The Switch


Anna Allen was 10 years old. She was a tall girl. She had red hair, green eyes. She loved school so much that her big and little sisters said when she was a grown-up she would get married to school. “It is sssooooo true, Annie” said Avery, her big sister. “ Right Lily?” Lily, who was Anna’s little sister and also 2, was busy painting. She looked up and smiled. “Yeah, you going to marry school!” Anna signed. She looked forward to school today. She did every day. Anna didn’t tell anyone though, because the second she did, Lily and Avery would tease her to death. Thankfully, Anna’s mom was in the room. “ Avery, stop teasing Annie right now. By the way, you both go get ready for school.” Avery and Anna ran upstairs to get ready. Anna zoomed up and brushed her teeth while putting on her clothes. She did not want to be late. Anna ran to Avery’s room to see if she was ready.

When Anna got to the doorway, she came face-to-face with Avery. Avery’s face was as white as chalk and confronted her with rage. “Were did you put it, Anna?! I need it NOW!” she said in a dangerous sort of voice. “ Anna tell me, where did you put IT?! She was shaking Anna now wanting answers. Anna was really scared. “I don-don’t kn-know what you-your talking a-a-bou-bout.” Anna didn’t know but she could tell it was important. “ DON’T LIE TO ME! IT WAS MY STUDENT STUDY GUIDE AND MY FOLDER!” Avery roared. Now Anna was close to tears. There was a thumping sound of walking and Anna’s dad appeared, looking tired and grumpy. Anna’s mom appeared too, with Lily poking around her legs, smudging them with paint. “ What is going on? Avery, I expect more of you. Let go of Anna right now. Tell me what’s going on or I will take away your phone this very moment.” Anna’s dad glared at Avery, as if daring her to not answer. But Anna knew that Avery loved her phone as much as her life. She took a deep breath and began. “Ok if you want” Avery scowled “I went to get my backpack when I saw that my student study guide and folder were missing. I guessed Anna took it for pay back for teasing her. Apparently I was wrong.” Avery raised her hands as to say: you win, I lose. Anna’s dad looked at Avery for a moment then said, “Go to school, cause your late.” Anna’s stomach dropped. She hated being late.

Anna ran downstairs and went into the kitchen. “Bye mom. Bye Lily.” Anna said this as she got a piece of bread. “ BYE DAD! LOVE YOU!” She yelled and she ran

out the door to the nearest bus stop and saw the bus closing its doors. “WAIT!” she yelled and to her surprise, it stopped and it opened the door. Anna jumped on as soon as she could and sat down in the back because Avery always sat in the front. As soon as she sat down she closed her eyes to rest, but tried not to fall asleep to make sure she got off the bus on time. Anna began to day-dream she was talking to Lucas Jive, the prettiest boy in her school. Anna woke up with a start. It was time to get off the bus. Anna and her best friend, Sidney Sue, got up and stepped out of the bus. They walked to their school building and got inside. It’s a beautiful place. It even had a waterfall. Anna and Sidney attended classes all day peacefully…

When Anna got home she went straight to her room. She wanted to try to finish her homework, but couldn’t because Lily kept coming up to her room and making noise. So Anna decided to go downstairs to eat dinner. I’ll finish later, Anna thought. When Anna went downstairs, she was surprised to find Avery smiling, as Lily cried. “What happened?” Anna asked. “Oh, just that Lily and her best friend, Lulu, played a prank on me. Actually, the very same prank I thought you had played on me this morning.” Lily hiccupped “S-ss-sorry A-an-annie.” At this time Anna’s mom came in. “I thought it was sad that Avery caught her. Poor Lily, she vomited two times already.” Suddenly Anna didn’t feel so hungry anymore. She went upstairs just to find herself being the victim of Avery’s vengeful prank. As Anna walked through her room door, her face got stuck on a stretched piece of cooking plastic wrap Avery had placed across her door. Anna grunted in anger and frustration. “Uuggghhh, Avery!” Anna just ripped it off and jumped on her bed. She immediately fell asleep.

