Today: TGS Tasha's Special Delivery

Tasha’s Special Delivery

Dedicated to Peggy Rebut who taught me

that it’s ok to always remember those we have loved and lost.


Ding Dong.  Ding Dong.  The doorbell rang.  The Grape Sisters were playing with their dolls when they heard the familiar sound.   Tasha’s mother answered the door and called out, “Tasha, it’s for you!” 

“It’s for me?  What is it?”  Her mom signed for the package and closed the door.  Tasha carried the box into the living room.

 “What is it?” asked Lela. 

“Where’s it from?” asked Alexandria. 

“Who’s it from?” chimed in Rania. 

Tasha’s mom looked at the fancy stamp on the package and said, “It’s from Japan.” 

“Oh, it must be a present from Grandma!” Tasha said excitedly.  “She is always traveling all around the world.” 

As Tasha opened the package, she continued to explain to the girls, “My grandpa died and my grandma decided she was too young to just sit home in a rocking chair.” 

Tasha’s mom sat on the couch laughing at Tasha’s imitation of her grandmother.  “So she travels around the world.  Sometimes she goes to a new place just to check it out and other times she goes to help out whenever people need it.  Like after a hurricane or an earthquake.” 

As she opened the package, the girls all leaned over the box to see what was inside.  “Then she sends me a doll from whichever country or state she’s in.  You know that shelf in my room with all the dolls?”  The girls nodded.  “Those came from my grandma from her travels.”

 “That’s so cool,” said Penny.  

Tasha carefully unwrapped the box and out came a beautiful porcelain doll.  It had dark black hair down to her shoulders and a purple and white kimono.  Tasha’s mom picked up the box to throw it out and then she stopped.  “Oh, there is more inside here.”  She took out two more packages and a postcard.  The postcard was of a beautiful pagoda at a Buddhist temple with flowers all around. 

Her mom read the postcard out loud.   

(ill: draw a postcard and hand write the note.

“My dear Tasha, I am in Sendai, Japan.  I am here volunteering to help them rebuild after the terrible tsunami caused so much damage and loss.  It’s sad to see all the destruction and know of all the lives lost, but it is so wonderful to see the people rebuilding their lives and their homes.  I bought this doll for you when I was in the south in a city called Kyoto.  I saw her purple kimono and knew she was meant for you!  I hope you’ll take good care of her.  In the box, I also included a few kimonos.  The blue flowered one is for your mom and the purples ones are for you and your girlfriends!  Say hello to the Grape Sisters for me.  Love you always, Grandma Peggy.” 

“Wow,” said Penny, “that’s really awesome that your grandma travels around the world helping people.” 

“Yah,” said Lela, “I want to travel around the world like that when I grow up.” 

“My aunt Elizabeth lives in South Africa,” chimed in Alexandra.  “Sometimes she brings me presents from South Africa.  Maybe she can send me a doll to add to your collection!” 

“Oh, that’s a fun idea,” said Tasha’s mom. 

“Can we try on the kimonos?” asked Rania timidly. 

“Of course, but do you know what a kimono is?” asked Tasha’s mom. 

“I have no idea,” started Rania, “but I know they’re purple!” She smiled and threw her arms in the air.  “And I like anything purple!”   

The girls all laughed as they unwrapped the kimonos from the tissue paper wrapping. 

“Well,” continued Tashas’ mom, “Kimonos are the traditional formal dress for Japanese.  They are large T shaped clothe robes with a wide sash around the waste.  Nowadays most Japanese wear jeans and shirts just like you and I do but in the past, they all wore Kimonos.  Now they only do on special occasions.  Sometimes here at home, people wear them like regular house robes simply because they are beautiful.” 

The girls continued to unwrap the packages and then wrap themselves in the kimonos.  They laughed as their arms went through the wrong openings and then moved them to the correct arms holes.  They tied the sashes around their waists and started spinning. 

Spinning just seemed like the fun thing to do wearing a robe like this.  All big and flowy. 

When Tasha finally stopped spinning, she exclaimed, “Mom, can we use the computer?”  Then she turned to the girls and continued, “My mom and I have a tradition of looking on the computer for details about wherever Grandma is.  Are you guys interested in learning about Japan?”

They shook their heads yes and gathered around Tasha’s mom on the computer. 

