Nina: An Awesome Trip to Auckland


Dear diary,

My name is Nina, and I’m eight years old. I was so excited to get you! Tonight is the second night of Chanukah. I can’t wait until sundown for us to celebrate.

My house is in Madison, Wisconsin. It has two floors, counting the basement. My room is small, and it has a little desk, a big dolly bin, and a small bunk bed. My dog, Tissues, who is a King Charles Spaniel, sleeps on the bottom, and I sleep on the top, but sometimes my parents move Tissues to the top. I also sometimes sleep in the guest room, where the walls are painted green.

I want a lot of things, but what I want most is a little sister. But my mom says one child is enough.

Tissues just came in. My mom is calling me for Chanukah. For Chanukah, my present is to go to Auckland for vacation.

I woke up early today, and ran to my tree house. I don’t have my new red pen because today I have school. Ugh, because I’m in a rush, I had time to write in you. My mom is calling me for breakfast.


On the Plane

Finally, we got on the plane. At school, I feel lonely because I have no friends, and right now, I feel lonely because I do not have anyone to talk to. Now we are on the runway.

“Whaaa,” cried a baby, because we were going fast now that we took off.

“Why did the duck cross the road?” I asked.

“Why?” asked my mom.

“To see what the chicken was doing,” I answered.

My mom laughed.  

“What kind of pants do clouds wear?” I asked.

“What kind?” my mom asked.

“Thunderpants,” I answered.

My mom cracked up. I did too. I told a bunch more jokes, and then I looked down at the clouds, and fell asleep for an hour.


My Dream

I dreamed that chipmunks were talking to me. I said, “Can you stop stealing food from my family?”

“Yes,” the chipmunks said.

“Thanks,” I said. “I never thought I’d talk to a chipmunk.”

“Well, we never thought we’d talk to a human.”

And we all were friends.



Auckland is beautiful. When we got to our hotel and took out Tissues, he ran around like crazy, so we brought him outside. Tissues pulled me along. Suddenly, I tripped over a tree root, and he started chasing a squirrel and running farther from me. I could just run toward the hotel… I felt scared, and wondered if I should run up to get my mom and dad, or if I should start running after Tissues. I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to get Tissues so badly. He had stood up for me when I was made fun of, calmed me down when I was sad, and played with me on rainy days when no one else wanted to play. I was dying to chase him, but I didn’t want to get lost, because then my parents would have to find me and Tissues. I just didn’t want to make the wrong move. But, maybe my parents could find him if I told them. But what if I got in trouble? Tissues had been my responsibility. And, my parents had always said to never run into the street.

I decided to run up to the hotel room to tell my mom and dad. I decided to not run after Tissues, because I might get lost.

“Mom… Dad… um… I sort of… um… lost… um… Tissues,” I said, nervously wringing my hands. “I’m r-really sorry,” I added.

“I know, sweetie, but it’s okay, we’ll find him.”

I saw tears in her eyes.

“But what if we don’t?” I asked.

“We’ll talk about that if we get to that point,” said my dad.

Twelve minutes later, after arguing with the hotel manager about printing posters from his computer and using the hotel printer, we flew down the stairs to find Tissues. We brought posters and pictures to hang up on trees. There was a $100 reward if someone found Tissues.

I envisioned myself carelessly tossing my clothes into my suitcase as we packed to leave. But something was different. I wasn’t tossing crumpled up clothes for Tissues to chase. I was just tossing them into a suitcase. I would do anything to have that day never happen. I started to cry. My dad said maybe I should stay behind with her, Miriam. Miriam is my mom’s name.

I said, “No, I want to help find him and help you hang up the posters.”

“Alright, but are you sure?” my dad said.

“I’m sure,” I sobbed.

“Alright,” Dad said again. “But we can always bring you back.”

“I know,” I said.

We saw a tree and hung one of the posters of Tissues on it. I was starting to get hungry. I was worried about Tissues. In my mind, I pictured Tissues getting petnapped.

