Sunday, July 14, 2013

China Camp

We packed our bags and headed to Tulsa this week for our favorite event of the year.  China Camp.
(Rachel packed her own bag.  It included her pretend cell phone and mismatched "click clack" shoes, of course!)

The girls were SO excited for camp to begin!
Opening Exercises always includes drums...
...and a lion dance.
And then it's off for a whirlwind three days, full of language practice, cooking, crafts, music, dance, and kung fu.

Katherine liked cooking best, as she has every year.  This year they had the chance to taste many different dishes and Kate has talked and talked about it.  She just loves food!  She didn't say much about the other classes, but I think that's because she was too busy enjoying time with her orphanage "sisters". 
Rachel's favorite part of China Camp was Makenna, the teenage helper in her class.  Every time I saw Makenna she had kids hanging off of her, so I think she was everyone's favorite!  The first day, Rae's teacher met me at the classroom door to report that Rachel had eaten her weight in noodles for snack.  Rae's response was "Three scoops! I am a Noodle Girl!"

Steve and I spent time talking with other parents, both old friends and new.  We may not get to do cooking and kung fu, but we love camp too!

One of my favorite parts of China Camp is the group picture.
Here's what 253 kids and their teachers look like! Now it's time for I Spy...
Can you find Kate?
How about Rae?
There she is!
Camp always ends with Closing Exercises.  It's a chance for the parents to see some of what our children have learned.  At least that is the idea.  I think it's mostly a time to look at all of those different, gorgeous, beloved faces and marvel at the miracles that brought them all to be in this place.  Depsite the fact that there is nothing remotely sad about Closing Exercises, I always blink back tears.  And then I enjoy the show.
I took Rachel's picture before her group sang.  (She was so pleased to be in the Ladybug class and even had a ladybug class to wear the last day.) I knew that although Rachel knew her song, when it came time for the performance she would do her best to hide.  And she did.
Katherine's class also sang.  The song was about a jasmine flower and was so long that the kids were allowed to read the lyrics as best they could.
Closing Exercises always ends with drums and cymbals and another lion dance, this once performed by the oldest class.  All the younger kids look forward to the day that they, too can dance inside the lion.  I watched those 12 year old girls eagerly, proudly carrying on a part of this tradition from their birth country and I wiped a few more tears, grateful that they have this chance.
For our family and many others, China Camp is three days of magic.  Although we do everything we can at home, this is where my daughters learn to be strong and proud, where they can embrace their birth culture with no strings attached, where they fit in like no place else.  And it is glorious to watch.










1 comment:

  1. I always love your yearly post about camp, Joy! And I love the pictures. We always head off for our adventure 2 weeks later at Korea camp. Good times for sure!!

    Carrie T.

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I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters

Sisters

Sisters
Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way