Birthday in China
Rebecca Wei, Division 1, 6th grade

A moonless night with scattered lone stars shed dim lights on two scrumptious cakes, sitting on the table, celebrating the birthday of twin sisters. Children crowded around the table as the adults stood watching and singing the familiar happy birthday tune in Chinese. Surrounding this joyous crowd was a plain and simple house, complete with little artwork and few rooms. My twin, Rachel, and I were rejoicing our birthday in China with our family. 

It was the last week of our trip and we were relaxing after a day in the sweltering hot sun. During the day, we took a safari trip in a nature reserve. As the cart meandered past gates and herds of animals, all the fascinated riders gazed out. Flashes from cameras and the blazing sun continuously blinded our eyes as I tried to focus on the scenery around me. That day’s lunch was spent on a small bridge over a dried up river. Brittle leaves crinkled under our shoes as we frolicked on the bridge. Lush trees towering above us provided decent shade from the unrelenting sun. The ground was scattered with plants but the bridge was occupied by heaps of food piled on the floor, leaving barely enough space for all of us to sit and eat. Our lunch was peculiar because instead of the typical Chinese dishes of food, we had snacks such as Pringles and Pocky sticks, piled thickly on the low stone bridge. After finishing lunch, we took a stroll around the shaded pathways before heading to our grandpa’s house to enjoy one of the most important parts of a birthday.

After devouring the cakes inside, we raced outside to watch the array of colorful fireworks that were soon going to illuminate the night sky. A long strip of firecrackers lined the front of my grandpa’s house. The first sparks echoed around the quiet neighborhood, startling everyone. Flashes of color lit the sky that sent out thunderous booms. Firecrackers popped frequently in bursts of bright red light while fireworks sporadically exploded high in the dark night sky. Broad smiles glinted in the dim light, faces lit by the sparks around us, and cries of delight mixed with ear-splitting sounds together painted a picture of a festive evening. Burning flickers showered dangerously close to the tops of the surrounding houses in a dazzle of shimmering lights. Dozens of people crowded in their driveways along with my family as the noise volume gradually grew. When the last of the red sparks died out, the time span between booms also increased. Soon the night faded back into its natural dark serene peace, co-existing with the obscure smoke. The haziness lingered in the sky, erasing the memory of a once bright spectacle of shimmering stars. I smiled to the sky, content, as my eyes watched everyone retreat back into the warm interior of the house. My birthday was spent with my family, hearts lightened with joy, and not one, but two cakes.
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