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            When I was 9 years old, I started playing tennis. At first, I didn’t want to have tennis lessons after school everyday, but my dad forced me to. He kept telling me that it’s good for my health, and I knew he was right. I was growing really fast and in order for my body to not have as much pain, I had to do some sort of sports. My father even bought me an expensive Wilson tennis racket on my birthday. So I started having tennis lessons for an hour and thirty minutes everyday after school.

            I came home exhausted after tennis. I would fall on my bed, forgetting about all the homework and waking up at midnight to stay up all night doing homework. It was horrible. To make things worse, I had blisters all over my palms and fingers from the tennis racket. Simply holding a pencil at school caused me great pain. Sometimes I would write in my notebook and red drops would fall on the snow white sheet of paper. It took me a second to realize it was my own blisters tearing and blood trickling from the openings.

            I kept telling my parents I hated tennis and wanted to quit badly. But my mom decided for me and she said that I wouldn’t quit. She said it was for my own good. I hated my parents at that moment, when they made decisions for me. Maybe they hoped I would become the future Maria Sharapova, but I knew that was not what I wanted to be, even though I was doing pretty well in tennis.

            As years passed, my blisters became very hard and I didn’t get pain anymore. Also, I was more flexible and didn’t experience any pain while growing. But I was in eighth grade already and had a lot of homework. My mom saw how tired I was and she offered me to quit tennis. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t come this far, to simply throw out my tennis racket and never think of it again. I enjoyed playing tennis by then and was even grateful that my parents didn’t allow me to quit the sport. I learned that if I continue and not give up, I will have a higher self-esteem, because I know that I’m not a quitter and don’t cheat myself. I stopped playing tennis for a while, because I have other important things to do, but I’m sure I will continue my lessons again next year.


            The best vacation I have ever been on was when I went to Turkey for 10 days. It was amazing; I have so many good memories about that place. I flew with my parents to Antalya, and then took a bus ride to the hotel we were staying at. I slept during the flight and watched the beautiful city during the bus ride. The place we were going to had a lot of Russian tourists, so it was easy to communicate. The climate in Antalya was wonderful, it was always warm and sunny, and not a single cloud hung above our heads.

            The hotel we stayed in was called Camyuva Beach Hotel. It wasn’t as big as some of the other five star hotels were in the area, but it was still amazing. It was right by the beach and also had a swimming pool with big slides. The slides were steep and the fast water running from it allowed the people to go as fast as lighting into the pool. Also, there was great music during the daytime. It was the kind of music I loved listening to, which just made things even better. The food was wonderful. Everyday, we had different dishes cooked for us. It was a huge buffet, and people could choose anything they want. Lots of different desserts and fruits were set on the long tables. The chefs were professionals.

            Everyday, I would drag my parents to the beach, and swim in the crystal clear water and sun tan as much as I could. When it got colder, I would go out into the swimming pool or listen to music and watch the sunset from the balcony. Everything about that place was fantastic, just that some of the Turkish guys scared me when they stared. I was a bit upset when I had to leave the place, because it was great there. When I was at the bus going to the airport, for some reason I felt exhausted. But a part of me was happy to go back home, because I was starting to feel homesick.

            The next place I would want to visit is Paris. Although I know this won’t happen until I finish college and start working, I still really wish that maybe one day I could go there with my family and see the Eiffel tower. If this won’t happen sometime soon, then I will definitely visit Paris with my friends later on.

            The worst fight I ever had was with my brother. When I was in 7th grade, I started talking a lot on MSN. That was a good thing, but I learned some bad words, too. Once, my brother Max, who is 8 years older than me, made me really angry. I don’t remember what exactly made me mad. But it was probably because he didn’t want to get off the computer, even though it was my turn to use it.

            So there I was standing, staring at him with rage. I wanted to kick him so hard, but I knew that that was useless, because he is so much bigger than me. All I could do was insulting him verbally. I turned around to leave the room and on my way out I swore at him. It wasn’t even a serious word; it was something that I heard in school almost everyday. And then, Max asked, “What did you call me?” So I replied, “You heard me.” And then….

            My brother got up and went to the bathroom to get something. When he returned, he had soap in his hands. Oh my God, I thought. And he said, “Since you talk like that, let’s clean your mouth!”, and Max started chasing me around the house. I was running and going under chairs, over the couch, and throwing newspapers at him. My dog started barking. Finally, when he got me, I dropped down and buried my face into the pillow so that he won’t be able to put the soap into my mouth. But somehow, he managed to turn me over. I was yelling so loud, our neighbors probably thought someone was getting killed. The soap tasted horrible. It was bitter and had an extremely nasty feeling, as if I put wax in my mouth. Yuck.

