A small flame

A small flame

Down Memory Lane - Eleventh & Twelfth Grade


This is the final post in a series of 12 posts scheduled by Mommy's Piggy Tales, which encourages women to record stories from their childhood for future generations to enjoy.

Fun Kai

As I started my last 2 years of high school, I wanted to be able to earn money to save toward my impending college expenses. Getting a job in the community was out of the question, so Mom came up with the idea that I try to sell some baked goods. In our little town where the best the bakery had to offer was thick slices of outrageously pink cake covered with bilious blue coconut at an outrageous price, it seemed like her idea could work.

She even helped me come up with a name for my little enterprise: 'Fun Kai' which was a nod to both of my first languages - '
Fun' of course being English, and 'Kai' being part of the word for 'food' in Neo Melanesian. We printed up little business cards on our computer with my phone number on them to give to potential customers. I was pretty shy, so the day she took me around to our handful of general stores and a gas station convenience store or two was very, very nerve-wracking for me. But I steeled myself and talked to managers and handed out samples of the freshly baked cupcakes I had made.

And Mom was right! The cupcakes were a hit! A couple of the stores put in standing orders for cupcakes to be delivered every day or two, as did a convenience store at a local gas station. The convenience store was my biggest customer; they routinely sold 6 dozen a day. Since my parents preferred that I not deliver the cupcakes on Sunday, each Saturday morning found me delivering 12 dozen cupcakes to that gas station. They always sold every single one!

with my best customer - the manager at the gas station

So every day, around my school work, I mixed and baked and cooled and frosted dozens and dozens and dozens of cupcakes. We made large laminated display boxes for the cupcakes, and sewed clear plastic fitted covers for the boxes. Early each morning, my Dad drove me to the businesses where I collected used display boxes to clean and delivered fresh boxes full of yummy cupcakes.

So many cupcakes!

It was a lot of work, but overall I did a very good business for myself in those months that I ran Fun Kai. My parents were very supportive and my grandparents even got involved, sending hundreds of cupcake wrappers from America because there were none to buy in PNG.

MK Friends

These last two years in PNG I developed a couple of close friendship with other missionary kids. There were no other MKs my age in the area where we lived; most expat kids my age had left for boarding school in other countries. There were other MK kids scattered around the country though and, thankfully, our parents recognized the need for us to get together occasionally.

MK Retreat 1995

Once a year, or so, one set of parents would host a week-long MK Retreat. MKs would fly from around the country and spend a great week together. We would have teaching sessions, play games, go on outings and just spend time enjoying each others' company.

one of my favorite memories
- sitting late at night on our large front porch,
singing, while my friend Joy played the guitar

MKs form very special bonds - when you're a missionary kid, nobody has as much in common with you as another MK.


As I approached my senior year of high school, my parents asked me if I wanted to return to the U.S. to complete my last year at the Christian school I had attended during each furlough year. I thought about it, but I didn't really want to leave. I liked my life and I wanted to finish my last year in PNG. My parents were really happy with my decision, and when I finished my senior year, they wanted to give me a big graduation celebration.

a senior picture -

Part of me felt awkward about having such a big event just for me, but I realized that I was incredibly blessed to have so many people who loved me and eagerly worked together to give me a special day. We invited the people from local churches to come to our home for the day. My parents planned a graduation service, complete with special music from church choirs, and another missionary I had known all my life who flew in to be the special speaker.

After the service, there was food and fellowship. My Mom had spent days baking and decorating several beautiful cakes, and my friends came over before the event to cut up fresh tropical fruit for a fruit salad and help with other preparations. There was quite a crowd who came to help me celebrate that day and I felt so special!

My graduation began an avalanche of 'lasts'. The next 2 months were a whirlwind of packing and goodbyes before my Mom and I boarded the airplane that took me back to the U.S. to start school at a small college in Wisconsin. Going to college was so much more than just going to college for me! It really meant leaving home for good, since I would be too far away- not to mention the expensive plane ticket - to go home on weekends or vacations. And it meant moving to what was, to me, a foreign country; living halfway around the world from my family and everything I had known as 'home'. It was a hard transition, but I survived and, eventually, thrived. . . . but that's a different set of stories.

at the airport a few minutes before I left PNG



Anna Beth said...

Wow! You were really a hard working entrepreneur!! That is a cool story!

Safire said...

Look at all those cupcakes! They look great!

Beth (Elizabeth) LaMie said...

I love how enterprising you were to start your own business with the cupcakes! That was pure genius.

Donette said...

What a cool opportunity to run your own small business! I bet you spoiled a lot of nationals with your cupcakes, only to move away and never make them for them again!

I must admit, I never thought about how permanent your move to the USA was. What a difficult transition for an 18 year old! Where did you spend your holidays and summers? Did your parents make it back to the States at all during your time in college?

Rachel said...

@Donette - moving to the U.S. was excruciating for me. I spent some holidays with grandparents which helped me get to know them (I had barely been around them when I was growing up). During my first summer in the US I traveled with a team from the school.

I was pretty blessed, compared to other MKs I knew, because my parents took a long furlough and lived in the States for half of my sophomore year and all of my junior year. Having them 3 hours away was a luxury!