Since we are saving for the adoption, we've started looking for things to do around DFW that are free or low-cost. While doing an internet search yesterday morning, I came across the Crow Collection of Asian Art, which is a museum in the art district of downtown Dallas. I couldn't believe it when I found out that admission is free!! I was so excited to tell Chip about it, and when he got up, we got ready and headed to Dallas.
It's hard to describe how I felt going to this museum, or how I feel anytime I encounter a new Asian-related experience. Lately, Chip and I can't get enough Chinese food, and are always on the lookout for Chinese things. It's as if these things somehow make us feel closer to China and our daughter; if we can't go to China right now and get her, then we'll do everything we can to feel connected to her, even if it is in such a small way.
The museum was wonderful! The current first-floor exhibit is all Chinese art, most of it centuries old, mostly sculpture, and a few ink drawings. The next floor has more sculpture, and a central room where we were invited to come in and learn about Chinese lion dances. We went in and watched as two young Chinese Americans told us about how the lions are made for parades and parties, and then they demonstrated how to put on the lion costume and how it is operated to perfom the dances. Then they invited the children to come and get in the costumes and Miles had a ball! What a wonderful learning experience for him!
The highlight of the day was when we paid a visit to a 73-year-old caligraphy artist back down on the first floor. We learned his name is Thomas Wu, and that he came to America from China when he was 17 1/2 . He was such a joy to talk with. He asked us what he could write for us, and we said "family". So wrote with his big caligraphy brush the Chinese character for "family" on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. He then asked us what we were going to do with it, and when we told him we wanted to frame it and hang it on our wall at home, and that we are going to adopt a little girl from China, he said he wanted to write something else for us, something that you would actually find hanging in a traditional Chinese home. We were delighted, and watched as brought out a large roll of paper and with beautiful, artistic strokes, wrote 4 characters stacked, and told us the translation, in his own words: "Welcome all the good stuff and receiving fortune." After he gave it to us, he pulled out some more paper from the roll and said he wanted to do another one for us. This time, the translation was, "Home of peaceful and harmonious." We were so touched, because he seemed to be wishing us all the best of blessings in our family. Then he went on to ask us if Miles was 4, and if he would be starting pre-k soon. We answered "yes," and he proceeded to pull out another sheet of paper and wrote the Chinese characters for "kindergarten," translated as "young, naive garden." What a pleasure it was to meet this sweet man.
"Welcome all the good stuff and receiving fortune."
We ended our day with meal at a Chinese restaurant back in Denton. We had bought Miles a pair of children's chopsticks at the museum gift shop, and he ate his dinner with them proudly. What wonderful little experiences our decision to adopt from China has brought to us, and we look forward to the many more we will have in the years to come.