I’m in the process of starting a new blog, now that my computer is up and running again, and I came across this contest on a friend’s website that is giving away a free bedding set:http://www.kukunest.com/
Finally!!!!! I can post again! September 8, 2007
Mercy, but we’ve had computer issues! First, thank you all so much for the comments you’ve left. They’ve been emailed to me (WordPress automatically emails them to you) and they’ve been such an encouragement. I have been able to receive emails, just not mail anything.
We’re finally in Guangzhou, and one of the other guys from our group (who wasn’t in Jiangxi with us) helped us get some security things off of my computer, as well as downloading a program so that we can use the internet. (My blog was no longer accessible for a while there.)
Anyways, I have put the posts from here onto my journeytome site, along with pictures, which is what I know everybody wants to see, anyways! I have gotten it almost caught up, but it’s now after midnight, and I need to get some sleep. Within the next day or so, we should be able to have it all caught up to present. (Oh…I stilll can’t send emails 😦 )
I love y’all and miss everybody, and although it’s great to experience China, Tian’s birthplace, we are so ready to come home to our precious family. Clay, Mary, Sam, Anne….know that we love you and are thinking of you and praying for you, too.
public journals: Tian Elaine
A new Bodo! September 4, 2007
Monday September 3rd found us leaving the hotel early to go back to the Civil Affairs Office to finalize the adoption, after the “Harmonious time” (the Chinese name for the 1st night with the child before finalizing the paperwork). We arrived and found ourselves in the same room we were in yesterday…a room full of all the adoption groups from USA, Spain, and Canada. Needless to say it was crowded, hot, noisy, and exciting. Within about 90 minutes the paperwork was finalized, and Tian was officially a Bodo! We then went to the Public Affairs office for a photo of Tian, although I am not sure why, and then to the notary of the province. After that we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a restful afternoon.
After nap time for Tian and daddy we all gathered in the play area on our floor to let the babies and kids play for a while. Then Dana, Tian, and I joined Veronica our tour guide for a Chinese meal at a great restaurant next to the hotel. We had a beef dish and a broccoli dish that were among the best we have ever tasted, and the entire meal cost about $8 in US currency, with tip!
While Monday was “mommy day”. Tuesday was all about daddy as Tian was stuck to me like glue all day. We started out the day by going to Wal-Mart which was quite an experience. The Wal-Mart is downtown and has multiple floors. All of the non-grocery items are on the top floor and all of the food items (it was a Super Wal-Mart) are on the bottom floor. We shopped for some toys, childrens chopsticks (which, by the way, Tian LOVED) and shoes for Tian and then mosied down to the grocery section with the rest of the group. The coolest part of the shopping experience was when we rode the escalator down to the grocery area with our cart. The escalator is essentially flat so that you can take your cart on it. The cart has wheels with grooves on them that fit into the grooves on the escalator and when they are in the grooves on the escalator there is a pad that touches the floor on each wheel to keep the cart from moving. Additionally, on the way down between floors there were bins with items that you could buy as you were moving along. Aaahhhhh…capitalism and marketing are alive and well in China!
After shopping at Wal-Mart we checked out and were met with another american staple just beyond the check-out line, KFC. NOt quite the same as in the states, but the mashed potatos and gravy had a little more pepper and were really good. We returned to the hotel for naps and then a tailor arrived to take orders for custom made traditional Chinese dresses. Total cost for 3 custom made dresses for Tian, Annie, and Mary: about $100. Gotta love the prices here! After that we decided to stay in the room and order room service. Tian chowed on noodles, rice, and spring rolls. Anyhow, we are winding down tonight, so more tomorrow!
First Night September 3, 2007
Well, once Tian woke up, she was still not too happy to be with us, but we opened up the cookie pack she had been clinging to (the orphanage workers had given it to her, and she held onto it for dear life)and started to munch on those. Soon though, Bo worked his charm! He had gotten a couple quick giggles out of her at the Civil Affairs Office, but they quickly faded, but now, back at the room, he got her full out laughing and smiling that first night. She is okay with me holding her, but she doesn’t want to look me in the face. Women are probably all she’s ever known, and I sure don’t look like any of the women she is used to! We played with the stacking cups, looked at photos, played ball, looked out the window (in the insane traffic below our hotel window, a man on a bike got hit~Yikes!)
Tian got upset when I tried to put her in the crib, and it being her first night, I sure didn’t have the heart to just put her down, so we laid down on the bed together. After she fell asleep, I put her in her crib. She woke up, and started to fuss, so I just sat down beside it and rubbed her arm and her face. After a while, she pushed my arm away, so I just sat and watched her. She kept opening her eyes and looking, as if to see if I were still there. She fell asleep just a few minutes later.
Tian slept beautifully, and I got a great night’s rest, as well, for the first time in I don’t know how long. I did wake up at 4 with a poem (or whatever you want to call it) in my head that just wouldn’t leave me alone, so I finally got up and wrote it out. (Believe me, I’m no writer! Bo is the author…but sometimes I have words that won’t quit running through my head till they get put down on paper.) If you promise not to critique, I’ll share it.
