Wednesday, December 24, 2014


I pushed down the lid of the suitcase and tugged on the zipper. Last time we had managed to pack for two weeks of a vacation in China. How hard could it be to fit one week of clothes inside the same suitcase? I tugged some more on the zipper. I guess it was because Annya had to bring about 549 dresses this time. -Not that she brought less when we went to China. I had almost closed it when I saw another of Annya's dresses. I had to open it again. Oh well.

My mom told us we had to make posters of the Caribbean because if we didn't, she wouldn't buy us anything from the cruise ship. I didn't really care anyway though. I helped Yung with his, and then did my homework, then made my poster. My poster was extremely plain. The water was just the same shade of blue as the sky, so all I had on my poster was blue and a little island sandwiched between the sky and sea. Then, we all went to bed.

The next morning my mom declared Annya the winner of the poster, who jumped up and down when she said it. Yung started to pout and argue that his poster was better. This Saturday was cool and rainy. my dad wanted to drop off his little blue car off at Indiana, where he owns another house. My mom drove the bigger blue car behind him, and the rest of us got to choose which car to sit in. 
"If we sit with mom, we'll probably be in danger of epic parking failure." I warned Annya and Yung. 
"I'm pretty sure I won't make any mistakes" my mom said.
 Annya and Yung who had forgotten about the poster, were now getting along fine. They knew that mom wasn't the best driver, but they also knew I was kind of just teasing, so they sat with my mom and grandmother, while I sat in the small blue car with my dad. Since my mom didn't know the way to Indiana, she followed my dad. I kept an eye on her car for a while but, like she said, she wasn't making many mistakes so I turned away. Trying to look at the car behind yours isn't so comfortable anyway. 

Yes! We finally made it! We were now in Indiana, but my dad lost his keys. "That's fine we can always make another copy" Said my mom. "I have an extra here," she held up her copy of the key.
This time my dad took the driver's seat in the bigger blue car, and my grandmother sat next to him. I sat behind my dad, and Annya sat next to me, while my mom sat behind my grandmother. Yung used my mom as a car seat. 
"Where are we going now?" I asked her. 
"New Orleans," she answered. "Then we'll spend a few hours there to explore it, and in the morning, we get on the ship." 
We ate granola bars in the car, an stopped every now and then to get gas for the car and use the bathroom. Soon, our box of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Chunk granola bars were almost empty.

I was excited to see what New Orleans would look like but we had to stop somewhere in Memphis, Tennessee, at a hotel called "Best Western" because it was to late to continue driving. My dad bought a room, and then we ate dinner at something called Chick-Fil-A. I had never heard of it before, but I did know that Annya and Yung loved it. When we were done with our meal, we headed back to the hotel. Yung bought a small packet of ketchup with him. Silly Yung!  It was a large hotel room, and I used that as an advantage to do some exercise. I didn't get to do much exercise though because my parents told me to stop running and get ready for bed. But that didn't stop me from running because the beds were high, so I had to charge at the bed and jump on. I tried to help Yung with this trick too, but Yung was still too short only smacked the bed and started wailing. Apparently that didn't go to well for him. 

My grandmother, Annya, and I, shared one bed. My mom, dad and Yung, shared the other.  The next  morning we headed downstairs for breakfast. I ate  a small swirly cake and gave some to Yung, and Annya. My mom and dad made pancakes, and my grandmother had some too. When we finished, we packed our things and continued to travel. In about a few hours, we were in New Orleans, Louisiana, and stopped at another hotel. the room was not as big, but still bright and comfortable. Then we had lunch around evening. The lunch was not exactly indoors, it didn't have a roof or door. Other buildings on the street were like this too, and you could hear people playing music from inside one building and others were dancing. One man was doing hip hop on the streets, and a homeless man was doing cheers with a glass of beer and a man in a blue uniform. New Orleans was a lot noisier than I expected it to be.

