“Dear Journal, 5 – 26 – 98 I promise to my Mom and Dad…

…that I will write all my activities in my Journal every day example, Who, What, Where, When, how + more.  Also I promise that I will behave and listen and do as I am told.  And will help myself by taking care of my clothes.  And by cleaning up after myself.” – Excerpt from the introduction page of my logbook.

I wrote that in a journal on my first trip (back) to China in 1998 (I was 8 years old).

I was thinking today about cool things I could blog about, something about my life perhaps.  I remembered back more than a decade ago when I visited China, and my parents forced me to write journal entries of my daily activities.  They even got my family members in on it refusing to let me go to sleep without having written at least a page.  I figured, why not share how I saw the world as an 8 year old boy on his first trip outside the country?

First, the thing I find most interesting about this journal, upon first glance, is that my handwriting was actually extremely neat compared to how I write now.  Also, even though I despised writing nightly in my journal, I look back at it now and see that it is definitely something I can appreciate.  Anyways, this first journal entry was written on my first trip to China unedited (except names):

“Dear Journal : 5-31-98

Today I was so excited because I was going to the Airport at Miami.  We got there at 5:00.  I went with W.M.and Mommy.  When we got there we went to the front desk of some part of the airport.  After that we started walking around.  Then when we sat down I saw a kid playing with a power ranger toy.  Then we left to the airplane.  When me and my cousin got on the plane we had to wait a little bit before we lifted off for sanfrancisco.  But nobody sat next to me and my cousin.  Then when I lifted off we ate food on the plane.  I ate chips a ham sandwich and a mint that is all that I could remember.  Then I watched a little bit of T.V. After that I took a nap.  Then we landed.  When we landed me and my cousin looked around at the airport.  Then my cousin bought a comic book for me he bought a shirt for Grandma and also bought a couple magazines for himself.  Then my cousin sat down and I went to the little kids area.  After that we went on another plane for Hong Kong.  Then we ate but I can’t remember what I ate.  But this time somebody was sitting by me.  It was an old woman.  Then we went to sleep then wake up on Tuesday morning.”

Not a single paragraph was seen that day.  If I were to go back and rewrite my 8 year old story here is what I would probably say…

“05/31/98

I noticed it was a very bright, and warm sunny day in Florida as I sat in the car awaiting my adventure.  On the way to the Miami airport, I couldn’t shake the feeling of how excited I was for the plane ride and to visit China.  Mom and W.M. (I can’t remember what W.M. stands for) drove me to the airport.  After the drive, which seemed like an eternity, we finally reached the airport.

When we entered the enormous building I couldn’t help but wonder about all the hundreds of people busily running around with their luggage.  We made our way to one of the desks where they took our tickets and bags.  After completing that objective, we began to wander the airport, I had no idea where we were going.  Eventually we said our goodbyes, and we found a seat by our gate.

I was so bored not having any kids to play with, and I couldn’t help but notice the this other boy playing with a Power Ranger toy.  I wish he would share it with me so I could make some friends.  Eventually everyone started getting on the airplane, so both my cousin and I began boarding.  After we finally sat down inside there was a very long wait for what seemed like 9bajillion years before anything happened.  I just stared out the window at all the other planes and people running around in orange jackets.  Finally we lifted off for San Francisco, a state I have never seen or been to before.  What is that place?  Do I know anyone there?  Will I be able to play my Gameboy?  How long will we be there for?  My mind wandered in curiosity.  Unfortunately, for this plane ride, no one sat next to us (my cousin and I) that I could talk to or play tic-tac-toe with.

I didn’t have much to eat that morning so I was happy that the people on the plane fed us.  I had the chance to munch on some crunchy potato chips, a nice ham sandwich, all to be topped off with a mouth freshening mint, but that’s all I can really remember besides watching some T.V. and falling asleep.  Prior to landing, I looked in awe at all of the mountains and just how differently the landscape looked in California compared to Florida.  We finally landed and entered the San Francisco Airport.

There is so much going on in an airport, so many families, so many people, so many restaurants, stores, and kids.  Unfortunately I feel like there isn’t much to do.  Thankfully my cousin brought me to a little shop where he bought me a comic book of one of my favorite cartoons.  He also bought a really cool shirt from the U.S. for Grandma, and of course a couple magazines for himself that were much too sophisticated for me.  After our little shopping spree we found a nice area to set up at as we awaited our next flight to Hong Kong.  My cousin waited in the seating area while I went to play in the kids zone.  I wish I had remembered more about it.

The flight to Hong Kong was a blur.  I remembered eating but I can’t remember what we ate.  I remembered sitting by an older woman; I can’t remember her face but I remember that she tried to hand me a cookie after she picked her nose.  The rest remained a dream as I slept, only to wake up on Tuesday.”

Looking back to this adventure, I really wish I was more descriptive.  I wish I had thought to see describe what people were wearing, what the old woman talked to me about, what magazines my cousin bought, what the indoor playground was like, what the landscape looked like from 1000’s of feet in the air (to an 8 year old), and more.  At least I have something though.

4 thoughts on ““Dear Journal, 5 – 26 – 98 I promise to my Mom and Dad…

    1. That’s awesome, you should really share an entry from it. I just wish I was more detailed in my writings so that I could remember it better. I feel like I really missed out on the “big picture” of the actual trips, and just focused on the little things like going to eat something, instead of the actual sights, people, architecture, etc…

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