Thursday, May 31, 2007

Truth in Advertising?

I got a fit of the giggles when I saw this sign for the Feng Li Da Arts and Grafts Co. in the Xiangjiang Shopping Center in Xiamen. It was closed, so I can't tell you if it lives up to its name. But I really appreciated the warning!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Changes in Attitude

My classes have been fascinating for the last couple of weeks. In Constitutional Law, we have left behind the slightly dry “powers of government” material and are enmeshed in learning about constitutional guarantees of fundamental rights and individual liberties. It’s been illuminating to watch the students react to issues I know are controversial in China – premarital sex, gay and lesbian relationships, race relations, for instance. And it’s been particularly interesting to see some students espousing pretty liberal viewpoints on these issues. It seems that this new generation in China, like new generations everywhere, is rethinking some old ideas.

Particularly noteworthy was the day we studied Loving v. Virginia, where the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional to ban inter-racial marriage because of a fundamental right to marry, and Lawrence v. Texas, where the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional to criminalize gay sex.

The discussion of racism was almost amusing, since China takes the firm position that there is no racial discrimination in China. That’s a pretty easy position to take when you have a mostly homogeneous society. But, I asked, how about the various minority groups in China. Would it be considered a problem if a Han (the majority ethnic group) were to marry a Miao (a minority group)? No, they said, most of the minority groups are so assimilated that there are few distinctions made any more.

I asked the students whether inter-racial marriage was considered a problem, and they assured me that it was not. I asked how their parents would react if they were to marry a Caucasian person. The men said this would be no problem, and as they were talking I could see the women laughing and whispering to themselves. So I asked them how their parents would react, and they said their parents would see it as a big problem. They would worry that the children were not Chinese, and would not be raised to understand Chinese values.

This led to a great discussion about what it meant to be Chinese – was ethnicity enough, or did you have to have language and culture as well? (I told them about Zoe wanting to be Chinese, but feeling she was not Chinese since she didn’t know the language.) They were familiar with the words “bamboo” (Chinese on the outside, but hollow of culture on the inside) and “banana” (yellow on the outside, but white on the inside) as describing overseas Chinese. And they said there’s an equivalent expression for people raised in China who are white on the outside but Chinese on the inside – they are “egg.” I asked if “egg” and “banana” were really equivalent – was “egg” a compliment or an insult, was “banana” a compliment or an insult? They admitted that “egg” was a positive description while “banana” had definite negative connotations. (Don’t worry, all of this was actually relevant to the legal discussion, too – we had to talk about what it took to be “colored” under the anti-miscegenation laws).

China has a long history of intolerance of gay men and lesbians, so I was curious to hear my students’ reaction to the Lawrence case. I said that it was my understanding that most Chinese considered homosexuality to be wrong, and that some in America also consider it to be wrong. I also said that many in America who consider it wrong will say it is because of their religion or because they feel the Bible condemns it. What were the reasons people considered it wrong in China? A student said it was because of tradition and “family values.” And, he said, it was not natural, which is proven by the fact that no animals have sex with members of the same sex. Another student jumped in to say that in fact there are animals that will have homosexual sex, citing studies of sheep, monkeys and insects (I admit I didn’t expect the students to be quite so current on the topic!).

Yet another student jumped into the discussion to say that gay people should not be allowed to parent children because that would make their children gay. Two students rapidly protested, saying that no one could be persuaded to be gay if they were not and that being gay was a matter of biology. Another student disagreed, saying that it was family life that made someone gay. He said that if a boy is raised with many sisters, he will like girlish things and become gay. I said, “Well, then, I guess there will be no more gay people in China since no one has brothers or sisters anymore!”

One student piped up pretty early on in the discussion to say – and I’ll try to get this as close to verbatim as I can – “I know some homosexuals and they are very nice boys. They work hard and have high standards. I don’t see this as a problem. They should be able to do what they want.” I admit I never expected to hear this attitude expressed in China.

Women & Law has been fascinating, too. Here, the students are definitely grappling with old ideas – their parents’ ideas. As my Con Law students’ disparate reaction to the question about inter-racial marriage illustrated, parents exert more control over daughters than sons (or at least they try to!) My women students tell me that their parents arrange dates for them, that parents who have daughters will fix them up through their friends who have sons. And, they said, they really must have their parents’ approval to get married, which is why they agree to these dates.

