Chapter 1 Chapter 1
My name is Mindy Kim. I am eight years old.
That’s right—not seven, not seven and a half, but EIGHT.
Today is my birthday!
“Yay!” I jumped out of my bed with Mr. Toe Beans, my corgi stuffed doll.
The sun was shining bright outside, and even from inside my room, I could tell it was a beautiful day! And the best part? It was a Friday, and I was going to have a party after school with all my friends. I was so excited!
“Happy birthday, Mindy!” my dad said as he opened my bedroom door. “How does it feel to be eight?”
I quickly hid Mr. Toe Beans behind my back before Dad could see. I was eight now! I didn’t want Dad to think I still slept with a stuffed animal. Big kids didn’t sleep with dolls, and the bigger of a kid I seemed, the more likely it was that Dad would buy me a puppy. Dad had said he’d get me a puppy for my birthday. And today was finally the day!
“Good! I feel so big now!”
Dad put a hand to his chin, like he was thinking really hard as he looked at me. “Hmm, you do seem a bit taller than you did yesterday.”
“Really?” I bit my lip with excitement.
Dad laughed. “I’m just messing with you. But don’t worry, sweetie. You’re definitely still growing! Come down and eat some seaweed soup! Let’s call your grandparents!”
Every birthday, I eat seaweed soup for breakfast. It’s a Korean tradition! And then we call my grandparents in Korea so they can wish me happy birthday before they go to sleep. Korea time is thirteen hours ahead of Florida, so it was already nine p.m. there.
Mom used to always make seaweed soup for me, but since she wasn’t here this year, Dad made it. It wasn’t as good as Mom’s, but I didn’t tell him that. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
Dad brought his laptop to the dining room table as I ate. Grandma and Grandpa were already on the screen, their smiles wide and eyes shining. They looked so happy to see me! And I was happy to see them, too.
“Saeng-il chook-ha-hae, Min-jung-ah!” said Grandpa, wishing me happy birthday in Korean. He used my Korean name, like everyone else did back in Korea.
“Gomap seum-nida!” I said thanks, bowing with respect.
My grandparents asked me a lot of questions about how I was doing and what I was going to do today. They always ask me lots of stuff when we talk, because we only call each other on special days. I don’t know how to call my grandparents in Korea by myself, and Dad is usually too busy to do it for me on regular days.