            I started to cry and pray God to help me, and Max let me go. When he went back to his room, I was furious! So I marched to the bathroom, found some kind of spray, and ran to his room. He was sitting there and playing computer games. I came up to him, and sprayed it in his face. “Aaaaaaah!” He screamed out. Max swore so much, I’ve never heard that many bad words all at once. So I started laughing. He hissed, “I..will…kill you…” I ran to my room and locked it until my parents came home.

            Max and I are still the closest brother and sister on earth. He’s in Canada now, and I miss him. I miss playing video games with him and just doing fun things. He’s a great brother, even though we had that fight, and I love him. He cares a lot about me and I learned that swearing is not good and not “cool”.


            My most embarrassing moment happened when I was 7. It was a dark peaceful night and my parents and I went for a walk at the beach. The ocean was very quiet and the air was really clean. While walking next to my mom, I started counting the stars above me. I was a happy little kid.

            But then I heard some men laughing very loudly. While my parents kept on talking, I went to the small hill where the voices were coming from. I discovered two men sitting on a bench and drinking alcohol. Oh my God, I was so mad! I hated seeing people drinking or smoking, I thought it was a nasty thing to do. And then, something came to my mind. What if I try to scare them?..

            So I crept from behind. It was hard not to make any noise, because the leaves were dry underneath my feet and they kept on making the crunchy sound. But the men didn’t notice. They were too loud and drunk. I was also a brave one. My plan was to scare them and have them run away. A wild thought came to my mind, and I decided that I should pretend to be a ghost. So I came from behind and hissed, “Booooo…”

            One man screamed out and the bottle in his hands flew high up into the air. And it started to come back down… Uh oh, I thought. Then, it hit me on my head. And I screamed like a girl. The other man, who was even more drunk, looked back and saw me. There was a long silent moment. He started laughing as hard as I ever thought a man could laugh. The man who dropped his bottle was a bit mad, because all the alcohol was wasted, but then he started laughing, too. It was extremely embarrassing, I wished I was invisible. But I was old enough to know that that wasn’t going to happen. So I ran as fast as I could to my parents, and after a few minutes, I heard two men singing.

            After all that, I never bothered other people if they drank or smoked. I didn’t really care anymore because I’ve learned my lesson. People can do whatever they want to do, even though it’s bad. I am lucky enough that my parents didn’t notice I was gone in that short time, and no one is there right now to remind me about it, just myself. Whenever I remember this time, I giggle.


            My best friend is Youlia. We’ve been best friends for 3 years. She is very unique in many ways. I can describe her as a very creative, imaginative, fun, exciting, and hyper person. She’s just very… herself. The story of how we met is also interesting.

            It was the beginning of the school year, and I was in 6th grade. Everyone came back tanned from summer and very happy. I was excited to go to school again. The school bus was waiting for me in the morning. When I got in, I saw a new girl sitting. She looked older than me, but something about her told me that she’s the kind of person I could get along with very well. At first, I thought she was Korean. The girl was very quiet in the bus and I couldn’t hear her speak. When the school day ended, I walked to my bus. But then, I heard someone in the bus speaking very fast in Russian. In RUSSIAN. It couldn’t have been Dennis… And when I walked in, I saw the girl speaking on the phone and saying, “Mom, school was okay… the people are very nice here… Mom, I’m hungry. Can u make me something when I come home? Mom, please. Mom!” Then, she saw me staring at her. She probably thought, what’s wrong with her… And I finally managed to ask, “Are you from Russia?” I could tell it shocked her, too. So she said, “Yeah, I am. Wow, I thought you were European or something. This is shocking… I’m glad I found another Russian in this school. Nice to meet you, I’m Youlia.” And we had a long conversation before I had to get off near my apartment.

            I was happy, too. I never had a Russian friend before, so it scared me a little that I would have a hard time understanding her. She spoke very fast. And she was very, very loud. At first whenever she asked me something I just nodded. I didn’t get what she was saying because she was speaking SO fast. She thought I was weird and quiet. But somehow we got along, and during lunch we would always sit together and talk about things. I started to understand better and actually concentrating on what she is saying. She also noticed that I started to speak more. We told each other different stories and funny jokes. We even had health class together. I thought she was funny and awesome. And she reminded me of Russia, my mother country, where I never really lived. I finally stopped feeling homesick.

