Well, we said we’d do it and we did. Stubbornness prevailed… Marjory and the Mouse is here!
Look at it, would you? I think I am as biased about the beauty and charm of the book (due to Mahe and Luis and Helena – merci and obrigada!) as I am about the beauty and charm of the kid. It’s just perfect in my eyes. Made more so by the fact that I wasn’t quite sure, for eight long years, the book would ever become a reality. We might have skidded over the finish line just in time, but over the finish line we skidded, ready for the Marjory and the Mouse book launch in Macau last Saturday.
It was incredible to see so many people come along to help launch and celebrate this special book. A joy to see old friends (and their babies!) and meet the new friends I’ve been spending so much time emailing over the last few months. If you weren’t there, I really wish I could have teleported you. At the risk of becoming overly gushy – a personal hazard, I really should just stop apologizing – it was just The Best. To start with it was held at the historic Orient Foundation. The Orient foundation already supports Cradle of Hope Association in so many ways and the Foundation building was built in 1770, as the residence of a wealthy Portuguese merchant Manuel Pereira before being rented out to the English East India Company to house the directors of the Macau branch of the company. So, on a burning hot Macau day, the basement of the Foundation remains cool and the historic grounds have beautiful ponds for kids to run around, with turtles doing lazy laps within them.
I officially launched the book and embarrassed dear Marjory, founder of Cradle of Hope, by calling her my hero, before we called all the significant donors, editors, translators, supporters, co-ordinators and cheerleaders on to the stage for thanks and celebrations. This picture doesn’t include everyone – we’d need an amphitheatre for that – but it gives you an idea of what it takes to make a book. A BIG team. Of superstars. Especially that woman I am gazing adoringly at… sorry again Marjory 😉
After signing some books and too briefly seeing friends, particularly those from Crown days – remember those?! – some of the children from Cradle of Hope joined us. Marjory and the Mouse was read to them, in Cantonese, by one of the boys Marjory helped raise, dressed as a mouse. The kids were transfixed by this story that featured their Marjory and their home; it was delightful to watch. Then, afterwards: popcorn, balloons, and the most deafening game of chase between kids and a mouse you have ever heard. I don’t think Mr Manuel Pereira ever imagined his basement would be used for such a thing.
After so much work to bring the book to life, and too many too-brief reunions with friends I hadn’t seen for almost a decade, it was very difficult to leave the book launch. It was a day of much laughter – and a few tears – and by the end of it my kids were without shoes, bright red and full of stories. Mainly about turtles. The turtles really were a hit.
It was bittersweet to have Marjory and the Mouse finally launched, my role complete, and our journey to Macau over. After the Macau leg of the holiday, the girls and I headed to Hong Kong for a few days to eat character dim sum, shop the markets, swim in a hotel pool and hit up Hong Kong Disneyland. We had an absolute ball in Hong Kong but the Macau visit was special. To launch this book, reunite with friends and visit with Marjory and the Cradle of Hope kids, all with two of my girls along for the adventure, was an unforgettable experience. I’ve been asked several times since returning “How was your trip?” and the only reply that does it justice is, simply: “Amazing.”
The night before I flew back to New Zealand, still in Hong Kong, I received a message from Fran Thomas, our co-ordinator and head cheerleader for Marjory and the Mouse. She said she had met with several of the team to debrief. They’d tossed several ideas around for the book’s use and promotion in the future including distributing in Australia, at the ILCM bazaar and in a local Portuguese book store. The book launch was over but, as Fran warned me, “it’s not over yet!”. We worked so hard to get the book published and our work is not over?!
Well… thank goodness for that.
P.S. I have received a lot of queries about ordering the book internationally – Bless you! We are sussing out a way for books to be ordered online via the Cradle of Hope website and as soon as that is up and running, I will let you know ASAP. Please stay tuned as all proceeds go directly to Cradle of Hope Association and it is a wonderful cause.