Monday, July 26, 2010
Our second day of the Changde Reunion was our first full day. It was HOT out! I am eternally grateful that the reunion was held at a resort that was right on the beach so we could cool off in the water.
I love the ocean, so it was a treat to spend several days getting to play in the waves and breathe the salt air. Moving from NY where the ocean was easily accessible, and spending summers on Cape Cod in MA, the thing I miss most about living in Ohio is getting my ocean fix. I have spent the year looking forward to this reunion 1) to spend time with our extended Changde family, and 2) to spend time at the sea shore. So I was not about to let HOT get in my way.
The day was spent with both unorganized and organized activities for the children. We brought our own boogie board, but there were loaners available to the children who did not bring one. The children spent hours with the boogie boards and just playing in the sand.
Playing in the Sand
The children could also participate in organized activities such as guessing how many shells in the jar, relay races, tug of war, etc.
Hoola Hoop Contest
Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Tug of War
Mike and Abby had a lot of fun together at the beach; they really do know how to have fun together.
We ended the day's activities going to eat at the Japanese Steakhouse with a couple of our old Changde friends, and some of our new Changde friends. Unfortunately, Mike began to feel ill right before dinner and drove back to the hotel; a good thing because we ended up with an hour wait to be seated. Fortunately, the children entertained themselves during the wait (we waited outside on the patio). They wanted to wait for a hibachi table, and wait we did!
They were thoroughly entertained by the chef, who put on a pyroclastic show for them and just watching their delight was worth the wait for the rest of us.
Japanese Steak House
Poor Mike, though. When we got back to the hotel, he was sick, sick, sick with a stomach virus. I called the front desk and had a cot delivered to the room so I could sleep separately from him, partly so (hopefully) I wouldn't get sick, and partly so he could have the freedom to make his rounds to the bathroom without worrying about disturbing me.
Happily, it was a 12 hour virus, so Mike felt quite a bit better, though weak, the following day. It is never fun to get sick, and worse to get sick on vacation.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The 5th biannual Changde Reunion was held in Myrtle Beach this year. We drove down in two days, stopping to visit Mike's brother and family in NC along the way. Hannah is an excellent traveler and a joy to take on any trip. She was very excited about seeing her Changde friends again this year.
This is the view from our room at the Springmaid Resort. In spite of being promoted as having WiFi, no one was able to get any connection there, so I was unable to post my reunion blogs in a timely manner. At first, I was a little annoyed about the lack of WiFI, then I decided that not having computer connections for a few days was actually a healthy thing - more time to spend with people, playing on the beach, and generally being active.
After settling into our room, we went to the reception for the children from the Changde Welfare Institute ( a combination orphanage/nursing home in Hunan Province, China) and their families.
We were served cake (and yes, I ate some... chocolate!) and punch, and there were games and activities for the children.
Some of the children already knew each other from previous reunions, but as always, there were new families there, children who were too young to remember who they met last year, and guests of children who came with their families. For the most part, they did not hesitate to jump right in and get involved in the activities.
Most of the children came with their mother, or mother and father, but a few, like Hannah, had an aunt or a cousin along. While the reunions have been organized around families who adopted their children from the Changde Welfare Institute, many families had children born to them, children from other orphanages in China, and this year, one of the families also had two delightful children from Ethiopia.
It was so much fun to reunite with the families we have gotten to know over the years and to meet the new families, but what was the ultimate pleasure was to watch the children reunite with their friends and make new friends.
This year and last, several families had been able to return to China and to visit the new rebuilt orphanage. One of the teenagers gave a video presentation about her trip back. It was wonderful to hear her perspective on her return trip and her experiences in China.
Hannah and Mike were the first of our little family to crash out at the end of the day. Mike had done all of the driving, and Hannah wore herself out playing at the reception.
Another post tomorrow.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm not much into matching clothes, but for my niece ..... I'll do anything! My sister ordered matching PJs for Hannah, Hello Kitty, her, and me, and here we are, resplendent in our sleeping regalia.
You can see the lovely colors of green and purple on my beat-up face, and the steri strips holding my glued head wound in place. It is still very tender, but I am doing much better than I was earlier in the week. The cut is healing, and my head and body aches have become background interference instead of a hammer presence.
Hannah and I spent our last evening camping out together, leaving Abby some quiet time before heading back to Alaska. Stella, of course, wanted to sleep with Hannah half the night and with me the other half. Little did we know it then, but we had a second 'last evening' camping out together when their plane was unable to take off yesterday. They were on the runway when their flight to Detroit got cancelled due to severe weather in Detroit, with no connections available to AK.
We had some lovely Ohio mornings after returning from SC, Stella was very happy to have us home, and Hannah and the Henhouse Gang hit it off very nicely. I was delighted to come home to having the Hen House Gang healthy and happy in my absence.
At the moment, I am experiencing Empty House Syndrome and Hannah Withdrawal. I love to spend time with my sister and niece - it is always hard to have them leave.
I am still planning to blog about our vacation in Myrtle Beach - the reunion of children from Hannah's orphanage in Changde, China. It is always wonderful to meet with the families, to meet new adoptive families, and to share vacation activities together. There are plans affot to celebrate in Changde, China in 2015. Exciting!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Well, I ended my vacation with a bang - literally. The short story is that I tripped over my niece in the parking lot at the Tamarack in Beckley, WV and landed on my head on the pavement.
The longer story is that both my sister and I got a stomach virus and were very sick our last day of vacation, unable to eat or hold anything down. The morning we had to head north, neither of us had any appetite. We drove to North Carolina where we spent a pleasant evening with a wonderful friend of ours before heading north for the longer leg of our journey.
I was very thirsty after we got started on the trip. Mike was finally able to pull over at the Tamarack in Beckley so we could stop for water - they were out of bottled water at the rest area, and the fountains aren't great for really getting hydrated. So, I think when I got out of the car, I was both dehydrated and hypoglycemic. I didn't pass out, I just tripped and then totally lost my balance. I came down smack on my head hitting the pavement so hard people came running because they heard my head hit and saw my head bounce. Then when I sat up, I was pouring blood from my forehead. I think Mike was terrified, as we lost his mother to a blow to the head almost exactly a month ago.
A bystander called 911, and an ambulance arrived within minutes. One lucky thing was that the hospital was only 6 miles away, another lucky thing was that while I had a head injury, I did not have a concussion. The ER nurse was able to glue my cut so I did not need stitches. After making great time on the highway and thinking we would get home early, it took 2 hours in the hospital getting evaluated and glued back together.
Once we got on the road, we made good time until we hit Charleston, WV. Then the car started wildly wobbling. Mike pulled off at the first possible exit. Again we lucked out. Right off the exit was this tiny, filthy auto garage with a couple of men in it playing cards. At first they ignored us, but when Mike told them what was going on with the car they put the car up on the lift and checked it out. It turned out the steel belt had broken loose - we were just about to have a blow out. So he changed the front tire with the full sized spare we had and refused payment. Yes - there are still lovely people out there. Mike slipped him a $20 anyway, and we were back on the road safe and sound.
That was yesterday.
Two more lucky events: Both my massage therapist and chiropractor were able to fit me into their schedules today, so I was able to have cranial-sacral work done and also get adjusted. Aside from that, today I am laying low, icing my many injuries, taking Traumeel and Rescue Remedy, and soaking in Epsom salts.
On the way to recovery!
Barring the stomach virus, we actually had a wonderful vacation in Myrtle Beach. I will write about it and post some pics when my headache abates.
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