“Can you take me back for a snack?” I asked my dad.

“Sure,” he said. “A lot of people will probably find Tissues in Auckland.”

“But some people might not bring Tissues back to us. Instead, they might petnap him,” I said.

“Most people won’t want to petnap him, so a person who will bring him back will probably find him first,” my dad said comfortingly.

“But what if a petnapper surprisingly finds him first?” I asked, while sobbing.

“Then we will call the police,” my dad said.

“But we might not figure out that he got petnapped,” I said.


My Dream

I decided to change to my red pen, because I was tired of plain old black.

“It will be fine. Now, what do you want for snack?” my dad said.

I had cheddar bunnies. When I finished, I took a nap. Soon, I was in dreamland. But it wasn’t all good.

Someone in all black and grey was walking and found Tissues next to a poster we had hung up. He picked Tissues up and brought him to a little hut that was filled with animals in cages. He put Tissues in a cage with a rattlesnake.

I screamed, “Tissues!!!” in my dream, and out loud. My mom ran into my room. I was sleeping, and she rubbed my back. I opened my eyes and started crying.

“What’s wrong?” my mom said.

“I had a nightmare,” I said, and then told her my dream.

“I think we need to do something to get you to forget about Tissues for a little while.”


Exploring Auckland

“Okay, what should we do?” I said.

“I don’t know. Maybe we should look in the magazine of fun things to do in Auckland that you and Daddy got,” my mom said.

“Great idea,” I said.

We walked to the living room and got the magazine.

“Do you want to go on a sailboat?” my mom asked.

“Sure,” I said.               

“Alright, let me try to reserve a sailboat,” my mom said.

After a little while, my mom said that we needed to reserve a sailboat the day before, so we were going to do it tomorrow and go fishing.

“Can we just go for a walk?” I asked.

“Of course, honey,” my mom said.

“Do you wanna come with us, Paul?” my mom said.

Paul is my dad’s name.  

“Yes, but before we go, I want to get the map,” my dad said.

“Alright,” my mom said, and my dad left to get the map.

We walked around silently and looked at flowers. They were beautiful. I even forgot that Tissues was lost, but then I started to daydream, and I daydreamed the same dream as before.  Then, I started to cry, for the millionth time in the day.  I opened my eyes and noticed that I had fell onto a bench.

“What’s wrong?” my mom asked.

“I had the same dream,” I sobbed.

Just then a lady in a striped dress and jeans, with blue eyes, asked me if I was hurt.

I blushed. “No, but I lost my dog,” I said.

“Oh, poor you.”

I blushed again.

“Wait a second, is your dog the one who has a picture of him eating tissues on a poster?”

“Yes, did you find him?” I asked her hopefully.

“No, but I saw the poster. Anyway, I have to go.”

I was  disappointed that she hadn’t found Tissues, but I would be surprised if someone already found him.

“We should go to the hotel to order room service.”

“Alright,” I said, starting to cry for the millionth and first time today.

But then I ran out of tears, and my throat started to hurt.

“My throat hurts, and I’m tired,” I said.

“You probably are tired because we had a long day, and your throat hurts from crying. I’ll give you Advil when we get back to the hotel.”

When we got to the hotel, I had my yucky Advil and ordered pasta and butter.


The First Night

My mom and dad cuddled with me like always. But instead of cuddling with me for one minute, like what we do at home, they snuggled with me for ten whole minutes, which was nice of them. Their reason was that we were far away from home and that Tissues got lost. That night, I hardly slept at all, because I had the same nightmare and a bunch of other nightmares. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want to wake them up. I told them when it was breakfast.

They said, “I’m sorry, but I think that’s how it’s going to be for a little while.”

I had cereal for breakfast. The cereal was from a grocery store my mom went to on the way back from looking for Tissues. I was happy it wasn’t from the hotel, because it probably would have been bad cereal.