            We did so much special things together. We met up on the weekends. As years passed, I became closer and closer with her. We went to Lock-in, I slept over at her place, we went shopping together, and we had so much fun. We were both really random. And we always stayed together. We are still best friends. Our friendship is very strong and we would always talk to each other if we have a problem. We never fought. Never. And I think we never will, because we agree on everything and we’re really similar in many ways. I like how Youlia is very unique and has her own style of being herself. This sounds weird, but that’s how I describe Youlia.

            Youlia changed me and I changed her. Before, I used to be this nerdy girl that only cared about books and carried a wheel pack with me everywhere I went. All I cared about was getting good grades. Youlia used to be the opposite of me. She cared about having a good style, and didn’t worry much about grades. We balanced each other out. She “Russianized” me and I made her a better person, too. I’m thankful that she changed me because now I feel more confident about myself and have a better self-esteem. We will always be best friends.

       When I was in third grade, I got really interested in soccer. I started watching soccer on TV with my dad and my brother. The sport seemed amazing to me – there was so much more to it than just kicking the ball and running around the field.
        One day, I was sitting at the bench with my friends and watching the field. The boys were playing soccer. I had such a strong feeling to go there and be a part of the game. I wanted to leave everything behind and go straight out there. But I was really worried… Would my girl friends think I’m weird? Will the boys make fun of me? Will I be able to play well and have fun?
       During P.E., we started doing soccer. Mr. Jolly was my third grade teacher back then, and he was the one that helped me gain confidence about myself and try being a part of the game. He taught me different ways of how to kick the ball. I learned how to make it go straight, angled, sideways, curved, low, high, and strong. When the lunch bell rang, I would be one of the first people to run out to the field and start playing. It was a wonderful experience. Sometimes I got hurt by the ball, but I never gave up.                                          

       Once, a girl named Jennifer Hur came to class. She was the one other girl that started playing soccer with me and the boys. She was nicknamed “Hulk” and I was nicknamed “Lazer”. I played a lot as a goalie, too, and was pretty good at it until I got hurt and quit being a goalie.
        There was a gap in time when I didn’t platy soccer. Last year in P.E., the soccer season started. Many people encouraged me to try out for the soccer team, but I thought I wasn’t good enough. I tried to avoid people asking me those kind of questions at first, and my answer would always be “No…” But at times when I was alone and had nothing else on my mind, soccer would come up to me.
        So I joined the team. I am glad I did it because I always wanted to be in the soccer team. I attended nearly all practices and went home tired and happy every other day. In addition, I went to two tournaments, scored some goals, and we became the soccer champions. We were all really proud of ourselves.

Once, I stayed after school to go to my friend’s birthday party. It was great; I had a lot of fun in karaoke, Outback, and at the beach. By the end of the day, I was tired and had to go home. The bus didn’t come for 20 minutes. The cars barely moved on the streets.

I came home 10 minutes late… The consequences were severe. I got my worst punishment ever for this. I was supposed to come home at 8. There was a lot of traffic on that day because it was Chuseok. I thought 10 minutes wouldn’t be that serious, I even called my dad to tell him that I’ll be late. But the moment I walked through the door, I wished I never had…

            First, I checked if my parents were in the living room. They weren’t. It was very silent in the house, and I knew they were in their room. So I ran to my room and closed the door. Then, the door swung open. In that one short moment I remembered all the best parts of my life, starting from when I was really small. It was as if I was walking towards death… Then, BAM! My dad slapped me on the face. He grabbed me by my neck and hissed, “Where were you…” So I explained once again, that there was a lot of traffic. Then, my mom came. She started swearing so bad I never heard anything worse. It was as if she tried to say all the swear words in the world in one sentence. I was reviled.

            I’ll take out all the details… Basically, my parents took away my phone, my money, and grounded me for a whole month. It was a catastrophe. They also didn’t let me use the computer. At first, I couldn’t even do my homework on the computer.

            It was horrible, because I knew I definitely didn’t deserve all that just because I was 10 minutes late. I don’t know what the deal was, but I felt like going out onto the road and screaming my lungs out. I thought it was insane. It was just stupid. Maybe they were really worried, but they certainly didn’t have to take away all the things I had that made me happy. And oh! I forgot to point out that they also took my ipod away. That was completely over the edge. I had to be isolated from the whole world for a long month. My friends all felt really sorry for me and I felt even worse about that. Haah, now, every time I come home, I make sure I’m 1 minute early, just in case. I learned my lesson, and I now know that my parents can go over the limit for simple things. But maybe it’s just because they really care and worry about me.








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