Several commented wistfully that it isn’t possible for women to choose to be single in China. There is too much family pressure to get married, and women are still expected to live with their parents until they marry. The only way to avoid living with your parents until you are married is to work far away from the family home. Still, you are expected to spend weekends and holidays at the family home. So, they said, you really can’t have your own home and your own family until you marry.

Now this was the kind of traditional Chinese attitude that I was expecting to encounter. But what seems new to me is that the women students are definitely chafing under these restrictions. What will be interesting to see in the coming years is whether young Chinese women will manage to break free.

One of the biggest barriers, it seems, is financial. The reason you need your parents’ approval to marry is that if they don’t agree, you won’t be able to get financial help from them in the future when you are trying to buy a house or pay for a child’s education. And there is very much the perception that a young couple cannot succeed without that financial support from a parent. And one reason women live at home while they are single is that they are often financially unable to support themselves, even with advanced degrees like my students are getting. They tell me it is very difficult for young women to get jobs; employers assume you will be marrying soon and having a baby, and they don’t want to have to pay your maternity leave. So, this new generation – China’s future – is struggling with old attitudes, old strictures, trying to make space for new attitudes. I really hope I can keep in touch with my students – it will be fascinating to see where they are, how their attitudes have changed China in, say, 10 . . . 25 . . . 50 years.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fulbright Deadline Coming Up

The deadline for the 2008-2009 Fulbright awards for China and Hong Kong is fast approaching -- it is August 1, 2007 (though sometimes the deadline gets extended). This has been such a fantastic experience for us I want to encourage everyone to check out the various awards and consider applying. And don't forget Hong Kong. As the Fulbright website says, "Hong Kong is a major gateway to China."


We were supposed to go to Shanghai at the end of this week for a conference on “Teaching American Law in Chinese Universities,” but the conference got cancelled at the last minute. It seems the conference couldn’t get the required approval from the Chinese Ministry of Higher Education. I don’t know why, whether it was just not being able to jump through the bureaucratic hoops or whether there was something distressing about the topics or speakers. But I’m sorry not to go. It would have been nice to meet again with the other four law Fulbrighters, and to meet with Chinese professors who are teaching American law in China.

And it also complicated Mimi’s travel plans. She made her return flight originate in Shanghai since that’s where we would be, so we had to scramble today to get her a ticket from Xiamen to Hong Kong instead, and we’re out an extra 960 yuan since her Shanghai-HK ticket can’t be changed. So that ticket is also a loss. And our 3 tickets to Shanghai may also be a loss – our waiban is trying to get us a refund, but no guarantees.

Being out 4,000 yuan on tickets to Shanghai is particularly maddening since the American/Hong Kong organizers told us to go ahead and book the tickets even though they had not yet gotten approval from the Ministry of Higher Education. Grrrrr.

One good thing is that we’ll be here for Children’s Day on June 1, and that’s when Zoe’s class is performing, as are other classes of older kids from the kindergarten, at the University auditorium (no need for clothing made from recyclables, instead we had to pay for a “costume,” which is just a denim skirt and t-shirt and thus “reclyclable” into every-day clothes!).

I guess I’ll just have to chalk up the financial loss to a lesson in Chinese bureaucracy – or perhaps the lesson is that even those with long-time experience with Chinese bureaucracy can underestimate it at times.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Around the Neighborhood

We had a fun-filled Sunday without ever leaving campus today. I’ve already told you about the style show; it was sandwiched in between lots of other fun.

The mom of one of Maya’s classmates invited us to their home Sunday morning for a play date. I don’t know how I would have managed without Chen Xing’s parents – they have kept me informed of what’s happening, have translated for me so I could communicate with Maya’s teacher, have helped me with my little English lessons for Maya’s class. So when Chen Xing’s mom invited us over at 8:30 (a play date at 8:30 in the morning?!) we eagerly accepted. Little did we know that the play date would last all morning and would include a wonderful lunch as well!

Walking through the park on the way to our play date we saw a group of retirees doing Tai Chi – I think I’ve already mentioned that parks throughout China are filled with elderly exercise mavens each morning. The park at Xiada is no exception.