We ate pasta, and alligator sausage for dinner, then we explored some of New Orleans. we entered a shop that was about half the size of a convenience store and found shirts with words on them, some masks, and feather scarfs. It was very noisy here, and I didn't think I liked it here very much. Annya bought a feathered scarf and Yung had a T-Shirt that said "Trouble 1". My mom thought it was the perfect shirt to describe him. My mom stopped to stroke a big white bird that was not unlike a parrot, that was held by the people who were offering others to touch it. Then she caught up with the rest of us. People were having drumming competitions on the street, while other people stood on stools and dressed up as creepy ghost figures or something, and people took pictures with them. They were all using up the road but no cars came by. I had never seen a city like New Orleans before. Some were dressed up as golden statues that moved. Finally we had walked back to our car and drove back to the hotel.
"Mom? why would people dress up like creepy people and pose on the streets like that?" I asked.
"They want to take pictures and get money or tips from the people." She replied. "They're probably homeless. Lot's of people are, here."
"How come the homeless look so happy? I saw one holding a can of beer and doing cheers with another! I guess it isn't that bad being homeless, is it? I never see happy homeless people in Chicago. How does New Orleans have happy homeless?"
My mom chuckled.

This time we had two rooms: 628, and 630. My mom, dad, and Yung shared room 628, and the rest of us shared room 630. The people in room 628 had no problem sleeping in one bed because they always did, but my grandmother was glad that there were to beds in our room because as she had told us, the previous night we had been accidentally sleeping with all the blanket to ourselves, and she would wake up 2 or 3 times with a foot on top of her. So my grandmother slept on one bed, and Annya and I shared another.

Annya called room 628 various times, and threw temper tantrums when no one answered the phone. I tried to make her stop playing with the phone but she loved talking to Yung on the phone. My mom started to get mad at her when she threw temper tantrums. I told her to call mom one more time to say good night and sorry, so that maybe everyone could go to sleep in a good mood.
"Can I have a hug?" Annya asked on the phone.
"Bring Yung too," I suggested, since Yung wouldn't be able to call Annya anymore before bed.
"Yung, do you want to give Annya a hug?" My mom said from the phone.
"Noo!" we heard Yung say behind my mom who was calling Annya. We laughed, but he came anyway. At 11:12 in the night, Annya and I snuck out of the room to slip a piece of paper under room 628 with a picture of a smiley face made from sunny side up and bacon. It read "Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey" and "out of bed, sleepy head!" The other side had a picture of coffee for my mom. We would have made it for ung and dad too, if  they drank coffee, and if ung existed. (I forgot the Y). Yung is a real person, but I have absolutely no idea who ung is. Anyway, enough with this nonsense, time to move to the next paragraph!

The next morning, I woke up and got dressed, then had breakfast. We had to go to the mall to buy shoes for Annya, because my high heeled shoes that Annya begged me for her to have them, were too uncomfortable for her. On our way in my mom was talking about how she asked a old lady waiter at the hotel for coffee and the the old waiter did nothing for 15 minutes. Yung, who was listening to the conversation that was only supposed to be for mom and dad, saw an elderly women walking out of the store. "Hey look, mom! Another old lady!" he shouted.
"Yung!" my mom yelled.
The old woman only chuckled and said "That's alright!"

In the morning everyone looked like people you would usually see walking down the street. In the night it was loud and noisy, and not at all like it was in the day time. New Orleans was a strange place, but kind of interesting too.

My mom had to buy a swimming suit to bring Yung and Annya swimming on the ship and after that we drove to the ship port. I expected the ship to be wooden and that everything would be outdoors except for the cabin and bathroom, and the highest deck would have wooden picnic tables with little stations around the perimeter to buy food and drinks.

When we walked into the ship, was like a big palace or mansion with spiraling staircases and had two glass elevators with crystal shaped lights bordering them. There were 12 floors and there were red carpeted hallways travelling along the edge of the ship with one open side with glass on that side so you could see the other million hallways with crystal shaped lights everywhere. We went into an elevator with metal doors and buttons that lit up in blue around the perimeters. This was not what I had in mind at all but it was very pretty in this ship.

We walked along a blue carpeted hallway with gray pictures along the sides with a sketch of the ship in blue. We stopped at the rooms M124 and M128. My dad opened them up with some plastic cards. He pressed a light switch and the lights flickered and turned on. Inside was painted orange, had a few closets and drawers and a rectangular mirror was hanging over the set of drawers. There were three beds in the cabin; one with a low mattress that Annya wanted to sleep in, that he could place her feet by the drawers, another next to a curtain which my grandmother slept in, and the third was on the opposite wall of Annya's bed, and there was a TV at the top corner of the room. There was also some shiny, red, metal night lights above each bed. There was a mat on my bed that said. " I'm like a yoga mat for your luggage. If your luggage does yoga." I laughed and put it on the set of drawers. Annya started playing with the phone again. I sighed. My parents got one big bed, and Yung got a tiny one in the corner. One that was just perfect for him! He was so pleased with his bed! I was so la that Yung got a miniature bed of his own!

