya Jess and Dyadya Ethan are letting her stay for three whole weeks because they're very busy with some important project. I think they're probably opening a zoo. That would be pretty cool!
The day after Violence arrived, we went to Cape Cod, MA for five days. We had so much fun! Violence and I took lots of pictures. You can check out the album here. The first day, it rained so hard! Violence and I stayed in our tent and pretended we were stowaways in the hold of a ship. We also played Scrabble- one of our favorite games. We played so much that in the end, we were putting down all kinds of silly, imaginary words!
On Saturday, the rain cleared up and we went to Corn Hill Beach in Truro. I had my kayaking lesson! I had so much fun. I've always wanted to learn to kayak, because my ancestors were some of the people who developed it. I practiced doing and Eskimo Roll and turning.
Back on the beach, Violence had found a hermit crab. It was so little and cute! Violet let me hold it and it peeked out of its shell and waved at me.
The next day, we visited Cape Cod Light, a lighthouse on a cliff. We had so much fun walking right up to the edge of the cliff and looking way, way down to the beach below. The same day, we also went to a beach on Atlantic Ocean and boogie boarded, built a sandcastle, and caught a crab in my lobster trap!
Here's our sandfort! We stuck a Kazakh flag on top. I taught Violence a song. It goes "Kazakhstan greatest country in the world! All the other countries are run by little girls!"
That's me with my lobster trap. This was my third trip to Cape Cod, but it was definitely my favorite. It's so much fun to explore and have adventures with your best friend. I'm so glad Violence came to visit!
I was having this awesome dream that I was competing at the Beijing Olympics. I was doing the backstroke. Everyone was cheering "Go Inky! Go Inky!"; It was the best ever!
Then it started storming. The whole Water Cube was filling up with water! Oh no! Stinkbugs!
All of a sudden, I woke up- I guess I'm not an Olympian after all. Stinkbugs!
Holy hotdogs! There was a girl walking around IN MY ROOM!! While I was asleep! Yikes! I guess New York City isn't so safe after all.
"Privyet Inky! Hi Inky!" I heard a voice say. It was Violence! Awesome!
We gave each other a giant hug. We like to have contests to see who will let go first, but this time, we were so excited that we couldn't wait to start talking.
I showed Violence where she could put away her stuff. (By the way? Violence's stuff is ALWAYS purple. Isn't that weird?)
Then I gave her some loot- a Junior Ranger shirt and a YingYing shirt. I love my HuanHuan shirt and I wanted her to have an Olympic mascot shirt too.
Finally, we got to hang out and eat cupcakes. We're going to stay up really late to watch gymnastics on TV! I told Violence that I bet I can eat way more cupcakes than she can. Go Inky! Gold in Cupcake Eating!
I'm at the Statue of Liberty! My uncle, mom's little brother, came to visit New York City; he wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, so we went. On the way there, we rode a boat. It started to rain and lots of people ran off the deck into the boat. What stinkbugs! I thought it was awesome. I pretended that I was about to shipwreck.
Once we were on the island, I signed up for the Junior Ranger program. I had to watch a video and take a walk around the island.
Once I finished filling out my Junior Ranger handbook, I earned my badge. Here I am with the ranger who swore me in. After that, we were going to go to Ellis Island, but my uncle thought it would be boring, so we went home instead. Then the Olympics started! That's why I'm wearing my special HuanHuan shirt. He's one of the mascots of the game.