Chen Xing’s family lives in an older apartment building near the kindergarten, in a second-floor apartment. We were told that the 3-bedroom apartment was 64 square meters, which is about 690 square feet. Chen Xing’s parents were very gracious, and offered us fruit and drink as soon as we walked in the door.

Soon the girls – including another friend of Chen Xing’s – were all playing together. (The bed made a great place to play, since it took up most of the available space in Chen Xing’s bedroom.)

Mimi and I chatted with Chen Xing’s dad – he had asked me to read a mathematics paper he had written in English, so we talked about my editing suggestions (I couldn’t offer much help, since the math part might as well have been in Chinese for all I understood it! And the English was impeccably correct, so my suggestions were purely stylistic). Soon he left because he had to go meet people at the airport who were coming to Xiada for a mathematics conference. We then talked with Chen Xing’s mom, but she also spent time in the kitchen and would not accept our offers of help!

She prepared us a wonderful lunch with a pork and mushroom dish, cauliflower and beef, steamed fish, an egg and tomato dish, Chinese spinach, soup, and of course, rice. It was all delicious, though she modestly told us she did not cook well! As you can see, Zoe and Maya heartily disagreed with her assessment!

It was great fun seeing how another family in China lives. Their apartment was much more modest than Si Bo’s family’s abode – perhaps that reflects a difference in salary between mathematics professors and law professors! It’s clear that Chen Xing is the proverbial apple of their eye and what resources they have go to her. When they decided to install an air conditioner in the apartment, it went in her bedroom. Her bedroom had a fancy bedroom suite, including a huge armoire, while her parents’ room was more piece-meal. She takes dance classes on Saturday afternoons and English classes on Sunday afternoons. They download English songs on the computer so she can learn, and the family computer is in her room. She had English and Chinese DVDs and books, and her little pink tutu was hanging with the laundry on the balcony. She had books on drawing, as well as arts and crafts supplies, and books on mathematics (no surprise there!). And she had lots and lots of toys. The girls had a ball exploring all of her things!

Having spent the entire morning at Chen Xing’s house, we left soon after lunch so that we could all get ready for the fashion show. I’m sure you recognized Chen Xing in the pictures from the fashion show, too. Here’s another:

Aren’t they cute together? We’ve been so lucky that Chen Xing is in Maya’s class!

After the fashion show, we played for a little while in the park (mostly so Mimi and I could sit in the shade and cool down!). Zoe and Maya looked so cute that Mimi couldn’t resist having a photo shoot as we walked home. The girls love their little tiaras (which are very popular here with children and adults alike) and want to wear them all the time! And the umbrellas were for shade today, not for rain.

Ours was not the only photo shoot in the park – we came across this bride and groom having wedding photos taken.

We often see such photo shoots as we are out and about – wedding photography is a big business here. And we’ve yet to see a groom in a black tux – they all seem to want to match the bride’s dress. At every mall and on Zhongshan Lu there are representatives from wedding photographers set up with dozens of intimate tables at which couples can look at sample books or laptop computers, and every couple who walks by is dragooned into the area to look.

Right across the street from our apartment is an old courtyard-style house, and we often see an old lady sitting in a chair in front. She always smiles at the girls and waves, and when I pass by without the girls she asks about them (Chinese, hand gestures, I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s asking!). She was especially excited to see the girls all dressed up today and gestured us over.

It’s a little hard to have a conversation, but she pointed at the girls and said “jei jei” and “mei mei” (big sister, little sister)? I said yes, and then pointed at myself and said “mama.” She said something excitedly and clapped her hands, and then I pointed at Mimi and said “nai nai” (grandmother), and she was even more excited and clapped and gave a thumb’s up. It was a very affirming encounter, and I’m really glad we stopped to “talk!” One of my biggest regrets in not speaking Chinese is not being about to speak with the older people here. Many younger Chinese speak English, but I’ve found it rare in people over 60. And I really appreciate the fact that there are old people, children, young adults and the middle aged all living together on campus. It really makes the college campus seem like a community, a small village within the larger city of Xiamen. The campus is truly our neighborhood, chock full of intriguing experiences. Today was a great example of that!

On the Catwalk Redux

Remember the kids on the playground practicing their modeling moves? We had no idea why the afternoon exercises at school suddenly looked like an “I’m too sexy for my shirt” video? Well, a few days later the mystery was solved – Chen Xing’s dad explained that there was to be a fashion show, and the kids were to wear clothing made of “useless things.” It was an exercise in recycling! (I admit to being geeky enough to be thrilled there was actually an educative motive behind the whole thing!).