The next morning, Anna woke up and noticed she was in Avery’s room. She looked at Avery’s clock and saw that she woke up late. She was never late. Well I guess I better get up now so I won’t be even more late. She thought. But she didn’t feel like getting up to go to school, which she thought was werid. She also felt like she hated school. Oh. That’s odd. I love school. She was worried now. She was not feeling like herself at all. But she made up her mind. She stood up and looked at herself and screamed, “Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!”She looked exactly like Avery. Tears started to fall from Anna’s eyes just as Anna’s mom came in. “What happened, Avery?” she asked gently. “N-n-n-nothin-nothing, m-m-mom. She cried softly. “Ok. I’m making breakfast in the kitchen. Come down soon, Avery.” Anna was in shock, and could not stop thinking…”Why Avery?”

Anna tried changing her clothes but did not know where everything was at, so she went downstairs all miss matching. As she came downstairs, Anna saw

herself sitting at the kitchen table, only she knew it wasn’t her. She guessed that Anna sitting at the table was Avery. The real Avery. She looked at Anna and Anna could tell she had been crying. Avery gave a tiny nod, with a fearful look in her eyes, as if to say something. It was only Lily who didn’t look worried or scared at all. In fact, on the contrary she looked happy. Suddenly, and thankfully, Anna’s mom broke the odd silence. “Anna, Avery, you two need to go upstairs to get ready for school.” School. Anna didn’t want to go to school. But, unfortunately she had to. So Anna and Avery ran up as fast as they could. When they were ready, Avery came to talk to Anna while they were waiting for the bus.

“Anna, do you know how this happened?” Avery asked Anna. “ I don’t know. I thought you knew.” Anna replied. Avery was about to answer but at that very moment, a boy’s voice called out to them. “Oy, Avery!” Jon Jive, the biggest bully in the whole school, and Lucas Jive’s big brother, was the boy who had called out to them. Anna remembered that she looked like Avery and that he was looking at her. “I’m not going to hang out with you today, Jon Jive.” Jon looked shocked as she said this. So he stalked off looking puzzled. There was a silence after Jon walked off, so it was a relief when the bus came. Anna saw Sidney in the back. Avery suggested that they sit in the middle together so they can tell one other stuff they do and say at school. Anna agreed. They got off just in time and went to each others classes.

Anna didn’t say a word in all of Avery’s classes. It was a hard day and instead of walking home like they usually did, they took the bus. When they were at the door they heard Lily saying “Mommy, sissys home!” When their mom opened the door they went up to their rooms after they ate just an orange and took a bath only because their mom said so. After that Anna bade good-night to her dad and mom. Lily gave Anna a hug, and whispered: “I know its you, Anna” then in a normal voice she said, “Good-night Avery.” Anna went to bed right after that, trying to figure out how this could have happened.

That night, Anna had a very weird dream. A mischievous dark fairy, who flew into Anna’s room through the window. She picked some glittering dust from her little bag, glowing pink and blue. The dark fairy sprinkled some of the dust on Anna. The fairy then went to Avery’s room and took a different dust from her bag and sprinkled it on her. Somehow, this caused Anna and Avery to switch places. The dark fairy cackled and laughed mischievously as she flew out the window. In the dream, Anna somehow knew this fairy was known as The Switch. According to the legend, the fairy should have returned the next night to turn them back to normal, only she didn’t.

That second day felt like an eternity for Anna and Avery, learning how it really felt to be each other. By the end of the day, they both felt they understood each other more than ever. The morning of the third day, Anna woke up with a start. She was so scared to look in the mirror and again see Avery. But she was hungry, so she wanted to get her morning ritual over with. Much to her surprise, when she stood up and looked in the mirror, it was Anna Allen that she saw, she was herself again, and not Avery. She was so happy. Next to her bed, she found a little tiny note, with a beautiful tiny hand writing: “Sorry for not coming back the previous night, I ran out of switch dust and had to go back to Dark Hollows to get more”, signed The Switch Fairy. The look in Anna’s eyes could have frozen the world, but in her heart Anna felt relived and happy to be back to normal. She couldn’t’ wait to get back to her own life and school.