For today, I am sorry.
That we don’t look like the beautiful faces you know so well.
That we don’t know everything that has brought a smile to your sweet face up until now.
That we don’t speak with a lovely voice that sounds like music.
But tomorrow, and the rest of your life, I rejoice.
Because we will be the faces that light up with a smile whenever we see you, and look on you with pride as you learn and grow into the girl, the woman you are destined to become.
Because we will come to know you, and you will know us. We will discover what makes you smile and laugh, and you are now part of a family that is full of happiness.
Because we will be the voices that tell you each day how precious you are, how you were known by God before the foundation of the earth, and that He knew, in His divine providence, that although the circumstances that led you to us would be hard, they would also bring Him glory.
So I rejoice.
Forever Family Day September 2, 2007
We have Tian! She’s even more beautiful in person than in any photo! I can’t stay on long, but wanted to let everybody know that we got in to Nanchang, had about 20 minutes at the hotel, and then were off to the Civil Affairs Office. Tian was already there waiting, and was front and center when we walked in the room….tunnel vision set in, and I didn’t see anything or anybody else. She isn’t as happy with us as we are with her…poor thing. She had such a long drive in to town…probably 4 hours (and it isn’t likely she’s ever been on any kind of long car ride…probably just to the hospital or doctors office in her village.) Then, all these new wierd faces. We came back to our room, and she really didn’t want anything to do with us, although she’s familiar with the photo album we sent, and she hugged on her new dog (the one that matches the dog we sent her.) Finally, I just laid down on the bed, and laid her beside me. I knew she was exhausted, and terrified, and only time and love will make her feel safe, and better. I need to sign off, and start unpacking and getting things ready for our trip back to the Civil Affairs Office tomorrow. I still can only receive emails, not send any, and I still can’t write on the journeytome site.
More later! And please keep praying. We love you.
What an amazing day! September 1, 2007
Saturday, September 1, we started the day off with the breakfast buffet at our hotel in Beijing, the Poly Plaza. It was beautiful and delicious. We were up well before the rest of our group, so they didn’t come down till we were finishing our tea.
Then it was off to the Tian’anmen Square. It was amazing to be standing there, knowing a bit of the history about that place. With our Western eyes, it was hard to fathom the depth of love the people here have for Chairman Mao. We saw the building where he is encased in a crystal casket, but seeing as it was Saturday, we were told it was his day of rest. Any other day, people would line up for hours to walk past and pay their respects.
The young, blonde haired kids in our group were instant celebrities! Everybody would clamor round, the brave ones would jump up and touch them and start having their picture taken with them, while the more shy would just gawk and point. The guide kept saying, “They say you have such a beautiful child. So pretty! They want to have their picture taken with him/her.”
The venders are amazingly bold, too, and the idea of personal space is foreign. We got a couple little trinkets, and we also got a group photo taken by a professional photographer in front of the famous picture of Chairman Mao. It came in a beautiful book with photos of Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City, and was delivered to our hotel.
Next was the Forbidden City, which is attached to T.S. As soon as we stepped into the first of three parts of it, I was taken in by the sheer size of it. We live in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, and I think of our old historic fort, and how miniscule it is in comparison. And how YOUNG the US is. (Not that I didn’t know that, this just puts it right in your face!) We walked, and walked, and walked, through all three parts. The last part, the leaving part has a gorgeous garden, and would have been a lovely place to stay for awhile, but by then we were tired, HOT (it was about 100 degrees), and ready for lunch.
Lunch was at the restaurant at the Cloissonne Factory. Oh, my goodness! Lunch was served family style and was great, but the SHOPPING at the Friendship Store there!!!! I am definitely not a shopper, but that was so much fun. I love the way they do it, where you go around and pick things out, they write it on a ticket, and after you’re done, you pay, then go around and collect your wares. We ran out of time before I could get as much as I would have liked to. Plus, we were a little concerned about the weight limits on the in-China flights, and now we’re buying more stuff to cram in our luggage!
Dana has just passed the writing duties to me, Bo, since our next stop was the Great Wall and I experienced it much more than she did. We arrived at a section of the Great Wall that is about an hour and a half northwest of Beijing called “Badaling”. When we arrived we were greeted by a steep hillside that the wall ran up, which was not the image of the wall that I had conjured up in my mind. I guess I had an image of a leisurely stroll with my bride along the wall over some rolling hills in the countryside. Instead I was greeted with a section of the wall that that had so many steps that even Rocky would have had issues climbing them.
The wall was broken up every few hundred yards by guard towers. Standing at the bottom there was one guard tower that was towards the top of the mountain and on a rock outcropping. To many of us in the group, this seemed like a good point to climb to. So with a head full of machismo, not brains, I struck off up the wall. My original thoughts were that this was going to be a very do-able walk up the wall, not terribly tough. That thought went right out the window on the first leg of the climb which was by far the easiest. It was a walk up a ramped part of the wall that contained no steps and lead to the first guard tower. When I was winded at that part, I should have known that the rest of the climb was not going to be the cakewalk I had conjured it up to be.
