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Story #343

All my relatives aren’t all the same but Mara surely is one of a kind. Hard on the outside but soft on the inside, she’s a hard cookie to crack but that’s just one of the reasons why she’s my favourite relative.

Mara’s eyes are the color of dark cocoa edged with a deep forest-green, mixed, from her Samoan and German heritage. When you stare into her eyes, you can feel the warmth of the brown and the seductive green specks dancing around the edges. Her long luscious auburn waves cascade down her back flowing in the air like a butterfly’s drifting wings. With her ripped jeans and Comic t’s, her hipster urban style always makes her look like a rebellious rockstar. She’s like a skyscraper towering over me. A big teddy bear I know I can count on for a warm loving hug.

“ You can’t give up now. Come on Mu! You got this. Keep going. You’re almost there! I’m so proud of you! I knew you could do it.”

The encouraging and motivating sound of Mara’s voice always cheering me on for everything I do. For my netball and touch games, speeches, receiving awards and so on. Encouragement, just one of her many qualities. There’s never a dull moment with Mara either. She always seems to make a boring situation into something boisterous and competitive!

I remember when we were all in the car once and we had just got told off for being too loud and had to be quiet. Mara saw that my brother and I were really bored so she whispered to us and said “ let’s see who can keep a straight face. Who ever makes a sound their out. Okay?” Trying to hold everything in, we all blurted out, laughing!

Besides her encouraging and fun personality, I know I can always talk to Mara when I have problems. She always knows when I’m okay or if I’m not which makes me feel secure to know that I can always trust her. She always sees the bright side of a situation that seems so hopeless.

Mara’s more than a relative, she’s like a big sister to me, my best friend that I know I can always count on. She’s taught and helped me so much that I can’t even explain in words how much she means to me.

I know all relatives are different but Mara surely is one of a kind.

– Filemu, Auckland

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Story #342

One time I was in bed and heard a knock at my door at my grandparents house. This took place at almost 2:40Am. Every night I stayed and was up on my tablet. The room was dark. The bed frame was backed against the wall and the door was to my right. I never investigated the knocking eversince I saw a figure on their stair way around the same time of opening the door. My grandparents were sleep. The dog was outside. The black cat was in the hallway and it was dark outside with only a copper lit colored light post. I tried to go back to sleep but it got louder to the point I turned the TV on. 5 minutes in, the TV shut off. I left my grandparents lamp on and fell asleep listening to vocaloid music. The next morning I didn’t wake up till 12 in the afternoon. Later that day my mother picked me up to take me home. I told her about what I experienced and she said it was probably a guardian angel trying to speak to me. This meant nothing to me cause I was getting bullied at school by my classmates until she told me she had a fear of the paranormal. For one time when she was little, she woke up around 2am and couldn’t move. She tried to shrug it off and get her mind off of it but was then dragged out of her room and was left sobbing and her family was very confused about the event in her perspective.

Ever since then, I’ve developed a connection with the lost souls that followed me since birth and there were plenty.

– Kaylena, Philadelphia

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Story #341

You would think that it would take something extraordinary, like a wand or some special phrase, to make magic happen. At least, that’s what I always thought. But she had none of those constrains. The only thing that gave her away was the small flash of excitement in her eyes as she began seeing the world from her fantastical perspective. If you were perceptive enough, and if she deemed you worthy, she would let you peek inside her world where boundaries were defined by the edges of her inventiveness. Surely, it was just a trick of the mind and most of the things she did conjure up were mundane objects like string or sticks. Sometimes, however, she would go beyond, making balls of fire radiating with heat or cuddly animals for us to pet. She would do this from time to time, even in rooms filled with strangers, to show to me that she could, that her willpower and imagination was strong enough to free me from the manacles of the mundane, in only for brief magical a moment.

– Albert Säfström, Stockholm

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Story #340

The Black Bear Murray was sad. Why was the Black Bear Murray sad? Because he wasn’t scary. Why wasn’t he scary? Because he couldn’t grizzle, he couldn’t roar, he couldn’t be a proper scary bear. Instead he was called the friendly bear. He hated being friendly. Unlike the other Bears, Black Bear Murray didn’t roar, instead… He meowed. Like a kitten. It wasn’t a scary meow, nor was it viscous. It was a small petite meow. Black Bear Murray hated his meow. It made him to different compared to the other bears. But to be honest Black Bear Murray wasn’t just different for his meow. he was also different for the clothes he wore. No other bear wore clothes. Just him. Black Bear Murray loved to wear his yellow gumboots, they were his favorites. He also liked to wear his dark “like the galaxy” purple bucket hat. But there was one item of clothing that he couldn’t resist wearing everywhere and everyday. And that item of clothing was his hot pink, glittery leggings. Those leggings made him feel like a ballerina dancing on the soft, gentle morning breeze. He felt magical in them. But still Black Bear Murray was different. And he did not like it. And he thought to himself “maybe it is truly because of my meow. Oh how will I ever get rid of it”.