Anna ran downstairs and saw that Avery was siting at the table, grinning. As Anna entered the kitchen her mom shouted “Pancakes Anna!!.” Anna noticed her mom had made two types of pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, and blueberry pancakes. “Wow. You both seem so happy today. Is it the pancakes I made?” Anna’s mom asked. Anna didn’t answer. She was too happy to care. On the other hand, Avery was very quiet yet had a smirk on her face. “Hey, Anna” said Avery. Anna was focused on eating her chocolate chip pancakes and thinking about school. “Anna!!” growled Avery. Anna had the feeling that Avery was trying to break her good vibe. But as Anna looked at Avery, Avery had her own plate of pancakes extended toward Anna, and grinned as she very smugly said, “Wanna switch?.”

The End!

I want to thank Daddy, for helping me and encouraging me. I also want to thank Mommy, for the same things and for telling me about this contest. I love my family!

Like every writer, I was a avid reader before a writer.

Comprei um material americano de educação domiciliar – homeschooling – para usar com a minha filha mais velha em casa nesse último ano pre-escolar em que a escola em si ainda não é obrigatória aqui. É um currículo baseado em literatura com uma lista maravilhosa de livros para leitura em voz alta que eu jamais saberia escolher sozinha por não ter crescido nos Estados Unidos. E ao seguir o roteiro do currículo, fui me dando conta que estava indo muito além das letras, números e contação de estórias.

“Perdão: Eu trato as pessoas como se elas nunca tivessem me machucado.”

Essa é a frase da semana que está no quadro branco e que repetimos juntos uma vez ao dia. Semana passada foi a obediência. Na retrasada, a honestidade. Uma virtude por semana durante um ano. Com definições simples dadas em exemplos práticos. Quando eu escolho tratar alguém como se essa pessoa nunca tivesse me machucado, eu estou perdoando. Até o meu filho de três anos entende o que isso quer dizer. E mesmo que o entendimento seja superficial nesse momento, uma semente foi plantada no coração deles.

Ensinar as virtudes com intenção e de maneira propositada é muito interessante do ponto de vista do adulto. A consistência solidifica. A responsabilidade vem à tona. Como posso estar chateada com o meu marido por algo que ele fez ontem se hoje ensino os meus filhos a tratar as pessoas como se elas nunca tivessem os machucado? A coerência precisa estar presente para que tudo faça sentido.

Eu me imaginava falando sobre obediência, honestidade e perdão com os meus filhos conforme as situações práticas da vida fossem exigindo. Nunca tinha pensado em sistematizar e trabalhar cada uma delas antecipadamente para encher o coração deles de virtudes. Mas agora vejo que faz sentido se antecipar para que eles se equipem na integridade de caráter com um arsenal de valores sólidos que possam ser usados em qualquer situação da vida deles, mesmo eu estando longe.

Você trabalha as virtudes do coração com os seus filhos?

Ex corde.

Outro dia, a minha filha de quatro anos e meio me pediu para ler uma revistinha da Turma da Mônica com ela. Temos algumas revistinhas em casa em português que foram carinhosamente trazidas do Brasil pelos avós. E como eu cresci lendo a Turma da Mônica, achei um barato que ela demonstrou interesse. Embarcamos então na leitura. Até que então:

“- Mamãe, a Mônica tá com raiva? E por que o Cebolinha está rindo dela?”

“- A Mônica bateu nele, mamãe? Por quê?”

“- E porque ele implicou com ela?”