 We had lunch on the 11th floor which was outdoors, and very sunny, but then we went indoors on deck 11, and ate fruit and Yung ate some of his vanilla cupcake with yellow, green, blue, and pink frosting all swirled together. The cupcake was cute, but I thought the ice cream machine was the most fun. My dad tried giving Yung chocolate ice cream but he didn't know that you had to turn off the ice cream machine when you were done, and the ice cream kept coming until there was a messy heap of ice cream on the cone. Yung thought that the ice cream tasted weird and it was to big for him so he set it down on the bowl and I made one for him that was chocolate and vanilla and this time. It turned out a lot neater. I tried making one for myself to but no vanilla ice cream came out. Later, Yung saw that the cone that my dad had put ice cream in had disappeared.
"Hey, the cone melted instead of the ice cream!" Yung said, looking at the ice cream with no cone in the bowl.
"No, grandma is eating it, Yung!" I told him.
Yung started giggling. "Hee, hee, hee, heh, heh!"

That night, grandma and I took pictures of the of the boats next to us that we were sailing past. They looked like giant glittering sculptures, glowing through the night. It was almost like the buildings in Chicago in the night, only floating on the water, which was glowing a tiny bit too. We tried to get good pictures but the pictures never seemed to capture the glow of the ships sailing past. Or was it just our ship sailing past those ships? It was hard to tell, but I think our ship was the moving one. After all, we were the only one moving in this direction. The boats lit up golden lights, with a little bit of red. Grandma and I watched for a while. Then we went back to look for my mom and dad.

For dinner, the waiter gave you a piece of bread to spread butter on. I had a pasta of the day for dinner, then a fruit cocktail for dessert. My grandmother's birthday was about two days ago, and somehow the waiter, Armando Jr., found out and brought her a slice of chocolate cake with a candle on top. We all sang happy birthday to her, and then she blew out the candle and invited us to try some, because she didn't like chocolate very much. I absentmindedly, without looking at the cake took a piece and felt a hard waxy stick in my mouth. "Plaeh!" I spat it out and looked down. The rest of my family was laughing.
"You ate the candle!" My dad laughed.
I laughed along with them.

After dinner, we went to see a show. At the end, a  comedian with short red hair talked to the audience and introduced herself "...I also love my nephew, Daniel," she said. " he's turning 21 this year. His parents have taught him well: Don't do drugs, don't smoke, don't drink... Basically don't do anything!" The audience laughed. I didn't get the joke though. "I have a birthday surprise for him when he's 21. He asked: 'what is it?' I told him that I wasn't going to tell him because it's a surprise that I had been saving for him since he was 4 years old. In the morning, on his birthday he'll wake up, ready to see what the surprise is, and I'll be standing over his bed, and POW!" she said making a violent gesture with her arm. "Surprise! That's what you get for putting peanut butter in my VCR when you were four!" Yikes! I was glad to go back to the cabin after that.

When we went back to the cabin, my grandmother found an animal made of towels an some black circles for eye that could easily be taken on and off. I never got to know what kind of animal it was though, because its head fell off before I got to see it. What I did get to see though, was three little chocolate squares, about one inch long, wrapped in white and in red and blue, said "sweet dreams" and a small black word that said "carnival" underneath the red and blue. One was for Annya, one was for grandmother, and another was for me. I went to see if my mom, dad, and little brother got any. When I saw Yung though, he was eating one, with another wrapper by his side.
"Yung? Are you sharing with mommy and daddy?" I asked
"I'm not sure they want any." said Yung thickly, his mouth full of chocolates. Yung loves sweets!

I settled into the bed. "Wa'an" I said to my grandmother. It means "good night" in Chinese. "Wa'an" she answered.

The next morning, we ate breakfast at the imagination resteraunt, and explored the ship some more.
Annya, Yung, mom, and dad went swimming.

When it was night time, Annya and I had to dress up because you were supposed to dress up formally that night. Annya was throwing a temper tantrum so after taking a few pictures, we sent her to the kids camp. Then when she was done dancing there, and in a good mood, we went back to eat dinner.

I had pasta again, this time in mozzarella cheese, shaped like bows, and shrimp. My mom made me try some snail. Bleah! I was absolutely stuffed with pasta and fruit.

