Sunday, July 12, 2015

China Camp, Days 1 & 2

We went to Tulsa this week for China Camp. This was our 8th year at camp and it is always one of the best times of the year!

We drove to Tulsa on Wednesday and decided to eat at Steak N Shake, a chain we don't have here. We ordered burgers and fries and then noticed that the shakes were half price, so we ordered those, too. We were all a bit shocked when the shakes arrived and we realized how HUGE they were!

Thursday morning, the girls were up early and were eager and excited to leave for camp. China Camp is held in an enormous Baptist church, which has been decorated with all sorts of Chinese inspired objects.
The kids are divided up into groups by age. Katherine has been in class with some of the same kids for 8 years, now. The first activity of camp is Opening Ceremonies, which always includes dragon dancers. (Technically, I think these are actually lion dancers, but no on calls them that!)
First the drummers and cymbal players begin.
Once the the room is thrumming, the drum beats felt with your whole body, then the dancers don their costume. When the dragon comes to life, the magic begins!

No matter how many times I watch the dragon dance, I never tire of it. There is so much energy and fun involved that you can't help but fell a part of the magic!

After the dancing, the kids headed off to class and the parents went off to shop or nap or eat lunch or whatever they do in their child-free hours. The girls had music and dance, language, kung fu, games, and a session on dealing with adoption and race. Their favorite classes this year (and most years) were art and cooking. In art they learned to use calligraphy brushes to make Chinese characters and paint pictures of bamboo and dragonflies. Rachel brought home a re-usable character practice book and Katherine has added brushes and ink stones to her Christmas/birthday list. In cooking they made breakfast foods - the rice porridge called congee, pickled vegetables, dumplings, and some sort of sweet cookie. Kate was especially excited because "We ate like real Chinese people!"

Group pictures are always scheduled for Friday morning. I refer to this as Where's Waldo? time, since it is amazingly difficult to pick your own child out of a crowd of 200 black haired kids in identical shirts! (Can you find Rachel?)
Waiting for everyone to get settled is apparently boring...

At least until the real photographer says "Smile!"

But the whole group together is pretty impressive!
Friday night we had dinner with friends. Katherine and Sophie were born one day apart and have been friends their entire lives. They are always so happy to see each other and Sophie's mom and I never tire of seeing them together.
There were lots of other families from China Camp at the restaurant, so Rachel wandered among the tables, starting conversations with people she knew and probably some she didn't.

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