After resting for a quick minute at that guard tower I struck off for the next tower. This section of the climb was by far the steepest as it seemingly went straight up the mountain. The steps were all uneven heights and worn from centuries of idiots like me challenging them. After resting my burning legs atleast half a dozen times and wondering if my trip insurance would cover me being plucked from the top of the wall by a helicopter, I reached the next tower. When I reached the tower I rested for a few minutes. It was an amazing time as a Chinese gentlemen reached the tower a minute or so after I did and we shared a look and a smile that said “I can’t beleive I just did that”. And to prove that guys all over the world are all the same, we both grabbed our guts, jiggled them, and laughed. Who says we don’t speak the same language?
At that point Marty from our group came by & said that he would climb to the next tower with me, which was the tower that I had wanted to climb to when I looked up from the bottom. I did not have the heart (or brains, for that matter) to tell him that I was just going to let it be my little secret that I valued my life more than the view from that next tower. So I set out with him and followed him up the steps to the next tower. The steps again were very steep, very narrow (sometimes only a few feet wide), and this time the designers of the wall, those wild and crazy guys, threw in twists and turns just for fun! But after a few more minutes of climbing, and some seriuosly agonizing prayer (please Lord, don’t let my heart explode infront of all these people, that would be embarassing) I made it to the tower. Atlast, I had reached my goal!
Once at the tower I sat down and chugged some water which I had in the 20 lb backpack that I had carried with me. My shirt was soaked. My head was pounding. My legs were burning. William showed up with his daughter who I believe is around 5 to 6 years old and still had the energy of a 5 to 6 year old who just climbed the same steps I did. She was bouncing and flitting around, talking about how she wanted to keep going and climb to the top of the Great Wall of China. I told her that this was the highest part of the wall in China, and that the next tower was part of the great wall of Mongolia. Meanwhile William, Marty, and I were contemplating camping out at that tower and catching a cab to the airport in the morning. Well…atleast I was contemplating that. I don’t want to speak for William and Marty.
Once at the tower, Marty and I climbed the guard tower for the view from the roof. The steps in the guard tower were amazingly steep, nearly vertical, and worn from hundreds of years of foot traffic. If only they had know about the benefits of floor finish and a proper maintenance program thousands of years ago when the wall was built, but I digress. The view from teh top was amazing and well worth the torture I went through to get there. I took photos, took video and was joined by a family of French Chinese folks. Very weird. The best part was that there were 2 small children, a father, an older daughter, and her fiancee, who was a native Frenchy while the rest of the family was Chinese, but spoke French. Anyhow, the engaged couple got in some sort of fight while on the top of the tower and fought all the way down the steps. I don’t know what it is about seeing people argue in French, but it was awesome!
Anyhow, I began my descent down the steps figuring this would be the easy part. WRONG!!! My legs had been burning going up, now they wer quivering like a bowl of jelly! The thought of just tucking and rolling down the steps was contemplated more than once, and were it not for the people in front of me, might have been tried. By the time I reached the bottom I was totally soaked in sweat, and quickly aquired a Red Bull (which by the way is much better in China for some reason), a Coke, and a popsicle. After making it to the bus Marty, William, and I decided we would be much more comfortable in a new shirt, since ours were soaked. Let me just say that Chinese shirt sizes do not match our American shirt sizes. My wife just told me to wrap it up and stop typing, so more from us later, we are off to get Tian!
We’re in Beijing! August 31, 2007
So, obviously…wordpress isn’t blocked in China. However, I still hope to mainly post to the Journeytome site, but our internet connection is slow, and it allows me to pull up the page to write a post, but won’t boot up the icon to actually type on it. Anyways, from the time we left our house to when we finally arrived at our hotel in Beijing was 39 hours. All told, Bo & I both only got about 4 hours sleep, so we’re pretty much ready to drop. After showering and a short nap, we took a walk with our guide, Rui, and a couple other families down to a convenience store to buy water, and had dinner at Subway (lame, I know….but after flying for so long, we just wanted quick and familiar.) We’re now in our hotel room, getting ready to sack for the night before our big touring day tomorrow, but hope to make a Skype call to the kids and grandmas back home first, so we’re staying up to do that. Oh, and we can’t send any emails from here. Hopefully, we’ll be able to once we get to Nanchang.
Oh…and praise God our suitcases both made it here; however, most of what was in both of them is SOAKED!!! Nothing inside our suitcases leaked though. At first, we thought maybe it was just the condensation or something from the airplane, then the hot airport, but no…this stuff is SOAKED! All I can think is that someone else’s suitcase had something major leak that spilled down on our suitcases. And Mary…the dress that you and Annie and Tian have…..well, something red was up next to the dress, and now I think it’s permanently ruined 😦 If so, we’ll have to hit the store to get another one when we get back!
Night all! Thank you to all who are praying for us! We love you!