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Friday, February 4, 2011

One Kind Word Can Be Remembered Forever

I had to move back to Kansas from Africa when I was in sixth grade. It was halfway through the school year and we lived in Johnson County for about a month. We owned a house in a different city but it was being rented at the time so we had to wait for them to move out. I attended an elementary school for two weeks in Kansas City. I know there is a lot of bias towards Johnson County kids here in Kansas, but I want to say that of all I had to deal with after moving, these kids were by far the kindest to me. I know they thought I was weird, because I was. I was a scrawny white kid with huge glasses and weird clothes. I'm sure I stared at everything they found normal like I was a tourist waiting for the short bus to take me around and explain everything, but they were still nice to me.

It sounds simple, but you have to remember that children can be amazingly cruel. Maybe they talked behind my back; most likely a good portion of them have forgotten all about me since I wasn't there for very long, but during my two week stay at that school they took me under their American umbrella of culture and taught me simple things. I didn't know what four-square was; the taught me. I still hate four-square; that's not their fault. Most importantly, they taught me what the magical Little Debbie snacks were. I had never had one, laid eyes on one, touched one, etc. Upon my first bite angels descended into the cafeteria and sang a beautiful Little Debbie Hymn just for me.

I want to extend a thank you to those children. Granted, I don't remember any of their names and they don't remember mine, but I am still grateful to them for the way they took the time to let me know it was okay to be that different from other people.

That is a lesson I didn't fully understand until I moved to Illinois for college.

Probably because the most common things said about me were 'Why isn't she black?' and 'Wow, she learned English really quickly!'

To answer those, living in Africa does not automatically make you black, and we were missionaries so I had the English language down pretty well since that's what I spoke. You're welcome if you were confused.


  1. That was sweet of them. :) It's always nice to hear stuff like this.

    For a bunch of college kids, they don't sound that smart, lol. :)

  2. 4 square wasn't even invented yet when I was in school.

  3. damn those kittens! i really have nothing nice to say so i want to say nothing, but..damn. those. kittens.

  4. Hahaha I hated 4 squares too. Cause everyone would purposefully hit me.

    And no offense but you being a white girl moving to Kansas from Africa is a lot like Lindsey Lohan from Mean Girls.

  5. Kindros: I should clarify. Those were things said about me when I came back from Africa. In college I didn't really talk about the whole missionary kid thing a lot, I just worked on accepting myself.

    OT: You're lucky. It sucks.

    Bruce: Someone should contact PITA so you can get an award. Kittens around the world thank you.

    Becca: Thank you so much!

    Adorkable Ditz: I hated when that movie came out (although I secretly liked the movie) because that became the connection. There were some truths, mainly the culture shock thing. I, however, did not try to ruin anyone's life because of a boy and then take over the entire school. Also, I don't think anyone has ever been run over by a bus because of me.

  6. You mean to tell me that everyone who lives on the entire continent of Africa is not black? That just blows my feeble little mind. Wait...everyone in Europe is white, right? Because THAT would just be crazy...

    Just thought I'd throw some bitchiness your way as I've been MIA for a few days.

    a bitch called mom


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