Friday, April 24, 2009

pictures on the way home from Yangxi SWI

Kai is still a little motion sick

Sunday, April 19, 2009

pictures from Kai's camera

Kai Self Portrait

Kai's prized new quilt

around Guangzhou

getting into trouble
she will be walking before you know it
Jeff did all the peddling
Kai helped some
I tried but Yun Zhen didn't like getting bumped in the bum
more rides
I think that is what the guide thought we meant by "playground"
where the locals shop
wanted a wide angle lens to capture the sheer amount of people
tickle time

pictures of the guangzhou zoo

feeding the fish
feeding Yun Zhen
the panda
she's pretty old and doesn't go out much
Kai looked everywhere for kangaroos
this is the only one we found
can't have a children's attraction with out pay per rides

Kai loved them.

The flight and we're back

We did make it back and Kai didn't barf! He was so resiliant on the trip and poor Julia stood most of the way. I considered searching for a parachute about 6 hours in. It's just so very difficult to hang in there on a long flight even though it's less than a day compared to how other people have crossed the ocean. Sleep has been slow to come. Sunday morning here finds Yun Zhen and I hanging out. Kai fell asleep at 7:45 pm and isn't up yet. Julia's gone to bed to try to get some rest. She's just plain exhausted as Yun Zhen is on a two hour sleep cycle.

It really was a marvelous trip with experiences that were unforgetable. But there's a little girl who'd like some tickling just now. We'll post more pictures as we have time this week. Thanks to all who took the time to read this and for your continued well wishes.

April 16th happenings

This is out of order but I didn't have a chance to post on my birthday for those events. It was an odd day with all of us pretty concerned about the long flight home. We started the day with a trip to the toy market. This was pretty remarkable really. With Kai leading the way in decisive fashion we searched through market stuffed animal vendors to look for a "realistic" stuffed animal for him to bring home. We are proud owners of "Whitey" now, a white tiger. He also scored a godzilla like toy who is apparently not really Godzilla as he has but two fingers and the real Godzilla has three. A bag of candy was also scored.

After toy shlepping we were headed toward a cab when I felt a presence close by. I felt a hand venturing into my front pants pocket. Turning my head I saw a guy shadowing my closely trying to pick my pocket. He immediately put his hand in his own pocket and started to pretend to kick rocks and then went behind a truck. He wasn't successful but it was one of those sort of complete your trip experiences. The afternoon found me still looking for Dramamine for Kai and I purchased some carsickness patches in hopes that the plane ride would be easier for him.

Our last dinner was at Lucy's, the Americanized restaurant a short distance from the swan. We ate there a lot as they have grilled cheese sandwiches for Kai. Nothing spectacular about the food but a lovely place to eat outside. We danced to Huey Lewis "Heart of Rock and Roll" once Yun Zhen started grooving to it. Kai and I also danced and then we walked along the river and watched the lights for our last evening in China. Then it was off to pack up for an early flight.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

safely home

We made it back to Seattle. The plane trip was long, but everyone did well. We had to go to baggage claim 3 times on the way back, once in Beijing to transfer it all to the international flight, once at customs in Seattle, then again at baggage claim in Seattle.
Yun Zhen is now a US citizen, though we have no paperwork to back it up. We will get a Certificate of Citizenship within 45 days. Immigration suggests we get her US passport right away.
I will try to post some pictures shortly, but I am functioning on a few 1-2 hr bits of sleep over the last 36hours, so if the opportunity to sleep comes up, I will probably take it instead of posting pictures.
The grandparents met us at the airport. Was very nice. They have pictures of us bleary eyed. I was so out of it that Virginia offered to make us dinner, and about 4pm I forgot and had Jeff make dinner. Sorry Virginia. Diana drove us home, stocked our fridge (so we had makings to cook) and bought us crib sheets (I can't believe I forgot to do that!).
Even though we stayed up until 7pm, no one slept past 12:30.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