Once we went back to our cabins, I found a towel pig with chocolates again. Apparently every day here was the same, and I wondered when we would discover another interesting place on the ship.

In the morning, it turned out, we  had found a great place on the ship for Annya to play. Annya liked the kids camp! S now going to the kids camp was a good place for Annya to go, so that day it was just mom and I, while my grandmother stayed in her cabin, and Yung and dad watched television in theirs. My mom and I explored the very top of the ship, deck twelve, and found a miniature outdoor golf course.
"Wow! We should take Yung up here sometime." My mom told me.
"Yeah!" I agreed.
When we went back inside, there were some shelves with pictures all over them. We managed to find one that we took before we had got on the ship, when a photographer took a picture of us in front of a large poster, to make it look like we were standing in front of the Elation ship. We found another another with us eating dinner with a pirate on the first day. Then we went back to the cabins to get Yung to play golf with us. We were able to get through many of the sections, with Yung running up an down small hills chasing the ball into the hole. It started raining a little bit after that so we went back inside.
Later we picked Annya back up and in the night time, went back to the inspiration restaurant. My mom suggested I get pasta again, when I didn't know what to pick but it was the same pasta in tomato sauce again, with meatballs and parsley on top, that I got on Monday. For dessert I got two cookies on a giant plate, but Yung and Annya snatched them up before I could eat them. That was alright, I was too full for dessert anyway.

On Thursday, we had breakfast on the 11th deck, outdoors. We could see that we were at Mexico already. Annya brought her purse with her and we walked right off the ship, for the first time in days, were finally walking on land, and not rocking on a ship. The boat was very stable though, but last night you could feel it rocking back and forth.

We saw many palm trees with coconuts on them, or some kind of strange fruit that hung beneath its enormous leaves. Then, we headed for a tour, and saw some ancient Mayan buildings. The tourist spotted Yung, climbing on some large clumps of stone, put together by Mayans, and Annya too.
"What is his name?" said the tour guide.
His accent was very strong, it was hard to know what he was saying.
"Yung" said my mom and dad.
"Lung! Lung, come over!" He told Yung. He also told Annya and Yung that climbing the builing was forbidden but Annya and Yung only continued to climb. I was very annoyed with Annya that day, for teaching Yung bad examples.
Later, Yung told me that Annya had told him that she had found a lollipop in my grandmother's purse.
"Emma, how do you say, 'I want a lollipop in Chinese'?" he asked.
"I don't know, ask mom"
My mom told him to ask me.
"Alright, alright!" I said.
I really didn't know how to say 'lollipop' in Chinese, but I could say candy. I made Yung say please in Chinese too, to my grandmother, but he forgot how to say it. I told her that Annya had found a lollipop in her purse yesterday, but she told me she had offered it to her yesterday. Annya had been too full to eat it, so she only told about it to Yung. My grandmother gave a little orange flavored lollipop to Yung, who demolished it in seconds. He always bites his lollipops.
Annya regretted telling him that there was a lollipop in my grandmother's purse that day, because Annya and I both decided, that we would have liked some candy too.
When the small family tour was over, we went to a beach. I was disappointed at finding only one tiny seashell on the beach, but I had fun playing with Annya and Yung by the waves, despite the fact that they made my pants all wet. Annya didn't mind though.
When we were about to leave, Annya begged for a necklace that I found rather ugly. A man was trying to sell many necklaces, and said that it was a good charm, or something, to give little children these kinds of pendants. Annya kept on begging for it though and my mom told her that if she paid ten dollars for this, Annya wouldn't get anything else. Annya promised, and stowed it away, safely, in her purse.
Later, when we left, my mom brought two giant T-shirts for Yung and Annya to wear, because they were all dripping wet. Annya had to take off her purse for this. The wet pants were quite embarrassing, but there didn't seem to be any pants there, and even if there were, I'd have to change out in public like Annya and Yung which both seemed to be wearing baggy dresses. I was definitely not going to change my pants in public anyway.