The First Day   

We had relaxing time. I started to write. It was called “Hair Tease.” The main character had two moms. One mom he called “Mom One,” and the other mom “Mom Two.” He was born by one, and the other one was just a mom. It was about a boy who had long hair. There was a bully in his school named Ollie. He teased him about his hair. He tried going to get a haircut but the barbershop was closed. He asked Mom Two to bring him to the barbershop the next day, but she said, “I like your hair. Plus, I am too busy.”

On the way to school, he learned to be himself and to ignore Ollie and his friends. Next, I looked in my secret code book and found the code I had been looking for. It was one I had been stuck on for a while. The word looked like this: yllp. Finally I guessed it was book because y = b, o = l. The next “o” is still l, and p = k.

“Nina, come here,” my dad said.

“What?” I said.

“Your great grandma’s on FaceTime.”

“Hi,” she said.  

I said hi back, and then we talked about Tissues for a while. Then we hung up. We left. We left to go hiking.

“It’s a beautiful day to go hiking,” my mom said.

“Sure is,” my dad and I said, almost at the same time.

When we got there, we saw the person we saw before, when I had my daydream. She was with her son. I could tell he was Hispanic, and now that I thought of it, his mom was too. He had short black hair and blue eyes like his mom. He looked excited to hike.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hi,” my mom and dad and I said.

Then we started to hike. We were together the whole time. During the hike, my mom and dad talked to the person who saw me when I had the daydream. She said her name was April. I talked to her son a little bit. We said our names. His was Nicholas. He also said he was from Auckland, but his family was going to move to Madison, Wisconsin, the same town as mine. He didn’t know what school he was going to.

When we got to the top, we saw a hotel. It was a great view. Then we walked down silently, probably because it was a hard hike and we were tired. Then we went to the grocery store to have lunch there. April and Nicholas went to eat at their house.

“Is Nicholas nice?” my mom said.

“Yes, and he is going to move to our town,” I said.

“That’s what April said,” my mom said.

Lunch was fine. I had a cheeseburger. Then we went fishing. It was great. I caught a salmon and two trout. My mom caught two trout, and my dad caught three minnows. Then we went home for dinner. We ate the some of the salmon. Then, suddenly, I thought about Tissues and instantly started crying. It’s weird that I didn’t start crying while we FaceTimed with my great grandma.

“What’s wrong, kiddo?” my dad asked.                                                                                        

“I just thought about Tissues,” I sobbed.                                                                                                   

“Oh, honey, I’ll get a visualization for when you go to bed,” my mom said.

“Thanks, Mom,” I said, still sobbing.



I got into my pajamas and brushed my teeth. Then I asked my mom for the visualization. I picked one called “The Magical Playground,” but I still had nightmares. I still did not want to wake up my parents. In the morning, I told my parents I still had nightmares.

“Did you have less?” my dad asked.

I nodded.

“Well, that’s good,” my dad said.

Right after breakfast, we had to leave to go sailboating. It was great weather for sailboating. The weather app on my mom and dad’s phone said it was going to be seventy-seven. I suddenly thought about Tissues and started crying like last night. Just then, a boy about my age came by. He stuck out his tongue and screamed, “Town crybaby!” really loudly. His mom, dad, and friends roared with laughter.

“Ignore them,” my mom said, putting her hand on my shoulder.

“I tried to,” I remember saying. “But their laughing was too loud.”

“But why are you crying?” asked my dad, comfortingly resting his hand on my back.

I thought about Tissues again, and more tears came out.

“I know it is hard to ignore people that yell, but at least try,” my dad said.

Suddenly, I heard a loud laugh. I glanced back and saw the boy, his family, and his friends behind us.

“Dad, I think the boy who called me crybaby is following us, and I did try to ignore him,” I said, still sobbing.

“This is a busy street, and I’m glad you tried to ignore him.” my dad said.

I still thought he might be following us, but I was less sure because it did look like a busy street.