At the white swan

Yesterday, we moved to the White Swan Hotel for our last three days. The room is much smaller but the hotel is very fancy. They have a truly fantastic Koi pond and lots to look at. Kai and I have been in the pool a lot which is very nice. Our move was a bit awkward. Marching three blocks down the road with the bellman pushing our 6 + bags along. Of course this bellman wasn't allowed into the White Swan so there we were in the driveway while the Swan bellman unloaded and we were all set. Yesterday also involved taking Yun Zhen to the doctor to pass a physical which she did. She's got a passport and then we wrap up tomorrow and head out early Friday morning. Yesterday was the first super-hot day. It's the Canton Festival now and there are lots of businessmen in town. This means I'm getting a whole different set of solicitations now when I go out for a walk or to run errands. Many of these "masseuses" even have business cards.

The Swan is very American oriented. Lots of white families adopting. It's a little shocking to see obese America again and the free buffet is a bit competitive in the morning. There's lots of competition for the couch in the playroom (sponsored by mattel). Meanwhile when out and about there are lots of locals out exercising in any open space.

Yun Zhen continues to charm everyone and crawls up to us and begs to be tickled. She grins and smiles and she seemed ok when we took her with us from visiting the orphanage. It will interesting to see how the ride home goes.

Kai is into Justice League stories and I told him 5 hours of them on the way to and from the orphanage. It gets to be a drag but seems to keep him getting carsick.

Looking forward to seeing everyone though we'll be a wreck for a bit I think. Tomorrow, I turn 39 and reflecting on these last couple of life altering weeks I find myself at ease here and I do wish we could stay longer. It's been lovely to add Yun Zhen to our family and to get to know her.

Monday, April 13, 2009

pictures of orphanage

The staff and Jun Zhen's Nannies
Wall of children who were adopted to the US from Yangxi SWI
A lot for such a small orphanage

Staff took Yun Zhen from us right out of the car.
She looks so happy.
Yun Zhen's finding place

I had more pictures downloaded, but Yun Zhen came over and unplugged the computer. The hotel computer deletes everything on it when it is powered off. Nice security, but now don't have time to do it again. wonder if White Swan will have computer in the room.

You can go to the below link to see pictures inside the orphanage. They requested that we do not take pictures.

A long car ride and short visit

Yesterday we visited Yun Zhen's orphanage. It is the Yanxi orphanage and about 3-4 hours east of Guangzhou. Not a lot to say about the drive. Rice paddies, livestock, city and onward. I did see a couple of cranes (the bird kind and machine kind) on the way.

The city where Yan Zhen was abandoned is small and pretty rural. The orphanage has secured a funding source from the government and is in process of building solar power on its roof so that the kids have heat, hot water, and A/C when needed.

Yun Zhen was apparently the darling of the orphanage. She was immediately nabbed from us on arrival and we didn't get her back until after the big lunch that the director of the orphanage took us to.

There's more to tell but everybody's just getting up and I must go Dad now. We'll get a lot more of the story out as things settle down here. We're moving to the White Swan hotel today and are not sure if there will be a computer in the room.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

The easter bunny has agreed to visit our house next week and hope that everyone had a nice holiday. Today we went on a paddle boat and to a truly gargantuan mall (at least compared to those hick malls we've got in Seattle)! Kai got new italian made fast shoes with a "K" on the side of them so don't forget to be very impressed when you see them. He also bought a pretty neat remote control car and has also gotten a couple of swords. Yun Zhen found several fetching articles of clothing with her Mom.

We had a very nice family time this evening. Yun Zhen is a bit ticklish and Kai is a tickler. It was delicious to see both kids smiling and laughing. Very touching really.

I took my first cab ride today. It was so cheap that it makes me question my miles of hiking these last several days. Big grocery store. Very fun to walk through though. The cab was a little crazy and I was watching some truly excellent advertisements in the back of the cab. I, being a cautious traveler on a good day felt very brave to make it back to the hotel. Like being a caveman really returning with food and supplies for the family. I also agonized over instant cereal types for quite awhile.

