January 12, 2009
By Ashley Pham, Unalaska, AK

California is my birthplace. The place I love to go to shop at the malls. However, the heat is unbearable, but you get use to it, eventhough it takes time. The all you can eat buffet, at my favorite Chinese restaurant, is where my family and I love to eat for birthdays and special occasions.

California is where my brothers live with their dad and their other family members. I especially favor my big brother Andrew who I love a lot. I respect him and he respects me. We’re a lot alike, like big brother like little sister, like yin and yang, living together in harmony. As long as he stays in California and I stay in Alaska we get along just fine.

California is a place where my neighbors were also my friends. Soggy and Louise lived next door. They are fun, and nice to play with. I miss them very much. I wish I could see them again sometime. I will never forget anyone and I will never forget my birthplace, Sacramento, California.

Once I step off that plane I say to myself; “Ah home sweet home, California the coolest place in the world” (Well in my world that is). From the moment my family and I get off the escalator, my grandparents are right there waiting to give us a hug. But that has all change. Now my brothers to pick us up at the airport. But from the instant I see my big brother, I am so happy to see him, once again.

Within a week, we are shopping at the malls and stores. Normally Sherwood Mall which has the cool shops, the good food, and the fun arcade center. This so is awesome_ especially the arcade! It has games, prizes, coins, and tickets. The place is a lot of fun. Some games are easy, some are hard, some are difficult, while some are simply easy. That is how I rate the games. The cafeteria food is great too. Some foods are likable, some are marginal, depending on the person eating the food they can be tasty; but I can be picky.

The shops are cool, some are fun, some are boring, especially when you’re with your mom shopping for clothes. It’s great shopping about what to buy with my mom but I have to always make the decisions when my mother sees the design. At Clairs and Idg shops are the best, because there are so many amazing accessories for girls. Most girls tend to spend lots of money looking great for school.

During my stay at my grandparent’s house, it is hard being there with my brothers. They tease me, burp on me, and worst of all, fart on me. It doesn’t make any difference because they always have had these gross behaviors. However, when they start being nice, everything starts to change for the better, even if it’s just for five seconds! Then everything reverts back to normal.

At that moment I always cry, “I wish that lola and lulu were here!” but my prayers are never answered, because my Filipino grandparents will never return to the beautiful U.S.A.
On their journey back to their homeland, the Philippines. My grandparents left some of their most beautiful possessions behind, because they were too fragile to take with them. We gave away some of their beautiful things which hold so many memories from my grandparent’s past, like the leaping Coy-fish made from China and a bed’s back board with a beautiful picture of a lovely goddess printed on the mirror. One-by-one every memory drives far away from their home.
So then we cleaned and painted to clear away what was left of the house: the precious smell of my grandparents, now covered with paint, the beautiful blue wall that was once my grandparent’s bed room now covered in white. The magnificent orange-peachish color paint, once everywhere on the walls in every place of the house, now covered in white. so many beautiful and fragile memories now have driven away in strangers cars. So many precious colors now have been covered in white.

Two months have passed by so slowly in beautiful California.
We went to Wal-Mart to buy some school supplies. For the beginning of the new years. It has been fun while the fun lasted. Now my family and I must pack up and leave beautiful California. We wake at five although the sun hasn’t risen yet, nor have my siblings. My mother and I rise up from our slumber and awaken the remaining four children that are resting in their sweet little dreams.
We get into the car and pack our things and drive for hours.

We say our good-byes, hug, and go up the elevator, - realizing we will not see each other… again.

Several hours later, when we got off the plane I said to myself in my mind: “Hello Unalaska, I am home, once again.”

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