Sending Off An Adventurer

My sister left this week.

One of my sisters. I have a few.

This particular sister is nineteen. I’ve mentioned her before. She has been living with me for the last several months, but she is off now.

Off adventuring.

I drove her to the airport on Tuesday. We talked about boys the whole drive.

Okay, one boy.

Okay, Colin Firth, in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.

In other words, we had a great time. After a two hour drive, I dropped her off and left her all alone. By herself. She flew to Austin, Texas, then to Iceland, and finally to Amsterdam, where she was picked up by the staff of the school she’s attending.

A lot of adventure for a nineteen year old.

In case you were wondering, yes, I’m a wreck. She’s been my best friend for a lot of years, besides being my roommate (cabin-mate?) for the last several months, and I’m going to miss her terribly. I’m not saying I cried in the car on the way home, but I cried in the car on the way home.

Just a little.

No one will sit by the fire with me in the evenings, no one will read everything I write and tell me if it’s good or not, no one will make me tea or eat all my cooking and pretend it’s amazing.

In short, I’m devastated.

But I’m very excited for her. She’ll be living in Amsterdam for three months, then transferring to an—as of yet—undisclosed location for the remainder of her school. Thanks to Skype and Facebook, I’ll be able to keep in touch with her, but she won’t really have much time to talk to me. Classes and new friends will take up most of her time.

I went to a similar school when I was nineteen, one located in West Kilbride, Scotland. I spent three months living in a castle on the beach (above), then another two months backpacking through Cambodia. It changed my life to see the sun set on the other side of the world, and I am so excited to see my sister go through the same experiences.

So, yes, I’m happy for her.

Just sad for me, because I have to live without her for a few months.

Supporting Young Authors

This week’s story does not belong to me.

That’s right. I am unashamedly posting another author’s work on my blog. Not sharing a post, not passing on a link, but posting her story on my blog.

Let me explain.

As artists, creators, and authors, we all began somewhere. We began with handwritten stories that we hid beneath the bed, dreams of books and characters that were too big and too complicated for our limited abilities, and embarrassment whenever anyone saw our work.

We all needed a place to start, and we all needed a little boost to get going.

So today, we are giving Elli a boost.

Elli is twelve. She is my little sister, a brilliant, shining example of a young woman who is learning to stretch her wings and discover just who she would like to be. This story belongs to her. I gave her advice and encouragement and corrected her grammar where necessary. But the writing and the story belong solely to her. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


I pull my small cart full of fish to the market. This is the first time I’ve sold them alone. I set my stand up once I get there. I lay my blanket down, then place my bucket of fish on it. When I open the lid of the bucket my lungs fill with the smell of fish. When I was little I had to plug my nose or I would feel sick, but I don’t mind now.

People are starting to arrive. I recognize some of their faces from last time. One of the faces I recognize is a cat, a skinny tabby with one bald leg, but he disappears around a corner. The stand beside me is selling chickens and ducks. They are very loud. The market is always loud.

I see the cat again. He’s closer now, but he dodges under a cart, and I lose sight of him. It’s getting really hot. I can hear cows and goats being sold for sacrifices. I see the cat again. He’s three or four feet away from me, he’s eyeing my fish. In the blink of an eye, he snatches a fish and disappears into the crowd. I would have chased him, but there were too many thieves in the market. Last time he stole from me, I lost all my fish because I chased him.

So I let him go. This time.

As the sun gets higher, the heat burns my skin. The air smells deeply of spices. The bells start to chime for prayer time, and people are starting to leave. I pack up my fish and go to prayer.

The cat is creeping back. He’s peeking out of the stand beside me. 

I jump and screech at him, and he runs away. I chuckle as he disappears around a corner.