Weekend Adventures: Part 1

Annie continues to have adventures on her weekends in New Zealand. This past weekend, she had another adventure going towards the mountains, and another adventure going towards the big city, Christchurch.

Saturday was a chilly day, and the family packed into the car with coats and warm hats. They started driving, and it took only a few minutes before Mommy and Daddy were again talking on and on and on about the beautiful mountains. Annie was so fed up that she made a spitting noise whenever anyone mentioned the mountains.  Annie likes to make this noise because she knows how much her parents loathe it. So it was a good start to an adventure, Mommy and Daddy in the front, saying the same things they had said before, and Annie in the back, spitting. Cora sat in her carseat – looking at her own view, of the back of a seat – and cried.

The trip got even better when Mommy and Daddy felt their usual urge to take pictures. They drove off the road and forced Annie out of the car, making her stand in front of the mountains, and ordering her to smile. Annie didn’t much want to be in her carseat, but she really didn’t want to be standing by the side of the road, with the cold wind clawing at her clothes, pretending to smile so her parents could take more pictures of the same mountains they had already taken so many pictures of. She let her parents know how she felt by whimpering and whining and making sad faces.

But then Annie realized there was a Path to follow. It was not an easy path to find – you had to look hard to find it. It meandered up a hill, between windblown grassy tussocks, and the only way to follow it was to find the orange sticks in the ground. When Annie discovered this, she realized how much fun it would be to follow the sticks up the hill, and she ran up the hill as fast as she could, from orange stick to orange stick, as Daddy ran next to her and Mommy puffed behind with Cora tucked down her shirt. Cora was squinting around with mild interest and very rosy cheeks.

Annie wanted to go so high, all the way up to the sky, and the family went pretty close to the sky and then decided that they were cold, and they should turn around and run back down. Or, Annie decided to run down. She ran down, laughing, zigzagging towards the orange sticks, with Mommy running behind shouting at her to Be Careful and Don’t Slip and Fall. Annie did not bother to listen to Mommy. Although at times she did feel it necessary to hurl herself to the ground and lie there, in her Mommy’s path, so Mommy had to stop suddenly to avoid stepping on her.

After that, Annie was in a better mood, and so she was happier when they reached their next stop, a beautiful lake. Annie ran along the beach and threw stones into the water. They did not see a piglet that was actually a doggy, as they had during their last adventure, but they did see a rock that looked like a shoe, and Annie found a beautiful tiny spiralled shell. She had just read a story about a girl who finds a shell on the beach, and the girl puts the shell on her nightstand and it grows in the night, and the girl walks inside and finds a mermaid. So Annie put it in her pocket carefully, planning to do the same thing.

Annie found another shell, too, only it had something slimy and dark inside. Mommy said it was a living thing, like a snail. Annie was fascinated and horrified to be holding it in her hand. She did not hold it for long, but threw it back quickly into the lake. She thought about it a lot afterwards, though. She discussed it with Mommy and they talked about why some shells were empty and why some still had living things in them. It was strange and intriguing, thinking about animals living in shells.

Afterwards, Annie threw some rocks into the water and listened to them make a plunk sound, and then ate an apple. She was in such a good mood that she was willing to admire the view, and even went so far as to pick out the best-looking mountain to stand in front of and pretend to smile.

Part of the reason Annie was cheerful now, of course, was bribery. Her parents had promised that if she was good, they would stop at another playground on the way home, and they kept their promise. Not only was there a good playground in the town of Springfield, but there was a giant statue of a pink-frosted donut, so large that Annie could climb up inside of it.

Mommy and Daddy had thought ahead, and brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone, which they ate at the playground. This was hard for Annie. While she was at a playground, she felt she ought to be playing. Eventually she paused long enough to scarf down her sandwich. Then she went back to playing.

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