Davi and her grandmother, Rose, live half a world apart. Davi, age 6, was born and raised in the United States; while Grandma Rose, age 55, has been living in Indonesia forever. When Davi was born, grandma was there to greet her. She flew across the ocean to the United States for that special day. Unfortunately, grandma had to leave early because of the death oh her first son. Two months later, Davi returned the favor by visiting Indonesia for almost 4 weeks and travelled with grandma to Bali, Lombok, and Yogyakarta. The two bonded pretty strongly.

Davi and grandma share the same zodiac. Their birthdays are just a week apart. Being a Pisces, they are both sensitive, compassionate and kind. That’s why Davi is so special to grandma, plus the fact that she’s her first grandchild. Her pictures are all over grandma’s house; on the wall, the table, the shelf, the fridge,  by her bed, and for sure, in grandma’s purse.

davi and grandma roseThe fact that she’s living so far away, aches grandma. She couldn’t see nor touch her first grandchild as often as a grandmother would like to. When Davi’s parent called long distance to have grandma hear Davi’s first laughter (or burp), it made grandma cries. Everytime she was emailed Davi’s pictures, she also cries. To watch her grow from a far distance, is not exactly fun. That’s why Davi’s parent try to keep the two communicate with each other so Davi won’t forget her.

The lack of use of Bahasa (Davi’s mom native language) at home makes Davi doesn’t understand it at all. Grandma Rose speaks a little English. Most of the time (in person or on the phone), the two seemed to be lost in translation. This made Davi somewhat discouraged to speak to grandma, and vice versa. So she found another way to communicate, through drawings and letters. Even though emails are much faster, snail mail is more personalized. Grandma Rose claimed that she almost had a heart attack when receiving a letter addressed to her from Davi. She said she like Davi’s handwriting and the way she wrote. Grandma then replied, also with a snail mail, which Davi received 2 weeks later.

However, Davi kept asking questions about Grandma Rose. About what she wears daily, what kind of house she lives in, if she can drive a car or not, her favorite color, etc. Davi’s mom tried to fill her in as best as she could, but it’s really hard for a seven-year-old to portray how life is over there without actually being there.

… then Davi’s mom found Sitti’s Secret at the library. This book is a perfect fit for Davi, because it tells a story about a girl who was born and raised in the US (her name is Mona) who visited her grandmother (sitti, in Arabic) in Palestina. Mona and sitti don’t speak the same language, they have to use Mona’s dad to translate; but they got along pretty good. The writer, Naomi Shihab Nye, wrote the story beautifully. Poetic, rather. Like the way she described how Mona was amazed with sitti’s custom and ritual which are different with how things are in the US.

With a help from her mother, Davi read the book with a great enthusiasm. She exclaimed that Mona is just like her and asked if she could visit Indonesia soon to see Grandma Rose. That sure would make grandma very happy!