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Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Story: Sixth Grade

My mom is an alien! A perfectly legal one of course, but still, it says right on her driver’s license that she is an alien. Do you know how cool it was to tell all of my friends that growing up? Though Mom was born in England, she was raised in Australia, having moved there at age 4 for her dad’s new job. As kids we would quote wonderful movie lines such as “And we all know Australia’s entirely populated with criminals” (Princess Bride) to her, teasing that someone must have stolen a loaf of bread to deserve Australia. For some reason she didn’t entirely appreciate our teasing, being proper British and all.

For this reason, in 6th grade, we went to Australia for the second time ever. The first time was when I was in kindergarten. My mom, my older brother, my baby sister and I all left for Australia two weeks before my dad and 2 younger brothers would join us. On the flight there, I hadn’t yet recovered from a stomach bug and ear infection. I ended up throwing up in the bushes at the LA airport, and my ear infection only got worse in New Zealand, as well as a bout of bronchitis for my baby sister.

While in New Zealand, we stayed with Mom’s old flatmate, or roommate. We went on grand adventures such as a tour on a fishing boat, and a large penguin exhibit. All of it was going perfectly, other than the illnesses, until we got a call from Dad saying Grandma had just suffered a heart attack, and it was uncertain whether or not she would survive. Mom spent forever getting out flights rearranged in order to leave a few days earlier to get to Australia.

When I walked into the hospital room, I was overwhelmed with all of the tubes and cables going in and out of my grandmother. She was barely coherent and didn’t seem to understand the gifts I had brought for her, though I knew she appreciated them.

We stayed with my uncle in his massive, three story house and I forged a friendship with my cousin that still remains strong to this day, though I haven’t seen her since that trip. We did everything together. I followed her to church activities, we went Christmas shopping together, and I was with her when she got a bloody nose at the park. I later told my uncle in the presence of company that my cousin had had a bloody nose and was harassed endlessly for swearing. Apparently you’re supposed to say that so and so had a blood nose, not bloody nose!

My brother was baptized in a river in Australia, on Christmas day. The next day, Boxing Day, we spent at the beach. The entire trip was wonderful, except that my poor grandmother was stuck in the hospital. She did make a full recovery, and the doctors felt that  the presence of her American grandchildren gave her the strength to overcome her heart attack.

Dad could only spend two weeks in Australia, so he flew out there with my younger brothers later, and left with my older brother and me. I think I spent at least half of the 16 hour flight in tears. My heart was broken, not knowing when, or if I would see my Australian family again, especially my cousin who had become my best friend and like a sister to me. Every time I heard what my mom and younger sibling were doing in Australia without me, my heart broke again, and I was filled with jealousy.

We were immediately thrust back into school and work, and life continued on for us, but I have never lost the desire to go back to that magical land down under!

Join us each week as we recount our life experiences with Mommy’s Piggy Tales.

For more of My Story visit these links:


  1. I've always wanted to go to Australia! That's one place I've never been. I am so glad your Grandmother was OK!

  2. That's a fun story to be able to tell - that your mom is an alien. It's amazing that you were already planning a trip when your grandmother got sick. So cool that you've been to Australia twice, and I hope you get to go back one day!

  3. what a cool story! Thanks for sharing. Any time you want to go to Australia again, I'll be happy to tag along! ;)

    ~ melscoffeebreak.blogspot.com ~

  4. super fun to read this tale. Have you ever gone back?