Tasha’s mom pointed to the map on the screen, “Here is Japan.  It’s a collection of islands in the Pacific Ocean.  Let’s see, it has about 130 million people and they have a tradition of tea ceremonies.  The language they speak is called Japanese and they have a very unique style of written letters.  It is similar to the Chinese form of writing.”  


These symbols mean ‘goldfish’. 

“Wow, that’s a funny way to write goldfish.  How does anyone learn to write like that? Or read that?” asked Ali. 

“Actually, when I was in high school,” said Tasha’s mom, “I took a language course on how to read, write and speak Japanese.  It was hard but it was a lot of fun, too.  But just like when you were a baby you didn’t know how to speak English, you learned from your parents.  Japanese babies learn language from their parents and family and then their teachers in school continue to teach them more.”

 “My aunt in South Africa learned Zulu and a little Swahili, too,” said Alexandra.  “She taught me to say ‘Nandi’ when food tastes good.” 

“Sometimes I hear other people talking other languages and I wonder how they do it,” said Tasha, “My mom and I look up all places my Grandma goes and there are lots of languages all around the world.” 

“Let’s take the other dolls out and find their countries and states on the map, too,” said Rania. 

“I’ll go get the dolls,” said Lela as she ran off to Tasha’s room. 

“Wait for me, I’ll help carry them, too,” chimed in Ali.  And off they went.  They returned arms full of dolls of all shapes and sizes.  Most were dressed in bright colored clothes and costumes of various cultures.  They dropped them in a pile on the couch. 

“I got the map,” said Tasha as she spread it out on the coffee table.      

The girls spent the next hour locating the home country of each doll.   

After a while, Lela said, “I’m hungry.”  and Rania added, “I’m thirsty.” 

They all nodded and ran off to the kitchen in their kimonos.  “Since we’re in Kimonos, maybe we should have tea!” suggested Ali.  “Like the tea party we had with my Aunt Elizabeth.”

Tasha’s mom came into the kitchen, “Sure we can make some tea.  Since you’re dressed like Japanese girls, why don’t we have fun eating as they would, too.  They sit on the floor and use low tables.  We can set the lunch up on the coffee table in the living room and sit on the floor.”

 “That sounds like fun,” smiled Penny.   

“Can we use the tea cups in the glass closet?” asked Tasha. 

“Hmm,” thought Tasha’s mom.   “If you promise to be careful, raise your hand.”  All the girls raised their hands.  “Ok, let’s get the tea water started and make some grilled cheese sandwiches.”

“I’ll get the bread, butter and cheese,” said Tasha as she turned to the refrigerator. 

“I’ll butter the bread” said Rania. 

“And I’ll put the cheese on them,” said Lela.  

“I’ll help set the table,” said Ali.  “But I have to tell you that when my Aunt and I had a tea party, a dish did break when we were washing it.” 

“Oh, that was too bad,” said Tasha’s mom.  “but I understand that sometimes accidents happen.  You can still help set the table.” 

“I’ll help, too,” said Penny.  “My sister and I set the table for dinner every night.” 

When the whistle blew and the sandwiches were done, they all sat on the rug around the coffee table.  At the same time, the dolls from around the world sat at their own doll sized table next to them.

As the Grape Sisters ate their sandwiches and drank their tea, Tasha’s mom taught them a few Japanese words. 

Ohaiyogozaimasu (oh-hi-yo-go-zai-mahs)- Good morning
Konnichiwa (Ko-nee-chee-wa)- Good afternoon
Konbanwa (kohn-ban-wa)- Good evening
Sayonara (sai-yon-nah-rah)- Good-bye

Hello on a phone: moshi moshi  (ill: the girls pretending to be on the phone saying “moshi moshi”   

“Arigato” means thank you.  (ill: the girls shaking hands)  

The girls struggled to pronounce the words and giggled as they tried them out on each other. 

As the girls smiled and laughed, Tasha’s mom took out the camera and took pictures of the Grape Sisters drinking tea in their Kimonos.  “Your grandmother Peggy will love this photo!” 

And all the girls waved for the camera.   

Back of the Book Questions:
Which language do you speak?
Do you know any other languages?
Have you heard people speak other languages on TV?
Have you or your parents or your grandparents traveled to another country?

Ask someone to show you a map of the world and the different countries that cover all the land masses on the planet.