So we made Maya an outfit out of plastic bags, dried rose petals from Mimi’s birthday bouquet, paper scraps, the plastic container inside a cracker box (makes a cunning clamshell purse!), an old shoelace, and a cup-a-noodle container as a hat! Maya looked adorable!
And to add to the fun, the fashion show was on the outdoor stage in front of the administration building. I think it was actually sponsored by some company, and it involved not just the kids in Maya’s class, but all the classes of the younger kids and the even younger kids who go to the nursery school on campus (we’re told that the older kids, including Zoe’s class, will be having their fashion show in a few weeks).

Some of the parents really went all-out on the costumes, and some seemed to have very little in the way of recycled products, but all the kids were really cute. Look at the little girl in the middle – her skirt is a KFC chicken container – how clever is that?!

And remember the little girl who practically sprained something with her hip swings? Here she is in full regalia – and the girl next to her reminds me of a 1960s aluminum Christmas tree:
And here’s our pro striking a pose with the James Bond boys! I love the costume of the boy on the right – full gladiator kit out of a gift bag!
And then the cutest model in the show – our own recycling Maya! (Almost all the kids had red dots on their foreheads – a Chinese custom for good fortune.)

And then after taking her turn on the catwalk, finishing off with a curtsey, off Maya goes with hands on what one day may be hips!
There were tons of kids and tons of parents and tons of relatives watching, all of us stewing under full sun with no shade in sight. (I’m not sure whose brilliant idea it was to hold this fashion extravaganza at 4 in the afternoon when temperatures were guaranteed to be in the 90s.) Poor Maya sweltered in her plastic dress like a bagged roast in an oven! Still, she said she had a lot of fun. And just think, we get to do it all over again for Zoe! (any suggestions for a recycled costume would be much appreciated!).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

10,000 Rock Botanic Garden

We finally made it to the Botanic Gardens in Xiamen, and it was well worth it. The garden is huge and I don’t think we saw half of it, though we walked and walked and walked. Of course we had to climb the bridge and go down those %^&* stairs! Here are the girls in the bamboo garden right across the bridge.
And here’s a close-up of the bamboo so you can see that the strange markings are from Chinese grafitti -- I guess there is no place in the world immune from grafitti.
As befits a botanic garden, the flowers were gorgeous and plentiful. Look to the left of the cluster of flowers below and you can see a black bumble bee caught in mid-air!

The lotus in the botanic gardens were even more beautiful than those at Nanputuo.

I’m glad my camera caught the sparkling dew drops on this hibiscus. Or maybe it wasn’t dew – it was so hot, it’s possible that even the flowers were sweating!
Malinda says this flower makes her think of a Georgia O’Keefe painting – and we all know what those are paintings of!

Even the trash cans got into the spirit of the gardens and were made of fake trees and bamboo. The girls got a real kick out of those.

It was so hot that we had to stop many times and replenish our water intake (we found out after we got home that the heat index this morning was 102 degrees!). I seldom perspire, but this morning was so hot and humid, Malinda and I were simply dripping. The girls were not bothered by the steaming temperature. They had more energy than their mother and grandmother. They were so happy to find the ubiquitous outdoor exercise equipment. . .

. . . though Maya had her own unique interpretation of "exercise!"

By late morning we had seen enough beautiful plants, trees and flowers and it was time to go home. Though we took a taxi to the gardens, not being quite sure where it was, we decided to take the bus home when we realized how close the gardens were to Zhongshan Park. As we walked to the bus stop near the park, we passed several stores with dancing costumes and shoes. We stopped at one, filled with costumes for children and adults, and found ballet shoes for Zoe and Maya and me for only 15 yuan a pair – less than $2 for ballet slippers!

During the short walk from the garden to the bus stop, we passed this cute statue of children climbing on an ox. . .
. . . and then this interesting statue of combat boots.

Xiamen certainly has an abundance of outdoor art.

