By: Jean Claude Zarate


I woke up and looked out the car window. It seemed like the sky was mourning and crying for me. I sat there knowing everything we left behind. But the memories would stay with me. At that time, as we entered Maine, I remembered some of the stuff I had left behind. We left my sister’s turtle at my aunt’s. We separated the turtle from its friends who it would probably never see again. We left our beautiful two-story house alone–empty with no one to comfort. We left my mom’s side of the family, we left my cousins, we left our friends to find Maine.
As I looked around, I was tired. We’d been running around the parking lot in the airport in Boston looking for the car. I looked at my sister. She was probably thinking the same thing I was: How was our life going to change? As I rolled down the window, the blowing wind took away the strong smell of the trees, but I could still smell them.

I bit into a doughnut and it reminded me of the doughnut shop at the mall in Lima. Their doughnuts there were baked fresh daily and you could watch them make the dough. As I bit it, I didn’t think of the difference between real donuts with fresh frosting and cheap chemically made frosting.

The car was going at the speed of light–we were already at my uncle’s house where our family had been expecting us for two hours. My uncle and aunt had arrived hours ago from the airport, but because we forgot where the car was, we were late. Our family welcomed us with warm hugs.

The next day, my uncle took us to various places. He took us to Portland Head Light and other Maine spots. I remember going to the mall thinking it was so BIG. I remember trying Panda Express, hating it and throwing it away. Now I love Panda Express. I guess my taste for food has changed. I remember as soon as we got to the food court area, I saw the McDonald’s area. It was so small compared to the one that we’d passed by every time we went to *Metro to buy food supplies in Lima. The McDonald’s in Peru was in the middle of Lima, which is the capital city in Peru. The McDonald’s store was at lest six stories high and very wide like a hotel. We never went in there because I was afraid of the Ronald McDonalds up there, always on the 5th or 6th floor. Sometimes my cousins went there and the Happy Meals were in a box like in the commercials, not in a paper bag like here.
When my uncle took us to Hannaford, I remember seeing the cereals. They were in boxes. In Peru, most of the cereals were in plastic sealed bags–just like a cereal box without the cardboard box.

The first day I went to school in Maine, I was totally confused. It was kinda useless going to school since I couldn’t understand what they were saying. When I first ate the school lunch I noticed it was awful. Now I know that it isn’t just me.

When I finally started reading English, I was reading faster than anyone. I was always the first one to finish stuff in my classes for 5 years. What we learned in Peru in 1st grade was what we learned in 3rd grade here. I was surprised the kids in my classes didn’t know how to do multiplication, division, subtraction, integers, or even addition in first grade! When we started doing long division I was so bored.

By 4th grade the school assigned me to an AG (Academically Gifted) Math program for one hour, three times a week, but I still had to do the math in my normal class.

Now Maine feels natural. School isn’t confusing. I’m learning a 3rd language and doing better than ever. Now and then, my aunt sends me a picture of my sister’s pet turtle which is now huge. School lunch is still kinda disgusting and many people if not everyone agrees with me. I have gotten used to chemically made stuff, but now our family doesn’t go to any fast-food place other than Elevation Burger which is 100% organic.

Heres another story in case you didn’t enjoy the first one:
One time there was a fish.
The fish swam by accident into a water bottle.
It continued eating plankton until it outgrew the bottle and
Stop being lazy and buy a reusable water bottle.