SHANGHAI, China — As a 13-year-old in Colorado anticipating her first middle-school experiences, Janna Lewis looked forward to choir and the drama club. Her sister, Adrianne, was just as eager to start high school.

Then came the news from their parents — Stayner and Dori Ann Lewis and their two youngest daughters were headed to China, where Stayner works as a self-employed consultant.

Now, almost five years later, Janna remembers being both excited at the unique experience and disappointed by the prospects of missing the typical teenage experiences, including the "Big Three" of driving, dances and dating.

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