One of our mentors is studying abroad this semester. Mary is spending three months in Spain and is staying in contact with her Little Brother by emailing us letters to read to him at school. Christian is in 2nd grade and loves his Big Sister! After reading him Mary's letter, he folded it into a very small square and stuck it deep into his pocket so he wouldn't lose it. Then, he asked staff to write the letter below (word-for-word).
Hola! I have found a new species of spiders, but I don't know what to call it. It is plain brown with no shapes or patterns and it doesn't have an hour glass so it can't be a brown widow. So, it has to be a new species! I'm still trying to figure out what kind of lizard the plain white ones are with patterns on their backs. They aren't in my reptiles and amphibians book you gave me, so I don't know their names. I'm still trying to study them. I have three in my tank. There's another one that suns on my mom's car, but he runs away whenever I try to catch him. He's a sneaky little fellow! I named him Trickster.
Guess what? I caught the fastest lizard on Earth - the race runners. I read about them in the book you gave me. Have you seen any new kinds of lizards in Spain? Can you tell me if you do? I really hope you are having fun in Spain! I am trying really hard to stay focused in school. I miss you a lot and I can't wait to see you again!
Your Litte Brother, Christian
Enjoying Florida's Beauty w/ Big Sister
Big Sister, Robin, and Little Sister, Madison, went on an amazing trip. Here are Robin's reflections on their time together:
My Little and I spent 36 hours together on the West Coast of Florida. She and I were matched 4 1/2 years ago and this was our first over night trip*.
Saying we had a wonderful time, not to mention the bonding that took place, is an understatement. We went non-stop every waking minute. I was afraid my Little would wear me out but actually I believe I wore her out!
We had a 3 hour ride to our destination which gave us lots of time to talk. And talk we did about everything!
After arriving, our first adventure was snorkeling in Manatee Springs. But first Madison baited a crab trap and put in the water hoping she would have crab to add to our supper.
Once at the springs, Madison commented on the beauty of the underwater rocks and the blue clear water. She and I both snorkeled, saw fish, and enjoyed the beauty of the springs. After our swim we walked down the boardwalk to the river and watched the Sturgeon jump.
We got back in time to cook supper, which was a seafood boil. And yes, Madison had one crab in her trap which we added to our shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn boil. Madison enjoyed the boil which was something she had never had before.... and we both liked the fact that the only dish to wash was the pot we boiled in.
Madison was anxious to catch more crabs and must have checked the trap 10 times before dark. And she did catch one more and one more the next morning. So twice we boiled crab.
That evening we took a walk and went to see the sunset. Madison took lots of pictures. By dark, we both were pretty tired but not too tired for Madison to teach me a new game called Mancala. But one game was enough for the two of us as we were both exhausted. I checked on Madison not too long after we said goodnight and she was already sound a sleep.
We got a early start the next morning and headed out with my kayak. We spent a few hours swimming and kayaking before lunch and packing up to head home. On our way back to St. Augustine, we wore our bathing suits and stopped at Fanning Springs State Park and, with mask in hand, went snorkeling at our second spring. This spring was full of big fish and lots of small shells. Madison collected 50 to take home.
At the end of the 36 hours, we were absolutely as close as sisters.... and Madison’s favorite adventure was snorkeling at Manatee. And so was mine.
Can hardly wait till next summer!
*Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Johns County has specific overnight visit guidelines that coummunity-based matches are required to adhere to.