A ziplock baggie full of America

Annyong! Lindsay here.

Christmas came a little early for our students at Songwon Elementary School today. Whit and I received a HUGE box from our students’ American penpals in Soddy Daisy, Tenn., and we hauled it to school this morning.

I wish I had photos of the exact moment they opened their little package, each student with their ziplock gallon bag of America. A nice letter, Little Debbies, American candy, money, flags, Bibles, a football (!), stuffed animals, photos and pencils that changed color upon touch.

I thought their eyes were literally going to pop out of their little heads. They were so excited. They jumped up and down, screamed and giggled in delight, and ran through the hallways after class showing everyone who was not so lucky to be a part of this great cultural exchange.

TEACHER! What is this?? What is that? Teacher!!! How much is this money worth?!?

A few girls almost broke their teeth when they bit off a big ol’ portion of a Sugar Daddy.

It was awesome. And I think Whit and I had just as much fun as they did, reading the letters, sifting through photos and American knick-knacks. It was really fun to explain Kool-Aid, Pixie Sticks, Jolly Ranchers. One of my sweetest girls even got a music box with a ballerina inside that swirled and twirled on top of the candy that was placed inside.

And then as soon as (45 minutes later) the giddiness subsided, my tall, lanky sixth-grader, Jane, stood up and said, “Teacher. Give me paper.”

And with that, they started their second round of correspondance. And hopefully, it will be a cultural exchange that will continue to cultivate over the next months and years.

Thank you Allen Elementary students in Soddy Daisy for your sweet letters, gifts and great little taste of America in a ziplock bag!


  1. Whit here: I thought some kids’ heads were going to explode from all of the excitement. Nothing like good old fashion mail.


  2. Summer says:

    How wonderful! The only cultural exchange we did as a kid was to pick a state. Mine was North Carolina, and I waited for months to receive even a travel brochure. I was the only kid in the class who didn’t get anything!


  3. deborah says:

    The kids at Allen Elementary were also excited. However, they were most excited about how you looked just LIKE me! They couldn’t get over it! I think I had at least 25 kids come up to me and say “Your daughter looks JUST LIKE YOU!”


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