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As Katie Dale looked out the window at the icy tundra, she wondered about many things. She wondered what the surprise was her grandma talked about so often. She wondered if she would make new friends. She wondered what her house was going to look like. She wondered if it was possible to learn a new language in approximately three days. She wondered if all these thoughts were usual when going to a new country Katie sat in the taxi frozen with fear. She was all alone ready to start a new life in Iceland.

Katie had been under so much pressure since both her parents died. She had been around almost all of America looking for a new family Katie didn't understand it. Why couldn't she stay with her grandmother, why? Katie knew perfectly why, it was because everyone thought her grandmother was a crazy old lady who ought to be locked up forever. Katie strongly disagreed with this, but how could she change what was in the past? She was just thankful she was going to have some parents around to support her.

"Here you are, miss, at the Akureyri Airport," said the taxi driver.

Startled by this remark, Katie paid the taxi driver a little of her money that was left to her by her parents.

A Long Way from Home antique shop
This must be the store Grandma mentioned in her letter Katie thought

When Katie stepped out of the car a sudden wind blew her leather bag off her arm and onto the ground. Her belongings spilled everywhere. She quickly gathered them before the wind blew them away She was putting away what she thought was her last item, until she saw a white envelope marked Katie. She had never seen this before, but she recognized the handwriting as her grandmother's. She read the letter aloud in a sort of mumble.

My dear Katie,

I don't know if you will miss me on your long excursion, but I'll miss you terribly. I am so very proud of you leaving your home, and going far away with no support. But that is not true my dear. I always feel as if you are right next to me, and no matter what, you will always have me for support. I once lived in Iceland for nine years. During those years I made many friends. There is one friend I know that you must meet. Her name is Marrisa. She lives in an old antique shop fairly close to the Akureyri Airport. Enclosed is a ticket. In order to meet her you must take this ticket to the person behind the counter at the shop, and ask for Marrisa. If he is kind enough he'll let you take her home with you forever.

With love, Grandma

P.S. I'm sure your folks won't mind Marrisa living with you.

Katie was so happy to know her grandma had friends right here in Iceland. She immediately started looking for the antique shop.

Katie wandered not far into an odd little shopping town. She looked and looked in every store window. Finally she saw an old building full of many odd things of different shapes and sizes. This must be the store Grandma mentioned in her letter, Katie thought.

As she entered the shop a sudden burst of warm air hit her in the face. There were racks with candlesticks, paintings, mirrors and dolls. Straight ahead was a counter with an old man behind it. Katie walked up to him and handed him a small golden ticket. The man looked puzzled, until Katie said, "Marrisa." The confused look on the man's face faded.

He also spoke English, and he said, "She's downstairs between the lamps and jewelry."

Now Katie was puzzled. The man, then, took her by the hand and led her to a small dark room below the store. He led to a part that had shelves full of old broken things that Katie couldn't tell what they were, except one thing. It was the most beautiful doll she had ever seen. She had a very detailed face, and she wore a blue dress with 1684 embroidered at the bottom. Katie stared at her for a long time. The man must've noticed, because he took the doll off the shelf and handed her to Katie while saying, "This is Marrisa. There isn't much I can do with her, but you can have her for free if you'd like. I got her from an old friend of mine. I knew her for nine years."

Katie didn't know what to say. She just nodded her head and turned to walk back up the stairs. She was near the top of the staircase when she looked back at the old wrinkled face and said, "Thank you," in a soft gentle voice.

Katie walked back to the airport feeling just a little different than before. She easily found her parents, because they held up a sign that said Katie.

That night Katie found some paper, and wrote:

Dear Grandma,

I met Marrisa today. You were right, the man let me keep her. Since I got her I've told her everything. She's like my new best friend that I can always trust. My parents are great, they even speak English. They live in a cozy cabin near a huge forest.

I love you a lot, Katie

As Katie curled up in her bed she thought to herself, I have two great parents, one best friend, and a grandma who loves me. How could life get any better?

A Long Way from Home Emily Livaudais
Emily Livaudais,11
Fenton, Missouri

A Long Way from Home Karina Jivkova
Karina Jivkova, 13
Sofia, Bulgaria