Week Two of Art Camp ended with the gallery presentation, just as last week did, and just as every week ever has really. Madison and all the other children lined up their art work for all the parents to see. This week's creations - in Daddy's opinion - are even better than last week's. There are at least three things she created there on the table that Daddy wouldn't mind having framed and hanging up on the wall.
She had a great time at Art Camp this year, especially with the addition of the pottery classes on Thursday and Wednesday. She came home with quite a few new creations, and you can really see her improve with her artistic talents and creativity. The great thing about this camp is how she learned all sorts of new ways to create art, with mixed media and paints, fabrics and clays. She came home today extra messy, in fact, with paint and charcoal on her hands, arms and face. That was just fine with us - she was really getting into it!
We left the Quinlan Art Center, and dropped by the office for a bit of work today, and some ice cream too. We had yet another free ice cream card for Chick-Fil-A, so Madison had herself a bit today after art camp.
It was another day to celebrate, and remember something huge that happened nine years ago this very day. Daddy even wore the same shirt he wore nine years ago today. It was Gotcha Day, and nine years ago we were inside a hotel room at the Majestic (Mingyuan Xindu) Hotel in Nanning.
This hallway. It's funny I never took time to take a picture of it. Of course, that was because I was usually carrying Madison, or at least pushing a stroller. And with all the scenery in China, why waste up camera space taking snaps of an ordinary hallway? I'm glad somebody did though. I found this picture online, a photo of the hallway just outside our room. We would actually be on the room to the right there, and this morning nine years ago, we walked down to the lighted area there where the elevator was. There, we'd meet all the other future adoptive parents on that floor, and then meet the other ones further down in the main lobby. And from there, to the bus, and to our destiny as parents.
This is the hallway though. I remember walking up and down this one a lot with Madison, carrying her, or sometimes using the stroller. We had one adventure where Madison dictated the direction to go with the stroller, using simple pointing gestures and what not. We explored the entire hotel, not really going outside for a few reasons. Number one, it was amazingly hot outside. Number two, we weren't entirely sure of all the places to go, except for the park that was immediately behind us. That was reserved for bigger family trips, where Nana and Ye-Ye joined us for walks along the lake with dancing tai chi girls with fans, older folks playing mahjong, and those ginormous fish being fed. There was plenty of other things to do, but for the short trips, we simply toured the hotel, looking around the limited gift shop, walking by the fancy restaurant that served pizza with calamari as a topping, and visiting the lobby area balconies and even the bigger empty conference rooms. Normally, it would be a place you'd stay and be amazingly bored, especially giving the limited amount to see on television. But this was our first week with Madison, and it was a time where we were both getting to know each other. There were plenty of chores to do, including a trip to sign paperwork, a visit to Walmart, and a visit to the local grocery store (for the legendarily bad-for-you milk she was told to drink, and the prawn-flavored potato chips Daddy had to try). There were other excursions too, including that temple area with the huge tower filled small rooms and enclosed spaces with sweaty people that don't use deodorant, and those ginormous dangling spiders, and the heat that was so intense you actually craved getting back on the air-conditioned bus again. Daddy is an explorer, but for some reason Nanning wasn't one of those places he needs to go back to again. And yet, it is one of those places etched in our memory because of so many positive and happy memories. And yes, the people there were wonderful. And our time there was unforgettable. How could it be otherwise? Gotcha Day is already nine years ago, but we'll never ever forget it all, from the simple hallway in a hotel to that first precious smile our daughter gave us, the one we worked so hard to earn. We've all been smiling ever since.