“It is weird that the boy followed us here and whe –”

“The crybaby is running away on a rented sailboat,” the boy interrupted and screamed.

Luckily no one heard because it was loud, and we were too far away. If they heard us, we would most likely get in trouble. After a while, we left and went to a restaurant for lunch. On the way there, I heard the mean boy say, “Come on, let’s go follow them.”

Then I heard his dad say, “No, Herb, let’s tease that boy who is scared to go on a boat because he thinks he’ll drown.”

“Oh, yeah,” Herb said.

I didn’t know what to do because it would be weird if some random person stood up for you, but it would be a nice thing to do, and I might even make friends with him. But before I could do anything, we changed streets. I felt so bad for him. Lunch was great. I had a caesar salad.


Relaxing Time

We went home to relax for the rest of the day, because our plan for tomorrow is to have breakfast, go sightseeing, have lunch, and then go to a museum. I don’t know what to do right now, so I’ll just write in you. I’m going to check how much pages you have left. You have about one and a half pages left. Now I don‘t know what to do. Wait a second, my dad looks bored. He and I like Scrabble, and I had seen Scrabble in the closet that was in my hotel bedroom. I asked him if he wanted to play.

“Yes,” he said.

I won and got a bingo. The word was ‘powerful,’ and it was right over a triple word score, so the total score of that one word was forty-two. It felt like a long game, because we took a lot of water and snack breaks. Then it was time for dinner. I ate leftover caesar salad. Then I got ready for bed. I slept worse than the first or second night because it was our last day in Auckland, and if I didn’t find Tissues, I think we would go home without him.


After Breakfast

After breakfast, we left right away to go sightseeing. On our way there, I wished Tissues was walking right beside me. I envisioned it very clearly. I couldn’t stand thinking about it, so I bursted into tears.

“What’s wrong?” my mom said.

“I thought about Tissues,” I said.

“Oh,” my mom said.



We went to the the aquarium. It was great. Then we went to the Auckland botanical gardens, which was better until I got to a flowerbed that reminded me of one that was in our backyard. When Tissues would be tired in our backyard, he would lay down there and fall asleep. I told my mom and dad that, but before I finished, I started sobbing. I was tired of crying almost all of the trip, but I couldn’t help it.

Then it was time for lunch. I still was sobbing. When our waitress came, I recognized her. I ordered a cheese sandwich. While I ordered it, she said “crybaby” really loudly. I ignored her. She roared with laughter. I recognized the laughter. It sounded like Herb’s mom. The cheese sandwich was terrible. My mom and dad said their food was terrible.

“Do you think that our waiter is Herb’s mom?” I said.

“Yes,” my mom and dad said at the same time.

“I think I even saw his dad,” my mom said.

“Really?” my dad and I gasped.

“Really,” my mom said.

“Where?” I asked.

“Well, I think I saw him coming out of the kitchen?” my mom said.

“Oh,” I said.


After a busy day…

After spending the day around Auckland, suddenly my dad’s phone rang. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. The thing I heard was “great” then my dad hung up.

“Guess what?” he said. “Nicholas found Tissues!!!”

“Really?” I said, jumping up into the air.

“Really. April said for us to meet on 231 Centeraph road, which is the road we’re turning on,” he said.

“I can’t wait to see Tissues,” my mom said.

When we turned onto it, I saw Tissues and started running. Tissues saw me too, and started running towards me.

“Tissues!” I said, pretty loudly.

He started galloping towards me, barking like crazy.

“Thank you!” I said, while hugging Tissues tightly, but not too tightly.

“You’re welcome. I always wanted to save a dog that is by themself, because I love dogs,” Nicholas said.

“Yeah, dogs are awesome,” I agreed.


A Good Time

We talked to each other for about five minutes. Nicholas was really nice.

Then, April said that they had to eat dinner.

“We need to eat dinner too,” my dad said.

“You can eat dinner with us,” April said.

“Are you sure you’re okay with that?” my mom said.

“Of course,” April said.