Estou no meio de um processo árduo para ensiná-la a processar a suas frustrações de uma maneira saudável, sem bater em ninguém, sem jogar ou quebrar nada. Repito várias vezes ao dia o que é certo e o que é errado. Escolho as palavras. Modero o tom da voz. Dou nome aos sentimentos (raiva, frustração, irritação, etc) para tentar ajudá-la a processá-los melhor. E ao ler a historinha, ela ficou confusa ao identificar os comportamentos claramente errados. ‘É isso mesmo, mamãe?’, ela me perguntava como se quisesse confirmar as constatações. E eu tive que dizer que sim, que ela estava vendo o Cebolinha implicar com a coleguinha pelo simples prazer de implicar; que ela estava vendo a Mônica ter crises de raiva e quebrar tudo pela frente incluindo a cara do coleguinha; e que ela estava vendo um colega rir da dor do outro colega. A experiência de ler a Turma da Mônica com a minha filha não foi legal.

Do ponto de vista da maternidade consciente e propositada que tento exercer com os meus filhos (para quem me segue ha algum tempo, tive um menino que está com 2 anos e meio), a Turma da Mônica não acrescenta. Pelo exposto acima, é claro que as historinhas do Maurício de Souza confundem ao desdizer o que eu repito incansavelmente todos os dias. Fiquei feliz ao constatar que a minha menina já sabe que bater no amigo não é certo. E que não é legal rir na cara do outro enquanto o outro claramente sofre. Mas não me sinto confortável em deixar que a Turma da Mônica conviva tão de perto assim dos meus pequenos. Talvez mais lá para frente – com eles maiores e valores mais consolidados –  eu tente novamente para trazer um pouco de brasileirice para os meus americaninhos. Mas por agora, preciso insistir naquilo que é certo ponto final sem nenhuma abertura para ideias que possam mesmo que em pensamento contribuir para algo que, ao meu ver, é negativo.

“Mãe, o que é dentuça?”

Nem vou entrar no assunto do quanto não quero que ela entenda que pode usar características físicas para ofender os outros. E toda vez que ela me pede para ler a Turma da Mônica, eu sigo inventando uma historia sem pé nem cabeça e me lembro que tenho que colocar os gibis numa caixa lá no fundo da garagem.

Ex corde.



*** Editado em 9 de agosto de 2018 – Veja abaixo ***


O meu post de 2012 “Como é ser casada com um militar americano?” gerou uma série de emails e comentários de dois anos para cá vindo de mulheres brasileiras que conheceram militares americanos pela internet e começaram a se relacionar à distância. A informação que chegou até a mim é que elas foram abordadas em sites de relacionamento e/ou em sites “de ajuda com o idioma”. Eles dizem que são militares americanos e que estão em uma posição de liderança em zona de guerra e que não podem viajar, mas falam em casamento, em ir ao Brasil e tudo mais para criar esperanças de um relacionamento amoroso de sucesso.

Aí vem a parte do golpe. Uns dizem que se a noiva/namorada pagar uma taxa, ele pode ser liberado da missão militar e viajar para encontrar com ela. Outros dizem que para viajar para o Brasil é preciso pagar uma taxa para pedir uma licença militar de emergência, mandam documentos ‘oficiais’ com papel timbrado. Dizem que precisam pagar alguém para ficar no lugar deles. Ou dizem que é a taxa cobrada pelo Exército. Vi também uns que querem pagar para registrar a noiva como militar. As desculpas para pedir dinheiro são quase ilimitadas. Nada disso é legítimo. Não existe taxa para pedir licença. Exército, Força Aérea, Fuzileiros Navais ou Marinha não mandam nada para ninguém que não é familiar imediato (amiga, namorada, noiva, etc). Militares americanos não precisam que ninguém preencha formulário nenhum. A quantidade de documento falsificado é enorme. Não caia no golpe. Não envie dinheiro pela internet para ninguém.

Se você tiver se envolvendo amorosamente com alguém pela internet e o sentimento for recíproco, ele vai encontrar uma forma e todo dinheiro do mundo para ir te encontrar.

E se você já ouviu ou viveu algo parecido, divide nos comentários abaixo. A informação é a arma mais poderosa que existe.

Ex corde.

Links em inglês sobre o golpe:

Página do Facebook

Exército americano avisa público sobre o golpe

Investigação do Comando Criminal do Exército

*** Editado em 9 de agosto de 2018 ***

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