Myra was new in town. Her dad had just moved jobs and their whole family had to move with him to the capital. In many ways, she was excited. The capital was busy and exciting, full of so many new opportunities. She was super excited to get to know the city- all the cool buildings and nice hang-out spots. But, as with all new places, adjusting takes time and some things may not always be as they seem.

There was one restaurant that caught her eye. It looked super cool from the outside and the staff were incredibly welcoming and friendly. If that wasn’t enough, the restaurant was full of people, all taking pictures of their food to post on social media. Myra was convinced; she’d give it a try. She ordered the most exciting thing on the menu, but when it arrived, it was bland and tasteless. It was as though all the effort had gone into looking like a nice place to eat, and none into making good food.  Myra shrugged. “Ugh!” Back in her old town, she knew all the best spots to eat.Here she was lost, if only she had some friends to show her around. But that was the thing, she knew no one in this city. 

When her first day at the new high school arrived, she was nervous. What if she couldn’t make any new friends? What if the friends she could make weren’t as good as her old ones? Her parents tried to reassure her that she’d be absolutely fine, and that the kids of the capital were just as wonderful and interesting as the one she left behind. It might be a little scary at first, but soon enough, she’d be right at home again. For a moment, she felt comforted. It didn’t last long though. Walking through the halls of her new high school, she was completely overwhelmed. Everyone turned to look at her as she walked past. Everyone here knew each other already. What if she didn’t fit in? She tried to remind herself of what her parents had said, that it would be scary initially, and it would take time. But at this moment, Myra couldn’t remember how she’d managed to make friends last time, and was convinced she’d never be able to do it again. Her lessons were fine enough. Her civics class was all about actions speak louder than words. 

“The idea is that you can tell much more about someone based on how they act rather than what they say. For homework, I’d like you to think about this idea. Can you think of any examples? ” teacher spoke. Myra thought about it, but found it confusing. Speaking was all about words. How could actions say more? At lunch, she sat and ate alone. She wished she had some friends to talk to. Maybe they could help her understand what her teacher had been talking about. At the end of the day, just before she stepped out of the building, a girl caught up with her in the hall. “Hey there, I’m Celine. You’re the new kid, right?” Myra was a little startled. No one had spoken to her yet. Celine had great hair and wore very cool clothes. She spoke with a bright and upbeat tone, and her smile was wide and welcoming. “Yeah, hi. I’m Myra. I just started today.” Said Myra, suddenly feeling a little less alone. “Oh, that’s so cool. Welcome to your new high school.” Said Celine, smiling once more. “Say, do you want to be friends?” Myra felt a rush of excitement. Celine clearly, one of the coolest and most popular kids at the high school, wanted to be friends with her. “Yes, absolutely!” blurted Myra, doing her best to sound as cool and upbeat as her new friend. “Awesome! Let’s take a selfie together and seal the deal.” Myra was happy to oblige. She leaned in and gave her best smile. Celine snapped the selfie and posted it straight away. “So you’ll add me as a friend? Yeah?” “For sure! I’ll do it right now,” “Then it’s official. We’re friends!” She grinned at Myra once more before returning to the rest of her friends. It was a strange and brief interaction, but Myra didn’t mind. Somehow, she’d managed to make at least one friend before even leaving the building. Perhaps this wasn’t so difficult after all. 

On her walk home, Myra was approached by another of her classmates. This girl looked different. Her clothes were plain, and her hair a little messy. She looked nervous too. “Hey, are you the new girl?” “Yeah, hi, I’m Myra. I just started today” “My name’s Kim, I saw you in math class today. Do you mind if I walk with you for a bit?” Myra didn’t know what to make of Kim. She was a little awkward in the way she spoke, but she seemed nice enough. “Sure!” said Myra, grateful for the company. As they walked home, they talked about their school and the people in it. They talked about the city too, and where Myra had lived before. They even talked about her old friends. By the time they got to Myra’s house, Myra felt comfortable around Kim, and Kim had relaxed a bit too. “I’ll see you tomorrow?” “For sure” 

The next day, Myra felt much better in high school. She knew some people now and felt reassured she’d be able to make friends. In between classes, she saw Celine in the hall. Myra waved and Celine shouted “Hello, new friend!” Myra smiled and said hello back. When it came to lunch-time, there was one seat left at Celine’s table so Maya went over to ask if she could join them. It was a perfect opportunity to meet Celine’s other friends, and maybe make a few more of her own. “Oh, sorry – Mia, that seat’s reserved. I’ve another friend coming in a moment. Another time though” Myra was a little hurt. “Oh, okay. No problem. Maybe another time then. Oh, and it’s Myra, not Mia” “OMG- sorry Myra. I’ll get it right next time though, see you soon!” she said with a grin. Once again, Maya sat alone for lunch. But then Kim came over. “Hi Myra, it’s me, Kim. We walked home yester-” Myra cut her off with a giggle. “Don’t worry, Kim. I remember” “Do you mind if I sit with you?” she said. “Not at all!” said Myra. “It’s nice to see you again” Myra and Kim sat chatting all through lunch. They talked about all the best food in the cafeteria, what Myra should avoid, and what tasted best. She was grateful for the tips and felt more at home here with Kim. 

At home that night, Myra was eating dinner with her parents. They asked if she’d made any new friends. She told them about the two girls she’d met. She told them about Celine and how she claimed to be her friend but forgot her name and didn’t seem interested in her. And she told them about Kim who’d never said anything about being friends but seemed genuinely interested in Myra. “Actions speak louder than words, Myra” said her Mom, after hearing these stories. “Celine may claim to be your friend, but does she act like it” “She sounds quite superficial- like a restaurant that looks great but the food is bland and tasteless”, said her Dad. “And Kim maybe too nervous or quiet to call you her friend but look at how she acts. She is interested and thoughtful and seems to truly want to be your friend”, her Mom went on. 

That night Myra thought carefully about what her parents had said. Maybe actions do speak louder than words. She thought she’d put it to the test.

The next day at high school, Myra approached Celine “Hey Celine! I’m wondering if you know any great places to eat in the city?” she asked. “Hey friend!” said Celine, “I know loads! Why?” “Are you busy this weekend? Would you mind taking me to one?” “Oh, I’m sorry, Mia. I’m actually super busy this weekend, But I’ll send you a picture of one, yeah?” “Oh, no problem,” said Myra. “Yeah, I’d like your recommendation either way!” Celine got out her phone and sent over a picture of the restaurant Myra ate at first when she got here, the one that looked great from the outside but where the food was actually terrible. “Makes sense” thought Myra.  She then approached Kim and asked her the same question. “Hey Kim, do you know any good restaurants in the city?” Kim’s eyes lit up. “I know the best pizza place. It’s this old part of town, and no one knows about it. It’s a bit shabby on the outside, and the staff aren’t particularly polite but, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say The food is fantastic. Are you busy on Saturday? I’ll take you.” Myra grinned. 

“Actions really do speak louder than words”, Myra thought. Celine wasn’t really her friend. She probably just wanted more followers on social media. But Kim was interested in her as a person, she was excited to get to know her and show her around the city. She didn’t even need to say they were friends. Myra knew from the way she behaved. She finally had something to talk about for her civics homework!

That Saturday. Myra met up with Kim in the city. They walked around all day, they even saw Celine eating at that terrible restaurant. Kim showed Myra  all her favourite buildings and the best places to hang out. And then they went to Kim’s favourite pizza place. Sure enough, it wasn’t much to look at but it was the best pizza Myra had ever tasted. Maybe she’d be happy in this new city after all.