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Kung Hei Fat Choy! It’s the Year of the Rabbit! Mom and I were going to celebrate Chinese New Year in Portland, but we got snowed in. The year of the rabbit is so far very white. A white rabbit in a snowstorm might seem invisible, but I bet the rabbit likes it. We made dumplings and they weren’t bad for a change. Mom gave me a red packet full of laisee. That’s lucky money. I got 22 dollars so now I will buy more books!

My Chinese sign is the snake. I kind of wish I were a dragon but at least snakes are supposed to be very smart.

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Thanks come in all different flavors, like Thanksgiving pies. I’m thankful for my silly Mommy and how she sings when she’s happy (but don’t tell her that or she might get louder). I’m thankful for Tofu, my crazy pup, and Beatrice Strawberry – cockatiel extraordinaire – even though I hardly ever see them at the same time. I’m thankful for my dad, who really gets me, and even for Richard (sort of). I’m thankful for all the books I’ve read and for all the ones I haven’t. Just knowing they are out there makes me feel calm inside, like how you can’t count all the stars in the sky. I’m thankful for Colby, my friend forever, and for Mrs. O and her cookies (and pies! today she’s bringing pecan!). I’m thankful for my birth mom even though she’s a mystery, because otherwise, who would I be?  And the house smells so good today, even though the apple pie filling leaked and smoked up the kitchen.

Mom and I went to the Multicultural Book Fair! It was at the Chinese Weekend School, the one I wish I could go to except it’s over three hours from our house (and mostly I need to see Dad and Beatrice Strawberry and Richard on the weekends). But it was really great. They had non-disaster dumplings, and book-making with fancy paper, and lots of books to buy. (I didn’t find any on Uzbekistan, but that’s okay, I got three great other ones).

There was an artist who drew pictures of all the kids in sumi ink, which is Japanese, but my mom says it’s kind of like India ink. The artist drew me, too! I wasn’t very nervous even though I didn’t know any of the other kids. A lot of them go to the weekend school.  I talked to Maia. She is really nice and she lives in Cape Elizabeth. She goes to that school every weekend. I wish I could, too.

Mom and I are going to the Chinese School in Portland this Saturday. There’s going to be a book fair … and dumplings. I love dumplings. Potstickers! Mom and I tried to make some but the edges didn’t stick and they turned into Disaster Dumplings. But that’s okay, Tofu loved them. Besides, we’re going to Portland for real dumplings and books! Two of my favorite things! I almost can’t sleep!

Families are so different. When we were talking about them in school, Colby said, “It’s easier to say who I’m NOT related to in Wolfgang” because his family is big and they’ve lived here forever. Mrs. O., on the other hand, has only one cousin left, and he’s in Australia! Tofu and I are like her family now. No wonder she bakes us so many cookies. My own family is a bit messy. Dad and Richard live in Ottenbury with my darling Beatrice and sometimes me. Mom and I live here in Wolfgang with Tofu. My birth mom lives in China with maybe another family. Not everything has to be neat and tidy all the time. Messy can be good.

Geography is important. Some kids in my class don’t know where China is.  (Some kids in my class don’t even know where Montana is!) I don’t know everything, but I like to learn. Uzbekistan, for example, is fun to say. But where is it? Is there anybody in Maine who was born in Uzbekistan? The answer is probably yes.

Where in the World is EVERYthing?

Opposites need each other!

Yin yang is a Chinese idea. My mom told me about it. It’s when opposites are united. Opposites like night and day, hungry and full, war and peace. They even need each other in order to exist. I think that I, India McAllister, am a bit yin yang. Curious AND bored.

A regular Maine girl AND kind of different. Maybe everybody is made of opposites, but you just mostly see one side? I have to think about that!

When I was littleColby’s little sister Celia says she can remember when she was born. Can that really be true? I can’t even remember when Mom and Dad came to China to get me, and I was already walking by then. Mom tells me about it, whenever I ask. She even made a special book for me about the trip. Secretly, I wish I could remember when I was really really little. That way, I could remember my birth mom’s face. I like to know stuff, especially if it’s about ME.

What my father smells like makes me happy!

My dad is a good hugger. I love hugging him. He smells like old books, garlic, clean laundry, and sometimes toothpaste. Richard mostly smells like cologne, even from across the room. It makes my nose tingle.

My mom smells good, too – mostly like oil paint. A long time ago, I know I smelled my birth mom. Mom says she must have held me very close, in order to be brave enough to let me go. Maybe she smelled like good Chinese things, like dumplings. I love those.

I have no clue what my Chinese birth father smells like. There are some things you can never know and there are some things you can’t even imagine. This makes me mad and scared sometimes, but it’s okay. I can always hug my daddy dad, and he always hugs me back!!!!!

Some Old Games Never Get Corny

I have a birth mom but I don’t know her. She’s like a flower whose seed blew away in the wind, and it grew. That seed is me. But my Mommy Mom, she’s like the sun and the rain. That’s what we used to play, when I was little. And it’s true. Without her, I really wouldn’t be me, even though she’s not my birth mom. It’s confusing but it isn’t. My birth mom is probably too far away for me to ever know. But it’s okay. I have my MOM, right here. And she has me.

My name is India McAllister and these are my true, random, sort of secret thoughts.

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