So we went inside to Nicholas’s house. I was surprised how big it was. We had pasta with butter. Their pasta was much better than the room service. Tissues curled up next to my chair. I petted him. When I was done, since my parents weren’t done yet, I sat down on the couch and petted Tissues, and he fell asleep. Nicholas sat down on the couch on the other side of Tissues and petted him. Nicholas and I talked. Then we had to go.

“I feel like I could be friends with Nicholas,” I said to my mom and dad.

“That’s great!” they said.

I wish I could become friends with Nicholas before I got back to Madison, Wisconsin. I dreamed of Nicholas and I being friends. We were running around playing, and we even had a sleepover, and Tissues slept in the middle of us as we slept on the ground.

The next morning, at breakfast my dad said, “Your mom found two tickets with no name on them. April said that they were all ready to move, but they didn’t have tickets yet. They still had to buy them. So we’ve decided to use them for April and Nicholas.”

“Great!” I said.

After breakfast, my mom called April.

April said, “It would be great to be on the same plane.”

“Maybe you and Nicholas can become friends,” my mom said.


On the Plane

On the plane, Nicholas and I talked.

“Do you like jokes?” I asked Nicholas.

“Yes,” he said, and smiled.

“I love them,” I said. “Why did the duck cross the road?”

“Why?” Nicholas asked.

“To see what the chicken was doing!” I said, and Nicholas laughed.

Then he told me a joke. “Knock. Knock,” he said.

“Who’s there?” I asked.

“Noah,” he said.

“Noah who?”

“Noah good place to eat?” he said.

I laughed. I hadn’t heard that one before.

“Knock. Knock,” he said again.

“Who’s there?” I answered.

“Canoe,” he said.  

“Canoe who?” I asked.

“Canoe help me with my homework?” he said.

Nicholas and I cracked up on that.

“Where did the sheep get a haircut?” I asked.

“Where?” Nicholas said.

“At the baa-ba shop,” I replied.

Nicholas cracked up. Just then, the plane took off.


“What?” he asked, smiling.

“Would you call us friends?”
“Yes,” he said.

“Then you’re the only friend I have,” I said.

“You are too,” he said, smiling big.

“I have a question. Do you have a dad?” I asked.

“Uhhh…” Nicholas’s smile leaked off of his face. “No…” he took a deep breath. “He died when I was five.”

“I-I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I’m sorry I ask–” I said, but Nicholas cut me off.

“It’s okay,” he wiped a tear off his face. “I just haven’t talked about it in a while. My mom doesn’t like talking about it.”

“I understand,” I said quietly.


Our First Playdate

As April unpacked, Nicholas and I had playdates and sleepovers. On the first playdate, Nicholas and I decided to play outside with Tissues.

“You got a new friend?” someone behind me said. “Because you won’t have him for long.”

I turned around and saw Walter, a bully at my school.

“Oh, really?” I said.

“Nicholas is strong. But not as strong as me,” he declared, and he dived at Nicholas.

Tissues threatened to bite Walter. Walter jumped up at Tissues then, but Tissues was too fast, so he fell down on the snow. Then he got up.

“I don’t wanna get in trouble for being late, but I’ll get you another time,” he said, smiling.

I was kind of worried that Tissues wouldn’t be there.

“Tissues was the hero,” I said.

“Yeah,” agreed Nicholas, “Let’s write a story called Tissues to the Rescue.”

“Great idea,” I said. “But I’m kind of worried that Walter will bully us when we are not with Tissues.”

“Who’s Walter?” Nicholas asked.

“The person who was mean to us,” I responded.

“Oh, I agree,” Nicholas said.

Then we went inside and wrote the story. Nicholas mostly drew, and I mostly wrote it. After, we made a copy for my dad, mom, and Nicholas’s mom. Then, my mom made the best hot chocolate ever. When we finished, Nicholas’s mom came to pick him up. The next day, after a lot of begging, Nicholas and I had a sleepover.



