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A Welcome for the Neighbors

By: Iris Xu

We were arriving home from dance camp when I saw an unfamiliar car pull into the driveway next to ours. New neighbors?

Over the next few days, I saw their young son, he looked about five years old, playing in the front yard, as the parents decorated the exterior of the house. Their medium sized dog with curly, black fur was running around sniffing the new yard.

I tried to think of a way to give our new neighbors a big welcome. I wanted to get off to a good start with them since I thought it would be good to make friends. Should I buy toys for their son? Or buy a cake? No. That wouldn’t seem like I put in much effort. Finally, I decided that baking them a cake was perfect. The only problem, I am not a good baker. The only times that I have baked anything was when I was helping my sister, and she never needed much help. But, I was determined.

Instead of practicing our dance for dance camp, I went on my computer and searched YouTube for the perfect cake recipe. After an hour of watching differently clips, I found the perfect cake - a lemon cake. I told my mom my idea and showed her the video that I would follow.

She said, “Yea, that’s a good idea, but you don’t have the time to make the cake.”

That was true… I had dance camp every weekday, art class on Sunday mornings, and violin class three times a week. When was I going to find the time?

Still. I wanted to make the cake for our neighbors. After a violin class, my mom asked if I wanted to buy the needed ingredients for the cake. Yes! Once we arrived home, I was very tempted to start making the cake, but I still had to write my daily news articles.

Days passed, and the next thing I knew, it had been two weeks. My art class had finished so I finally had the time to make the cake. I was so excited that I even woke up at 7:30, surprising my mom, who thought I would wake up at noon.

It was 11 by the time I finished baking the cake and making the frosting. All I still had to do was decorate the cake! But at 11:30, there was a goodbye BBQ party for a dance friend’s mom. I left the cake out to cool, put the frosting in the refrigerator, and headed to the party.

By the time we got back, it was 3:30. Back to work! I quickly got out the frosting and realized that it hardened. I tried to fix it by mixing the frosting in its bowl, but instead it became too liquidy. I was hurrying, so I put the frosting on the cake anyway. As I spread the frosting over the cake, it kept on dripping down onto the plate, slowly overflowing. I scooped the excess frosting, but it kept sliding down. This was hard and I was becoming impatient and decided to let it be.

Moving onto the next step, I filled a piping bag with frosting for the dollops. I did the spirals one by one around the cake. It looked decent at first, but because the frosting was too fluid, the dollops started sliding, making more of a mess.

I could not believe this. So, I gave up. I stormed up to my room, and sat on my bed, fuming. Even worse, I had to go to a three-hour violin class.

In the car ride home, I couldn’t get the cake out of my mind and in that moment, I decided that I was going to finish the cake. As soon as we arrived home, I ran into the kitchen and went to redo the dollops. Learning from my previous mistake, I took out the frosting from the fridge again, and didn’t put it in the mixer. I finally finished. The lemony cake with droopy, misshaped dollops, finishing with lemons and cherries on top.

I walked to the house, knocked on their door a few times, and finally, a person came. I introduced myself. We chatted for a bit, until I walked home.

From then on, I learned that if you put your mind to something, and reach your goal, you’ll feel accomplished. The cake that I made didn’t have to be perfect. It’s the thought that counts.

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