We timed our trip just right, and arrived near home just in time for a cooling rain, but before the downpour. It was an enjoyable morning of scenic beauty.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Trip to the Dentist

About 3 weeks ago I lost a filling in an upper molar. Did I dare go to a dentist in China? I contacted International SOS, a company that provides medical assistance to members in foreign countries, asking for a recommendation of a dentist in Xiamen. Their terse reply – we cannot recommend anyone in Xiamen and suggest you go to Hong Kong for non-emergency dental work. Hmm, doesn’t seem worth it just to get a filling done. I asked around the ex-pat community and got some recommendations, and then dilly-dallied around since the tooth wasn’t offering any pain. And then Tuesday I lost ANOTHER filling in a lower molar! I figured I better do something about the gaping holes (it’s amazing how your tongue just can’t leave the huge cavities alone and how large those suckers feel!). I made an appointment for this afternoon.

I wish I had some exotic tale of Eastern medicine, acupuncture needles, and pungent Chinese herbal medicine. Instead, I went to a very modern dental clinic and got perfectly modern dental care (in fact, Xiamen residents, I highly recommend Yao Dental Clinic)! The only surprise was how long it took – it’s been a long time since I had a filling, much less two fillings, but it took the dentist almost TWO HOURS of working pretty continuously to do the fillings. And none of this give-a-shot-and-disappear-for-20-minutes stuff I see at home – he gave me the shots (4 of them, but those were the only needles in sight!) and waited only a few moments before my mouth became numb. Then we drilled and drilled and drilled to remove the remains of the old fillings. Well, there was one other surprise -- it only cost 580RMB (about $75).

The oddest part of the whole experience was having the dentist and the hygienist chatter continuously in Chinese while working on me. Now, not being able to understand what people are saying around me is an extremely familiar experience for me these days. But it feels a little different when someone is drilling holes in your head. And at times my imagination would run away with me and I’d start believing they were finding some dread problem with my teeth . . . when they were probably just talking about last night’s episode of “Desperate Housewives!” (It could well have been “Desperate Housewives” – a student in class today told me all about an episode she saw that seemed related to today’s lesson!)

Luckily for me the dentist spoke English, but he broke the usual dentist mold and didn’t try to carry on a conversation with me while his hands were in my mouth! He basically spoke two words to me while he was working: “Relax” (yeah, right!); and “Sensitive?” asked each time I so much as twitched!

One funny thing – while I waited for my x-rays to develop, I picked up a book in the waiting room called, “English for Nurses.” It was obviously used to help the staff talk to English-speaking patients, since the word doctor was marked out and the word dentist substituted throughout. I was randomly flipping through it when I found this exchange:

Patient: I think I may be pregnant. Will you examine me, please?

Nurse: My pleasure. Please take off your shoes.

What?! In China they can tell if you’re pregnant by looking at your feet?! I turned the page and the nurse’s dialogue continued:

Nurse: First I must weigh you and measure you.

So much for the mysteries of Eastern medicine!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Playing Hooky

We kept the girls home from school on Tuesday so we could do something touristy and fun and not have to deal with weekend crowds. We decided to go back to Gulangyu since we barely scratched the surface in our first visit. We bought tickets for the tourist “bus” – remember that there are no motor vehicles allowed on Gulangyu, so the bus is a large golf cart – and rode around the island. We saw parts of the island we missed last time – the old U.S. consulate that has been restored and is now a hotel, statues galore – before coming to the beach. Three minutes for a photo-op, and we were on to our next destination.

The next stop was ostensibly a museum to Fujian culture, though it was essentially a big gift shop with the usual slightly-coercive tactics and high prices you find in such places. But I did learn some tidbits about Fujian culture I didn’t know. Familiar to all China-adoptive parents are the granite etchings that are sold in Guangzhou – you give them a photo of your new child and they do the etching with pin-prick tappings on stone with a needle-sized awl. Well, apparently, that started in Fujian Province. The museum guide told us that it was a technique handed down to females, and only to females. No men were taught this technique. Who knew?!
The guide also explained her costume as original to Fujian Province. Unmarried girls cannot show their ears or neck to a boy, so a scarf must be worn at all times. If a boy sees a girl’s ears or neck, he will be required to marry her. She said that her belt also marked her status as unmarried, since it was made from cloth. Married women wear belts of silver, and the heavier the belt, the wealthier the husband.

And that’s about all there was to the museum exhibit – we were then led to a small room to learn all about Fujian Province tea (in the hopes that we would buy some!). We should have guessed, I suppose, after seeing this teapot fountain in the courtyard!