We hopped back into the taxi, with me sitting on wet, sandy pants, and Annya realized she had left the purse! With the necklace inside!
"Annya!" I yelled. "That was a big waste of money! And you only just got it!"
"Annya, I am never going to buy you anything for the rest of the trip for sure. That's what you get for begging." mom told her.
"It's no big deal," I said sarcastically "The necklace was ugly anyway."
Later, Annya started to cry. But luckily, the taxi driver drove us back to that little outdoor shop, or station, and my dad got her purse back.
As we walked back, my mom spotted a statue.
"It' surprising to see a real statue after being in New Orleans and seeing live ones."
"Yeah, I saw lots of people painted gold and posing" I answered. We headed back toward our cabins when we got back on our ship, then we ate dinner.
That night was Thanksgiving night so I ordered turkey, which was piled up in a stack, and some mashed potatoes to go with it were served at the side. It didn't look like a lot but I wasn't even able to finish it. For dessert, I ordered a pumpkin pie, but it seemed to be a chocolate cake. There was crust at the bottom, then chocolate cake, then a layer of mushy stuff, that I guessed was pumpkin pie, and the a layer of chocolate on the top. There was a slab of chocolate shaped like a triangle at the side, an a chocolate ribbon that curved  all the way from the slice of cake, or pie and lead to a small cookie at the bottom. This cake was very interesting, but I felt bad for Yung who ordered another ice cream because he doesn't like to try anything new, so I gave him the triangle of chocolate at the side of the cake. I wished they could make the portions of food a little smaller, because again, I was very full, and so was Annya. I don't know about Yung though, because he was still able to fit in all the chocolates in his cabin without sharing with my mom or dad. They probably didn't want any anyway, though. I decided to stay with my grandmother to learn more Chinese in the cabin and fold papers, while the rest headed out to see another show.
I was feeling happy about being here, but I also wish I hadn't missed out on school for Monday and Tuesday. I was getting tired of this rocky ride. This boat was rocking this way and that way and I had only just had dinner...              
When mom, dad, Annya, and Yung came back, I was very grateful that I hadn't thrown up yet, and my parents left me to take care of Annya and Yung. They wanted to watch TV but I didn't want to leave them both in my parents cabin, so I made them watch TV in grandmother's cabin instead. Yung sat on my bed next to me. My grandmother told us that it was time to go to bed and to tell Yung to go back to mom an dad's room. I told her that they were at a performance and that Yung had to stay, o she let us stay up late. Annya continued to watch Scooby-Doo, while I hoped that my parents would come to pick Yung up soon. Yung was already sound asleep, but I couldn't go to sleep until he left, because he was on my bed. I turned off the light so that my grandmother could go to bed too, but Annya still watched the television. It seemed to take forever for my parents to get back, but they finally did so we woke up Yung to go back to their room. For only one night, Yung slept on his own bed by himself but on others, he slept for half of the night on his bed, then crawled back to his mom's and dad's bed. Annya was very upset that she was not able to finish her Scooby-Doo episode, because I  made her brush her teeth and go to bed.

We stopped at another place in Mexico in the morning at a beach. The water was a lot more dirty than the last one, there was moss and plants by the the water, but a lot of seashells. Yung an I collected many seashells and put them in a bag. We also bought a small Mayan calendar. And Annya got a new hat, even though my mom told her she wouldn't be getting anything else for her on the trip. We went back to the ship with many, many seashells.

In the night time, I had fried chicken and an almond cake for desert, and then we saw a magic show, went back to our cabins, and my parents left me with the same job again. I was dropped off at the kids camp. Annya and Yung were both at separate camps, so I was alone, trying to mummify people by wrapping toilet paper around someone. At the end it was a big mess of toilet paper that that we played a game with. Gross! After that, we played bingo and sometimes we won Swedish Fish. I gave some to Yung and Annya when we were finally out of the camps.

When we went to pick up Yung from his camp, we watched him while he lay there watching a movie, and wearing a T-Shirt he had colored himself. I, in fact colored one too, and also brought a whistle back which I gave to Yung. Annya got a whistle too and also had a shirt that she had colored.

Annya told us about a movie that was called Cruise, I had watched some Madagascar movie but I forgot what it was really called, because most of the time I had been coloring my T-Shirt, and Yung told us all about the movie that seems to have become his favorite, called "Rio". I remembered the time when we had saw it at a theater but Yung had been too young to remember it, so I was glad he got to see it again.

In the morning it was time to get off the ship, and we we were back at New Orleans, so we drove from New Orleans to Chicago without stopping at any hotels, and when we got back, it was midnight. The house smelled good for some reason, it always does when we come back from long trips, and I was very glad to be back home. We had lots of fun on the cruise, and I hope I will never forget it!

                                                           The End