– Karmella, Auckland

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Story #339

For most woman , her life must go through a stage of turning from a girl to a mother. In recent years, more and more woman are engaging in important work in big company. For them ,personal value and self identification begin to be more important than before. So when an educated working women begin as a mother ,she will enter a special period that must stay around the baby all day time and can do nothing as before and she also will lose much time for staying alone and enjoying herself.

Lady M is an very typical example. Before she has children,she is a chief manager of a telecom firm, leading several subordinates,and always go shopping in Mall and having afternoon tea everyday. One afternoon ,she came in my cafe,taking with her little baby. At first ,she order an cheese cake and coffee for herself and milk for baby. Once she sit down to begin her coffee ,the baby began to cry, with the crying louder and louder. She began to be worried and tried to console the baby. But it doesn’t work, the baby began choked and breathed with difficulty. She became helpless and try to calm down the baby but failed ,She hold the baby to home for help. After half an hour, she came back with calm.

She order an cheese cake and coffee again and sit down herself alone . For a while ,she began to weep alone,sitting in the corner. She was so sad that we cant do anything and say anything of comforting words. I understand why she wept. Maybe she just wanted to enjoying a happy afternoon tea herself. But this wish came to nothing. It was disturbed by baby’s crying and choking. She was so helpless at this special period, She can’t go to work as before and also can’t act as a almighty mother. She felt useless of herself .
But even she was in such an awful period,the cafe was an quiet harbour for her,where she can burst into tears and her trapped emotion was released after that afternoon. In front of her family and baby ,she can’t cry suddenly and need to pretend to be strong ,kind,warm. But at here,in the cafe ,even in a short time,she can be herself.

– Freda Wong, Shenzhen

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Story #338

Simon Romijn , a chemistry teacher from New Zealand, He came to China one year ago. He is really a gentleman, always wearing red suit and orange pants, having a very fashion look. He teaches chemistry at the high school nearby our cafe.

He comes to cafe every Tuesday and Thursday,always sit on the same place and order the same drink—Cappuccino, so I give him a nickname as ”Uncle Cappuccino”. Uncle Cappuccino is very focused on his teaching work which make a very good model for our young people. Even he is fifty years old,He spend all his summer time for preparing his doctor degree of chemistry. Although In china,far away from his hometown, he has a video call with his parents twice every week.(Note, his parents with a high age ,Mother is 88 years old and father is 90 years old ). Every time I can feel the family love between them. They make me feel that family love always exists no matter how old are you and where are you. It is determined by how you express your care and love to your family.

Shane Gardner,a preschool teacher from England,His whole family came to china five years ago. He is that kind of young people having many friends,drink beers,and like music of Bob Dylan. Every two days he will come to cafe for drinking milk tea. Every time he drinks two cup of milk tea, one after another, he always says to me:“Freda, Can I ask one more milk tea?”.so we give him a nickname as ”Brother Milk tea”.

Shane tell me that each time when he drink milk tea, he feels like at home in England. The taste of the milk tea is the same as in hometown. I am moved by this tiny thing that just a drink can provide a amazing psychological comfort to some people, especially when he is far away from home.

I think whether for Simon or Shane ,they come to China ,far from hometown, My cafe Woodiary give them a sheltered bay,where they can have familiar drinks as hometown and can talk with me about common topics, I just do what I should do,but for them ,it may be really a great comfort and help.

– Freda Wong, Shenzhen

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Story #337

“I had a funeral in my Brain” by Emily Dickinson.

This peom is about a woman who is actually having a funeral in her brain he speaker imagines that a funeral is taking place inside her brain, and she can feel the mourners pacing back and forth.

In the end of the peom they realized that she has just lost her sanity At the end of her fall, or at least the end of the poem, she “Finished knowing.” It makes sense for someone who has lost their power of reason or intelligence to not be able to know things anymore.

– Kirsten Murdaugh, Bamberg

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Story #336

I’m 22, I’ve climbed a mountain, graduated from university, and started my own business.

I don’t really care for money, all I want in life is to be outdoors, travel the world, write stories about all the people I meet, and drink giant cups of tea.

– Eman, Doha

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Story #335

When I was about six years old,I was crazy about playing cards,and I was very good at playing it.It’s a very simple game in my hometown.This game’s rule is easy:use your card to hit another’card,if your card make another’s card turn over,then you win.

Once,I played this game with my friend.But she was not good at playing this game,so I won all of her cards just for a while.When the game finished,I had full satisfaction for I won all of her cards.But I saw the deep sadness in her eyes.She asked me to return her cards back so we could play one more game.But I refused her because I was so selfish at that time.

People’s feelings change with the circumstances.I felt very very regret as soon as I recalled this thing.I really what to say sorry to her but I don’t have chance today.

– Tang Hao, Jilin, Songyuan, China

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Story #334

They say that there used to be a house made of soft grass sitting just on the edge of the woods.   The house was home to a little mouse named Jaboski.  Jaboski was very clever but not clever enough to reinforce his home with stone.  One day, a very strong gust of wind lifted up the little house, Jaboski within, and carried it off into the sky.  Jaboski has been in the clouds ever since.

– Nicole Aydë, Tustin