In a dirty, littered place in Africa, there was a dirty, littered
building at the end of a dirty, littered street. But in that
building, a clean, joyful family lived. Their happiness shone all
around their tiny flat, making it seem beautiful and bright,
despite the black mold and the dampness on the walls.
The family consisted of four people: Kyra, the youngest child,
Annabelle, the older sister, Mother and Father. They were very
poor and barely survived. In fact, they even had to hunt for food
on the streets because there wasn't enough money for sufficient
food for everyone. Father worked in the supermarket, but he
didn't earn half enough money for the family.
On a breezy October day, Kyra and Annabelle set off to look for
food. It was the usual routine: Kyra looked in the bins,
Annabelle looked on the pavement. As Kyra searched the bins, she
saw a crumpled lucky draw ticket nearby. She bent over to pick it
up, and saw that the prize was four plane tickets to New Zealand!
Excitedly, Kyra put it in her pocket and ran to Annabelle. They
both set of to their parents and told them the excellent news.
"Now, we mustn't get our hopes up," said Mother. Everyone said
they'd try not to. But there was still a hopeful look in the
A few weeks later, the girls were yet again hunting for food. As
Annabelle passed a television shop (she often looked there, not
because there was a lot of food, but because she liked peering at
the televisions. Her family didn't even have a radio!) And heard
an announcer shout, "And the lucky draw tickets for the small
prize - a pair of the latest sunglasses - are: Green number 1,
yellow number fifty-four, and green number twenty-three. The
final ticket is….blue number thirty-eight! The lucky owner of
this ticket will earn four plane tickets to New Zealand! Please
go to the Hollywood Movie Recording Studio Hong Kong to collect
your prize!" Annabelle's heart pounded. Blue number thirty-eight
was her ticket number! She would be flying! She ran to Kyra,
bouncing up and down with excitement and screamed the news to her
Things changed after that. Kyra and Annabelle were told to get
anything useful from the rubbish heap, whether it was torn
cardigans or metal containers dented so badly you couldn't tell
what shape it was meant to be. Anything would be useful for their
trip. Mother packed everything in a worn out backpack - also
found in the rubbish heap - and Father's job was to go deliver
newspapers early every morning, so that he could earn a bit of
extra money for the trip. Although it ended up as nearly nothing,
he still managed to book a dusty attic room for nine days (they
were only going for nine days anyway) in a motel that was going
out of business.
Finally, after what seemed like years, December the 2nd came and
they all went to the airport by MTR, since there was not enough
money for a taxi. The family didn't have a lot of luggage so even
though they were late (it was their first time in an airport so
they didn't know that they had to be early for flights) they made
it on time. The family watched in awe at the mini television
screen and learnt how to buckle their seatbelts, how to store
luggage properly and how to blow a life vest. Learning about life
vests made Mother worried, but she was determined that nothing
could spoil her mood on a plane.
Kyra, the youngest, was more energetic and was fascinated at how
flying felt, rather than looking out in the window. So, even though
she was the youngest and ought to get the best seat - the window
seat, she let Annabelle sit there. The plane's engine suddenly
roared, as if the plane had a life of its own. The family of four
jumped in fright, and the man sitting next to Annabelle laughed
(Since those tickets were freebies, they couldn't sit together).
"You people act like you've never been on a plane before!" He
cried. "Well, uh, actually we haven't. This is our first time, you
see," Annabelle said, trying hard not to show how insulted she
felt. The man laughed harder and shook his head in wonder.
Kyra felt an upward swoosh and the plane took off. She dreamed of
the day she could fly a plane. Maybe she could be a pilot when she
grew up! The plane surged higher as if it could read her mind. Kyra
closed her eyes, trying to remember every moment of her flight.
A few minutes later, Annabelle was lying back on her comfortable
chair nibbling on a packet of peanuts. She had been shocked when
she found out that they would get free food. Annabelle was half
expecting elephants to come out and dance. Anything seemed possible
now, after getting free food and flying. She peered out of the
window and watched Hong Kong getting smaller and smaller; she
couldn't even see buildings anymore! Hong Kong was just a big piece
of green - and then it slowly became a tiny dot. Now, all she could
see was fluffy clouds. She imagined herself bouncing on them,
although she knew that she would just fall through them. It seemed
as if she was right up near the clouds, almost touching them. The
window seat was so cool! If only her friends could be here with
The air hostesses served lunch shortly after take off. Kyra got
chicken and gravy and peas and carrots and rice…with a drink and
bread and salad. It was called a "child meal" The family next to
her (two parents with their fussy toddler) looked at the lunch in
disgust. They thought it was horrid. But Kyra savored it because it
was much more than what she usually got at home. Again, she started
thinking how cool it would be if she was a pilot.
Annabelle felt a bit queasy; she never got used to having a full
meal and flying. Flying seemed so unreal, as if it were all a
dream. The plane moved slowly but gracefully and Annabelle was very
thankful of that. She didn't want to be sick on the best day of her
life! Unlike her sister, she liked looking and enjoying scenery.
The time was now seven thirty, and they had just finished dinner.
The air hostesses had given her a blanket too, but she didn't want
to sleep yet. There were thousands of movies, songs and even a few
games on her little television set! Annabelle didn't want to wake
up and find out that her flight was over! No, she would treasure
every moment of it - from taking off to landing. Anyway, she was
way to full to sleep properly.
Kyra imagined going on a plane at full speed, turning around and
around. Suddenly, as if reading her thoughts, an announcement came.
"Please buckle your seatbelts as we are passing through some air
turbulence," said a voice. It boomed through the speakers and soon
there was a wave of clicks and clacks. The turbulence was a few
bumps, but Kyra pictured it as clouds tall as mountains ferocious
winds. She secretly didn't buckle her seatbelts so she could make
the most of this bumpy moment. Luckily, the family next to her was
too busy minding their screaming baby to notice.
The next morning, after breakfast they had to land, to their
dismay. "It only seemed like seconds!" Complained Kyra. Annabelle
was too busy taking in her last-minute sights of the clouds.
Kyra sat eagerly on her seat, waiting for the same swoosh only
downwards. "This is the best bit," she whispered to herself. The
plane flew downwards, then forwards a bit, and downwards again…the
pattern repeated again and again and again. Kyra memorized it all.
Annabelle peered outside of her window. It was so different from
the cold, bitter Hong Kong! Here in New Zealand, a beautiful blue
sky hung above grassy, lush meadows. Even the air smelt different;
fresher and clearer. The sun shone brightly, almost blinding her.
It might be the beginning of a truly fantastic holiday to some
people, thought Annabelle, but for me and my family, it is just the
end of a truly fantastic airplane experience. And she slowly
started walking, exploring the new land that lay in front of her.