First we decided to write another story about Tissues, but this time it would be fake, not something that actually happened.

“So, what should it be about?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but maybe in the end he will get a big award.”

“Good idea,” I said, while jotting it down. “Now, what are some of the things that he will save?”

“Maybe people, and stuff that people really like, but they lost.”

“Sounds good,” I said, jotting that down too. “We might not be able to do this, but do you know any problems that could happen in the story?”

“How about Tissues gets lost like he did before?” Nicholas said.

“Wow, great idea,” I said.

Here is how it went:


One time, there was a dog named Tissues, and he saved and scared away people who were being mean. Everyone loved him. He even stood up for people who were usually mean to him. One day, he heard a loud yell. He galloped towards it. He kept on galloping towards it, but he never got there. Then, he fell asleep. And then a bad person put thorns on him, and took him away in a big truck. Tissues knew he was lost, but he knew the best thing to do was to get out, so he climbed on a wall and jumped at the door. He sailed to the door, and it crashed open. As he jumped out, he heard someone chuckle and say,

“You will never get out.”

Tissues ran onto the sidewalk, and saw someone getting bullied. He ran over to him and growled, and threatened to bite the bully, and the bully ran away.

“Thanks,” the girl who got bullied said.

Tissues ran towards the town he lived in. He ran for a while, but suddenly it started snowing, and Tissues’s feet were getting cold.


“Nicholas, Nina, it’s time for dinner,” my mom called.

After we ate and got ready for bed, and we were in bed, Nicholas and I had talking time. We talked about how Tissues would find a home, and we decided Tissues had no owner. Then, it was time for bed.

I don’t remember what I dreamed. After breakfast, we went outside with Tissues, and we saw Walter again.

He said, “Do you have a boyfriend? Eww, go kiss.”

Tissues ran over to Walter, and almost bit him. He jumped away and screamed. After awhile, we went inside and worked on our story.

Here’s the rest of the story:


Tissues heard loud footsteps and saw the girl he stood up for.

“Do you have a home?” she asked.

Tissues shook his head.

“Well, my family has always wanted a dog. So you are mine.”

Tissues rescued people in the new town. The end.


Then Nicholas had to leave.



When I got to school, and was walking to my classroom, I saw someone that looked like Nicholas. I speed walked over to whoever looked like Nicholas to see if it was him. I looked, and sure enough, it was him.

“Nicholas,” I remember calling.

“What? Oh, hi! This is a total coincidence,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said.

When I got to class, Nicholas wasn’t there. For the first time, I wanted to go to recess. At recess, Nicholas and I acted out the fake Tissues to the rescue story. A girl named Izzy pretended to be the audience. She was really nice.  


Our Second Playdate

A few days later, Nicholas and I had another playdate, but it was at Nicholas’s house. Nicholas’s house wasn’t much different from mine, but it had one more floor and had a smaller backyard. In total they had three floors, counting the basement. And, like I said, we only have two floors, counting the basement.

Nicholas and I practicit practiced the play of Tissues to the rescue.

“Let’s throw confetti at the end.”

“No, let’s not. It might get too messy, and it doesn’t make sense for our play.”

“But my mom wouldn’t mind, and we can pretend it was winter, and use white confetti as snow.”

“Oh, fine,’’ I said.

“Yay!” Nicholas said.

I was happy it made him happy, so I made a little smile.

“Why are you smiling? I thought you didn’t want to do confetti.”

“I’m smiling because I’m happy you’re happy,” I said.

“Thank you,” I remember Nicholas saying.

Then, we started practicing Tissues to the Rescue. Three hours later, my mom and dad came, and we acted it out. It went how we had planned. Then we went home.


Goodbye Diary

You’re running out of pages for me to write in. I’m sorry. I hope you liked the story I wrote. In this story, I told you about the best times in my life: finding Tissues and making friends with Nicholas, and kind of with Izzy, and the saddest time in my life when Tissues got lost.




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