Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm in London!!!

As of right this second, I am sitting in our hotel room looking out the window at the tall buildings on the horizon, the lights from London Tower Bridge spilling onto the River Thames. I am finally back home!! And if that's not enough, my brother is sitting here next to me, almost like we were never apart.

We've been here in London since Friday morning. The first thing we did was pick up my brother from the children's home. That was pretty much the best moment of my life. And, while we were there, I got to see my best friend Nellie again! It was great to see her, and she wanted to hear all about life in the USA. I didn't even know where to begin.
On Saturday, we went to gymnastics and diving events. It was so much fun watching all the athletes. I love the Olympics because it's almost like the whole world comes together for a couple of weeks, although there is one corner of the world my brother and I rooting for especially. ;)

The next day, Sunday, we watched a bike race early in the morning before going to Buckingham Palace. That place is breathtaking! We watched the Changing of the Guards, which was nothing new for William and me, but the other kids were fascinated. Justin and Sean have been marching around "guarding" our hotel room ever since. That night we watched some Olympic fencing, and I should have known it would give the boys all kinds of ideas......

We've seen Big Ben, the Natural History Museum, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye. I'm terrified of heights, and I thought the London Eye would help me conquer that, but it freaked me out even more!! It was very fun seeing all of London at once, though. I know my way around here pretty well so my dad made me the official tour guide. :) It was fun pointing out all the places I used to visit frequently.

Tomorrow is Holly's 1st birthday, so we're going to celebrate it somehow. I remember how excited I was when she was born. She's the most like a biological sibling to me, except, of course, for William. Oh and speaking of William, I've been telling him all about America and what to expect. He says he is eager to experience life in America but is sad to leave the only home he's ever known. That little kid always did talk fancy.
Anyway, that's what we've been doing! We will reuturn home on Friday, and I think coming back to America will feel more like coming home then I could have ever imagined. I guess home is wherever my family is, you know? 

Friday, July 20, 2012

My First Pen-Pal Letter

Last week, I mailed my first letter to Marie-Odette!! Here is a copy of it:

Bonjour Marie-Odette,J'ai bien aimé votre lettre. J'étais un peu nerveux à l'idée de répondre, mais mes bons amis français, Sophie et Sandrine, m'ont donné beaucoup de bonnes idées pour des choses à vous raconter. Eh bien, pour commencer, mon nom est Samantha Elizabeth Parkington-Chevalier. J'ai deux noms de famille parce que j'ai été adopté. Jusqu'à ce que je était de 8 ans, j'ai vécu dans un orphelinat à Londres, en Angleterre. Il ya des choses en Angleterre qui me manque vraiment-surtout la nourriture, et aussi mon professeur, Mme Katherine. Mais il ya de grandes choses au sujet des États-Unis.

Quand je vivais en Angleterre, il n'y avait que moi et mon frère, William. Il a huit ans maintenant et nous sommes en train de l'adopter. Depuis que j'ai été adopté, je suis 7 neufs frères et sœurs-Kirsten, Molly, Ambre, Kit, Justin, Sean, et Holly. Kirsten est de 15 et vraiment le seul à avoir un sens, de ne pas être signifie pour les autres ou quoi que ce soit. Elle est très douce et j'aime passer du temps avec elle. Molly a 12 ans et veut être une actrice. Elle a l'air pour toute occasion de se produire. L'ambre est mon âge, 10 ans, mais nous sommes très différents. Ambre aime à courir partout à l'extérieur et se salir et avoir des aventures. La plupart de ses aventures de son avoir des ennuis graves. Kit est 9 et aime le sport, si elle aime pote un peu avec les garçons. Justin est de 8 et me rappelle de William en ce sens qu'il est très doux, mais il peut avoir des ennuis à droite avec le reste d'entre eux. Sean est de 5 et il agit comme un typique 5-year-old boy. Il me rappelle William, aussi. Holly est 1 et très mignon.

Quel âge a votre sœur, Chloé? Comment est-elle? Mon père est un entraîneur de football collégial, et ma mère reste à la maison avec nous. Molly et je vais à une école chrétienne, mais le reste des enfants sont scolarisés à la maison. Qu'est-ce qu'un jour d'école habituelle pour vous?

Là où j'habite, nous avons beaucoup d'espace pour jouer dehors, et nous avons un grand jardin. Cela me rappelle de The Secret Garden, un de mes livres et films préférés. J'aime lire et regarder des films. Quels sont les livres et les films que vous aimez? Avez-vous jamais vu le Lac des cygnes?

Votre nom me rappelle du Lac des cygnes. Mon amie Sophie m'a dit de vous poser des questions sur le célèbre cuisinier, Julia Childs. Savez-vous quoi que ce soit à son sujet? Je ne sais pas beaucoup sur elle, mais j'ai vu une réplique de sa cuisine au Smithsonian Museum of American History à Washington, DC J'adore l'histoire, mais pas autant que ma sœur, Kirsten. Oh, et parlant de la cuisine, qu'est-ce que vous et votre père faire dans votre boulangerie? Mon préféré est éclairs au chocolat.

Quels sont vos hobbies? J'aime lire, regarder des films, dessiner, jouer du violon, et l'apprentissage du français. J'ai essayé de lire un livre en français, l'autre jour, Il ne va pas très bien. Vous m'avez dit que vous aimez l'équitation, et devinez quoi? Là où j'habite maintenant, j'ai deux chevaux dans ma cour!

Je suis impatient d'entendre de votre part!

