Sofia's World


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Summer 2011

School is out for summer! June



First grade ended June 16th. My school had a big party the last day, an outdoor "fair" with games, popcorn, and popsicles. 

I had a really good year; the last week I brought home notebooks full of lots of work I'd completed through the year, so I know I learned a lot. 

I was sad to say goodbye to my teacher, Mrs. Cho [left], because she won't be returning to the school next year. But I'll see all my friends again when I'm in second grade.

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Spain, June

Just days after I finished school, Mom, Papa, and I flew to southern Spain. We stayed in Andalucia for two weeks. The first week we traveled by car. We stopped in Granada, Córdoba, Sevilla, Tarifa, Medina Sidonia, Ronda, and Gibraltar. The second week we stayed in Torremolinos, on the Costa del Sol. For the whole trip, we had sunshine, and I wore only shorts and sundresses, even at 10:00 at night!

Here are some of my favorite experiences on our road trip:

bulletVisiting the Alhambra in Granada. It was really hot, but I didn't mind because there were lots of pools and fountainseven water in a stairway railing!that I could dip my hands in wherever we walked.
bulletSeeing Opa Jan in Granada. He drove from his home in Benidorm to visit us overnight.
bulletSwimming in the rooftop pool at the Ibis Hotel in Granada.
bulletDrinking orange Fanta at lunch and on breaks.
bulletWalking tiny, narrow white streets in Córdoba.
bulletRiding the subway in Sevilla. 
bulletSwimming in the rooftop pool at the Novotel Hotel in Sevilla.
bulletChasing pigeons in the Plaza de España in Sevilla.
bulletPlaying with English teens in the Parque de Maria Luisa, Sevilla.
bulletPetting carriage horses in Sevilla's Plaza Virgen de los Reyes.
bulletRunning on the windy beach in Tarifa.
bulletTaking the cable car to the top of the rock in Gibraltar [right].
bulletWatching the tail-less monkeys, especially the moms and babies, on Gibraltar.
bulletFinding a 4-inch beetle on our walk down Gibraltar rock (I called it a liz-hopper: part lizard, part grasshopper).
bulletClimbing trees and naming feral cats Stripey, Whitey and Oreo in Gibraltar town.
bulletWatching the glassblowers in Casemates Square.
bulletFinding friends at the beaches in La Linea and Gibraltar.



bulletPlaying soccer with children in the Plaza de la Iglesia in La Linea.
bulletLooking down, downway down!into the gorge in Ronda.
bulletTaming a bull in Ronda [left].

The second week we stayed in Torremolinos. We had our own little apartment on the 15th floor of a tall building. It had a swimming pool and tiny, slow elevators. We left the doors to the balcony open all day and night, and we ate breakfast and lunch outside every day.

I liked Torremolinos. We walked to the market (Carrefour) to buy food and supplies. We walked Calle San Miguel to go shopping and to get to the beach. We walked to restaurants for dinner, and most nights we walked out late and had ice cream. 

Other fun things to do in Torremolinos included

bulletPlaying on the Torremolinos beach.
bulletRiding the train/subway to Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Plaza Mayor, and Málaga. 
bulletVisiting the library (so Papa could use his computer) and reading Spanish children's books.
bulletEating delicious watermelon every day.
bulletPlaying with other kids in the square of Avenida Jesus Santos Rein, near Calle San Miguel.


Even more fun were some of the special outings we took. One evening we went to Benalmádena's Tivoli World theme park. It had lots of fun rides; I especially liked the kid-sized bumper cars (and Mommy and Papa couldn't ride on them). 

Another evening we went to the Fuengirola's Bioparc. That's a zoo that was open until midnight. We saw nocturnal animals that usually sleep during the day, and lots of lemurs up close in the walk-through lemur enclosure. We also watched a show of African dancers. 

In Torremolinos we went to the Crocodile Park [right] and saw many different kinds of crocodiles and alligators. The best part was that I got to pet a small one! Cool!

We also went to Aqualand in Torremolinos. That was a great water park with lots of fun water rides and slides, and even a sea lion show. Some of the rides were really tall; Papa went down the Kamikaze, and it was so tall and fast that when he got to the bottom his swim trunks were up to his chin! I slid down the Twister; I had to cross my arms and legs and go down on my back feet first. It was scary, but I still loved it.

Finally, I met a new friend in Málaga. Her name is Candela. Her parents, Joelle and Eduardo, set aside a day to show us the city, treat us to a really nice lunch at a hotel near the beach, and take us to the Nerja caves. Candela and I pretended they were a dragon's lair! They also let me swim with Candela, and even though she speaks mostly French and Spanish, she could speak just enough English that we had a really good time together. I hope she visits me someday in Seattle.

