My favorite day was in January of this year. I was in Nepal and my mom and I had woken up at four a.m. to finish our trek. We had been hiking for two days and were totally exhausted. When we got to the top of the hill, the sun had not yet risen into the blue sky. We sat there waiting in the dark until finally the sun rose in the sky. The clouds that made it look like we were floating above the world turned orange and yellow. The sun hit the snow on the mountains so it looked like the mountains were shining. Our guide turned to me and said, with his strong Nepalese accent, “Is it not the most beautiful morning? A morning like this is very special!” The sun continued to rise until everything around us seemed to be glowing the color of gold, and it was breathtaking. The frost that coated the prayer flags slowly began to melt and the flags of red, green, and yellow began to flap in the wind. When we had to begin to walk down the mountain, we walked through snow and ice. The air was cold and it smelled like spring.Then, as we descended more, we walked on steps carved out of the mountain. As we went down we would pass cows and mules that were meant to transport food and goods to the villages on the mountain. Then groups of Nepalese children would run right past us, wearing sandals and carrying school bags. You could hear them laughing for miles. After that we walked through a forest. In the forest we saw little rivers that had more prayer flags blowing above them. The rivers flowed on for miles down the mountain, and would eventually enter waterfalls. Above us, in the trees, monkeys would jump from one tree to another, then they would call out to the others. They would call and many would follow, swinging away from me in the high branches of the trees. The sun was high and there wasn’t a cloud anywhere around us. As we continued to walk down the mountain, we passed huts painted with bright and vibrant colors, and they were filled with the most genuine people in the world. The world looked so beautiful at this moment, filled with color and life. This was my best day ever.
My name is Madeline. I like the way the letters come together to make a steady and gentle sound. When someone says Madeline, it sounds like that letters belong together, like they were made to be together. I like the way the syllables seem to fit together and follow each other perfectly, like the waves of the ocean. That sound isn’t there when people call me Maddie, which is what people call me to save time. It sounds clunky, like two different shoes hitting the ground at once. However, Madeline is derived from the Mary Magdalene in the Bible. There isn’t a definition to my name, so I am unlike a lot of people who get their names from a family member who overcame opposition or from a hero in a story. Mary Magdalene was a follower and a friend of Christ. She didn’t do anything big or perform any miracles, but was simply a friend. She is viewed as one of Christ’s best friends in the Bible. Sometimes I think that’s what I want to get from my name. I don’t think that I will constantly do big things, like saving people from a fire or inventing cures for cancer. Even so, I can still do really little things that may not seem like a lot, but hopefully matter a lot to someone else. We are told all the time that a smile goes a long way, and that is what Madeline means to me. My name has helped me to notice the small and kind things that people do for me on a regular basis, and helps me try to do those same things to other people. It’s a constant reminder of this whenever someone calls my full name, which granted is not very often. In short, that’s why my parents decided to name me Madeline after Mary Magdalene. They want me to be the kind of person that looks to do the little things, instead of always striving for the big things.
It was the day of days. It was the year of years. Not only is it my birthday, but it’s my golden birthday, my eighth birthday! I jump out of bed and run down the stairs, my bare feet pounding on the wood, then the grass as I ran outside. I saw the camping tent set up in our little yard, the canoe in the corner, and the camping-themed obstacle race already set up. I could not keep the smile off my face as I got ready for school. All day as I sit at my desk, my feet tap with excitement. When I get home, my family and friends will be there, ready to celebrate! When my teacher finally dismisses me, I run home filled to the brim with excitement. One by one my friends begin to show up and the music turns up. I climb on the swing set with my best friend, run around the yard doing obstacle courses, and eat watermelon with my sisters. My dad even comes out in a giant bear costume and chases all of us around the yard. He stops when kids start to hit him in the back with oars from the canoe. I laugh and laugh, having the time of my life. The grill is on and the hamburgers are cooking. My far comes out in a bear costume and chases us around the yard, but he stops when he gets hit with one of the oars from the canoe. I laugh and laugh, having so much fun. The grill is turned on and the burgers are cooking. What a great day! But then I look over and see one of my friends in the corner, with a scowl that covers her whole face. I timidly walk over to ask her to come and join in, but she refuses, her words slapping me in the face. I walk away and am so annoyed that she wasn't joining in. For the rest of the night I try to get her to come play, but each time she turns her back on me and refuses. I feel deserted and rejected by someone I had felt so close to. Even while I was opening presents filled with dolls, craft supplies, stuffed animals, I am so disappointed that my party wasn't fun enough for her to join in. I walk into the house, leaving my party outside, and sit on a chair alone until it’s time to say goodbye. It’s hard to believe I had even looked forward to this day.