And since most of you probably can't read French, here is a translation:
Hello Marie-Odette,
I really enjoyed getting your letter. I was a little nervous about responding, but my good French friends, Sophie and Sandrine, gave me lots of great ideas for things to tell you about. Well, to start out, my name is Samantha Elizabeth Parkington-Knight. I have two last names because I was adopted. Until I was 8 years old, I lived in an orphanage in London, England. There are some things in England that I really miss-especially the food, and also my teacher, Mrs. Katherine. But there are great things about the United States.

When I lived in England, it was just me and my brother, William. He is eight years old now and we are in the process of adopting him. Since I was adopted, I got 7 new siblings-Kirsten, Molly, Amber, Kit, Justin, Sean, and Holly. Kirsten is 15 and really the only one with any sense, not to be mean to the others or anything. She is very sweet and I love to spend time with her. Molly is 12 and wants to be an actress. She looks for any opportunity to perform. Amber is my age, 10, but we are very different. Amber likes to run around outside and get dirty and have adventures. Most of her adventures get her into serious trouble. Kit is 9 and loves sports, so she likes to pal around with the boys. Justin is 8 and reminds me of William in that he is very sweet, but he can get into trouble right along with the rest of them. Sean is 5 and he acts like a typical 5-year-old boy. He reminds me of William, too. Holly is 1 and very cute.

How old is your sister, Chloe? What is she like?

My dad is a college football coach, and my mom stays at home with us. Molly and I go to a Christian school but the rest of the kids are homeschooled. What is a usual school day like for you?

Where I live, we have lots of space to play outside, and we have a large garden. It reminds me of The Secret Garden, one of my favorite books and movies. I love to read and watch movies.  What books and movies do you like? Have you ever seen Swan Lake? Your name reminds me of Swan Lake.

My friend Sophie told me to ask you about the famous cook, Julia Childs. Do you know anything about her? I don’t know much about her, but I saw a replica of her kitchen at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. I love history, although not as much as my sister, Kirsten. Oh and speaking of cooking, what do you and your dad make in your bakery? My favorite is chocolate éclairs.

What are your hobbies? I like reading, watching movies, drawing, playing violin, and learning French. I tried reading a book in French the other day, It didn’t go very well. You told me that you enjoy riding horses, and guess what? Where I live now, I have two horses in my backyard!  

I am looking forward to hearing back from you!
So, what do you guys think? Can you think of anything else I should of asked her or told her? If so, I can ask her in the next letter. Thank you, Sophie and Sandrine, for your help!!

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, adieu!

Pen-pal letter

Monday, July 9, 2012

My pen-pal!

I am back from French class, and I have the first letter from my pen-pal!! Her name is Marie-Odette Lisle. (That's a really pretty name, isn't it?) She is ten years old and lives in Paris with her parents and her older sister, Chloe. Paris is divided off into sections, and Marie-Odette lives in Arrondissement 11, otherwise known as Popincourt. It is a lower-key section of Paris but contains some beautiful churches. Marie-Odette's favorite things to do are cook (cooking is considered a fine art in France!), draw, and ride horses when she gets a rare chance to do so. I have two horses in my backyard, and I have to drive pretty far to get to the city, so I guess we will have plenty to tell each other about!
Anyway, Marie-Odette told me a lot about her school. She goes to school on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and has Wednesday and Sunday off. That is not a bad idea, in my opinion. There is nothing wrong with spreading the weekend out! After school lets out, she helps her dad in his bakery, and her sister Chloe goes to ballet class. Apparantly ballet is very, very popular in France! Her family is Roman Catholic and they go to church several times a week, not just on Sundays.
I am kind of nervous about writing to Marie-Odette. She wrote almost perfectly in English, and besides that, she has beautiful handwriting. Plus, I live out in the country while she is in Paris. My mom pointed out that I have lived in two countries, and that will give me plenty to talk about, I guess. What do all of you think I should tell my pen-pal about?
Marie-Odette with her favorite doll, Emilie:

This is the picture I am going to send to her. I am holding my favorite doll, Rose. Maybe Emilie and Rose can become friends, too? :)


Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I blogged, and this one is going to be full of information. Not life-changing information or anything. Just what we've been doing lately.
The number 1 thing we've been doing is packing to go to London the first of next month. This is what our closet looks like right now. It was entirely mine and Kirsten's doing, because Mom is nowhere near that organized. She tosses the stuff to us and we do the packing.
Speaking of Mom, and my family in general, she, Molly, Sean, Holly, and I are the only ones at home right now. Dad is busy with football camp (he's a football coach), and Kirsten, Amber, Kit, and Justin are off at 4-H camp. Mom is in the middle of writing another book, so Molly and I are left in charge of Sean and Holly a lot. It reminds me of when I was the oldest kid at the orphanage, helping to take care of dozens of younger kids.

We celebrated the 4th of July at my mom's brother's house. I guess he's technically my uncle, but it's hard for me to feel that way. It's also hard for me to celebrate American being free from British rule when I AM British. What's wrong with British rule? I love England.

Molly and I have been enjoying hanging out together while the rest of the kids are gone. Mom says maybe tomorrow we can drive into the city and go play at the science center/children's museum for awhile. This past year, I've felt like I'm adjusting to my new family more than ever. I even fight with the other kids like I'm their real sister. It's been a challenge, but to quote my mom, "Clumping a bunch of strangers together and trying to make a family out of them isn't easy. It's hard. But if something isn't hard, it's usually not worth anything in the end, either."

I would end on that, but I have a few pictures to share. The first is when I video chatted my little brother last night:
Here are me and Molly hanging out in our bedroom together. It's so hot and we're trying to stay inside most of the time.

I go to French class tonight, and we are all getting French pen-pals! I am excited and nervous at the same time. Wish me luck!