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Netherlands, July

From Spain, Mommy flew home, while Papa and I flew to the Netherlands. After the sun in Spain, the weather in Vlissingen was disappointingsometimes even stormy! But Papa and I still kept really busy and had lots of fun. 

In Vlissingen Papa took me to the street festival the first week, and we also visited the annual fair several times, where we went on many rides, like the Too Hot to Handle, that does upside down, and I felt sick, and ate delicious oliebollen. I went to a graduation party for my cousin Maaike and a going-away party for my cousin Jolien (she was leaving for Africa to help orphans). Papa also had his 57th birthday while we were there; lots of family came and sat around in chairs to celebrate. We visited a friend of Papa's who lived on a farm; I liked chasing her chickens. And Papa's Seattle friend Peter visited us, and we drove around the Walcheren peninsula. On the very nicest days—there weren't many—I went to the Vlissingen beach. 

I also spent lots of time at play areas, including the nearby Speeltuin, Klokhuis and Mini Mundi [right]. My cousin Maaike and her friend Rob took me to the Duinrell theme park; Papa took me, with cousin Jasper, to the Efteling theme park; and while we were visiting with Tante Lianne in Venlo, we went to the Irrland theme park in Germany. That's a lot of playing! Tante Lianne also took us to a preview of the 2012 Floriade (a decennial flower show). 

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Lemonade stand, August


When our neighborhood hosted a garage sale at the end of July, two of my friends and I decided to have a lemonade stand. We sold cups of lemonade for $.25 and cookies and brownies (baked by our moms, of course) for $.50 [left]. 

I proposed giving the money to a hospital, so we put up a sign that said the money would go to charity. When all the lemonade and cookies were gone, we had made $15! We decided to give the money to Children's Hospital in Seattle, and Ella's dad was able to match that through Microsoft, where he works, so Children's Hospital actually got $30 from our efforts. 

That's so cool!

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New bicycle, August

Mom said the food in Holland must have made me grow because when I got back home from vacation, some of my pants were too short! Another thing that didn't fit me anymore was my bicycle, the same one I learned to ride on without training wheels last summer. 

So one Saturday we drove to Walmart, and I picked out a new one. It's sort of a "half-birthday" present. Now my bike has 20-inch wheels. It's hot pink and even has hand brakes. I have to get used to being taller, but I really like it.  

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Summer camps and more, August


After I got back home from Spain and Holland, I needed a quiet week to recover from jetlag. I was glad to be home and play with all my new toys again. But soon I was ready for more summer adventures.

One of the first things we did was go to a SeaFair party on Mercer Island and watch the Blue Angels from a boat in Lake Washington. The planes were really noisy, but I liked being out in the small boat.

For two weeks I attended camps at my elementary school. The first week the theme was Animal Planet, and the Reptile Man came with lots of cool animals! The second week the theme was Carnival Fun, and the last day we even had an outdoor carnival with kettle corn, hotdogs, and popsicles! 

The week after that I went to a Skyhawks soccer camp in Seattle. Mom drove me in on her way to work and picked me up afterward. I'm not sure I really like soccer, but it was fun to run around with lots of other kids in the sun.

The week after that was the Camp of Papa. I played with friends Max, Ella, and Reagan, went to Sky High and McDonald's, caught frogs and bugs and put them in jars (and let them go again), and got wet in a sprinkler and water slide.

In addition to all that, I had swim lessons twice each week [left]. I Improved so much that I passed the swimming test at Waverly Beach in the waves of Lake Washington!  I also read lots of books all summer long, completing the Barnes & Noble eight-book challenge and the King County Libraries 1000-minute challenge. My favorite books for the summer were the Judy Moody series and the Ivy + Bean books, 

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Camping, August

The last weekend of summer, Papa took me camping on Whidbey Island. It was just overnight, but because he sold the Chateau op Wielen, we got to sleep in a tent [right, inflating our air mattress]! It was the first time I ever slept in a tent, and it was so cool! 

My favorite parts of camping were 

  1. eating s'mores
  2. making new friends
  3. going to the beach (we saw three dinner-plate sized jellies stranded on the beach)
  4. seeing stars at night, like the Big Dipper.

On our way home we stopped at Deception Pass. It was very pretty, but Papa slipped and fell on the hillside trail and got cuts on his hand, elbow, and knee. Sorry, Papa!

I hope Papa will take me camping again!


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