It’s quite true that tea is important in Fujian. And Xiamen has been exporting tea to the West for centuries. In fact, the Fujian dialect word for tea was exported as well – in the French word the (you'll have to just imagine the accent over the e) and the English word tea. Other places imported tea from Guangdong Province and ended up with the Cantonese word for tea, chai. And the tea that was the subject of the infamous Boston Tea Party was from Xiamen!

We learned about different kinds of tea, and how to make each one. (For example, some are to be washed and strained before steeping, others are not. Some can be made with cold water, others cannot.). And we were instructed on how to hold the tiny handle-less teacups – the rim between thumb and forefinger, the bottom resting on the middle finger, and the last two fingers held out “because it is more beautiful” that way. (I must not be doing it right, because it certainly doesn't look "more beautiful" in my hand!)

We were also told it was alright to slurp the tea, especially when it is very hot because it cools it down in your mouth. And making smacking sounds with your mouth after slurping the tea is good because it helps you taste it in the back of your throat.

And then there was the litany of health benefits, with hand-out included. The silver tea is peony tea, and it is “antipyretic, detoxication to faucitis, tonsillitis, and upper respiratory infection.” It can also cure constipation when taken with a little honeysuckle. The little knots of tea on the left are lotus tea. If you steep it with “corn beard” it will lower blood pressure, “repress diabetes” and “debase the cholesterol.” When taken with honey it will protect the brain and “help one get over a shock.” The third tea “has the function of anti-cancer, refreshing oneself, fat reduction and blood pressure lowering.” If mixed with the lotus tea, “it can reduce weight wonderfully. Therefore it is popular with the middle-aged and elderly men at home and abroad.” (What about middle-aged and elderly women?!)
I don’t actually like tea, but I gamely tasted each one. The girls LOVED it, though, and I was able to fill up their cups with my tea so it looked more like I was a generous Mama than an uncultured tea-hater!
And because it’s China, and it’s the sort of thing one must do in China, I actually bought the lotus tea and the weight-reducing tea (though I’m not sure I’ll ever drink it, despite it’s magical fat-melting properties!)

We then explored the Shuzhuang Gardens, which were lovely.

(Have you ever seen a tree more in need of a shave?!) The girls especially loved climbing up and down stairs in the “12 Rockery Caves.”

See the beautiful tree with trumpet flowers behind the girls? We saw it from the ground, and it became our destination as we wandered through the maze-like caves. Finally, we reached it , and it was certainly worth the climb. Here’s a closeup:

Isn’t it gorgeous? I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

As we finished up in the gardens, it started to rain so we hurried to the Piano Museum – yes, the Piano Museum. Gulangyu has the largest piano museum in Asia, because when Christian missionaries came to Xiamen they brought bibles and PIANOS! The museum has player pianos and beautifully carved German pianos, and a number of Steinways, and a pair with gorgeous wood inlay pictures of birds. Mimi and I liked the museum, but the girls weren’t that excited by it.

Our next stop, though, was more to the girls’ liking – Gulangyu’s Underwater World, which is a large aquarium.

We were all amazed by the variety of water life on display. Some of the creatures seemed so improbable we thought they were fake – until we saw them breathing! The blue fish above was HUGE, probably about 3 feet long. The aquarium had a long “Acrylic Tunnel” that allowed you to walk among the fish and sharks, which the girls thought was just a little scary and pretty cool.

The aquarium also included a dolphin and sea lion show, to the girls’ great amusement.

I think the girls will long remember the joys of playing hooky – at least occasionally!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Art Contest

Remember Maya's art project? The teacher gave us a piece of paper before the May holiday and said "make a picture?" Well, I didn't realize it was for a school-wide art contest (especially since Zoe's teacher didn't say anything about it and didn't give Zoe a piece of paper . . . ). But when we got to school today the art was all displayed, and several parents rushed up to tell me that Maya had won second place! She must take after her Mimi!

I was really proud of Zoe, too -- there was great potential for sulking since she didn't even have a piece on display. But instead she gave Maya a big hug to congratulate her, and calmly assessed all the other pictures to find her favorites. Whew!

Anyway, I thought you might want to see some of the drawings. Pretty impressive for 3-5 year-olds.