Yun Zhen eats and eats and eats. It's remarkable and so important to get her fed before she gets very hungry. We're all getting better when she cries and are starting to understand what she's looking for.

Kai and I are also spending good times together playing "wipeout" in the kids playroom at the hotel. Generally speaking the "faster than the faster than the faster than the lion tiger lion tiger boy" wins.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Adventures on the other side of the bridge

It's been a lot of fun exploring Guangzhou. We are staying on a small island in the middle of the river and it's very quiet. There are a few shops that focus their business towards adopting families. I get stared at a bit here but the people are very kind. I think it's unusual to see an interracial couple around here. On the other side of the bridge is the big market and it's there that I seek to provide sustanance to my family and it's always an adventure. We've tried some interesting meals and I recognize a lot of people having been here for a week. There's Lebron James who likes to practice English with anyone willing and also "no toe guy" who's missing his big toe and lives on an overpass and the various shopkeepers around here. The traffic patterns are remarkable and there are an incredible number of people out driving around very slowly. The number of shops are dizzying and often surprising. Yun Zhen and I are going out for evening walks around the island as well and she is so enjoyable to talk to and I'm awed by how much she has warmed up to us already. It's really a lovely time so far and we're halfway through our trip already.

Friday, April 10, 2009

pictures from Kai's camera

this is one of a series of snails.
We are heading home in one week. Kai asked today if we could stay longer. I guess that is a good sign. Or he doesn't want to take that long flight.

I find myself a little sad that the time here is going by so fast. It is almost like a vacation.


We have 3 days with no official business to do. So today we went to the Buddhist temple. It was also one of the busiest days of the month there. People everywhere burning incense. It was pretty hard to breath.
Then we went to the fabric market. I really wished I had Mom with me to help me shop... I just looked around while the sales people talked to me in Chinese. I have almost lost my voice with my cold and the guide was with Jeff and Kai waiting out front. Guess the guide didn't like shopping either. It is too hard for me to shop the open marked because they don't post any prices and I am too embarrassed the ask. When you do ask, you get locked into bargaining battle. Today, I couldn't even get my voice to work. They may have been giving me deals but I have no idea.
Funny everyone thinks I am the guide. I have even had several people tell me that. I have to introduce myself as only speaking English to pretty much every person I meet. Even the nice people on the street.
Tomorrow we decided to go to the Zoo. Our guide book warned against going to any zoos. Kai was pretty bored at the temple and the fabric market. Should offend the adults. But Kai was so excited about all the poor animals in tiny cages at the market, I think he should enjoy himself.

Qing Ping Market

Kai loved the fish.
I was fascinated by the scorpions.
Customers squatted on little stools and picked the scorpions out with chop sticks.

Our guide said they deep fry them.
We got a lengthy introduction to Chinese cuss words for standing on one of the stools...
Kai also liked the starfish. I think they had everything imaginable dried for sale.

Getting to know Yun Zhen

She is a charmer and loves to be carried around. Ming will have the mightiest forearms before this trip is out. The carrier provided by the Finmura family has been a godsend. She's laughing a lot today and crawls well and is exploring the room. She can also wave to people and makes a variety of noises to us. We're getting some communication going and she is so fascinated by Kai, especially when he's doing "Wipeout." She also absolutely loves eating and playing while she eats.

Yesterday we went to the market and saw the very amazing variety of ingredients they use here. We also had our official appointment to get her passport process going. It's hard to believe we've already been here a week. We are enjoying ourselves so much though of course we're exhausted and everybody's got my cold now though I am much better. Yun Zhen has a lovely laugh and is very playful now that she's starting to get used to us. We hope to get more pictures uploaded soon and send our best wishes and thanks for your thinking of us and sending well wishes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Yun Zhen

I was going to write a nice long entry during Yun Zhen's nap. But she keeps waking up and wants me to hold her. It is pretty hard to type while holding a baby so I'll make it short.
She has the most magical small cry. She has been working hard to be endearing... She has never had one caregiver. She is used to a lot of people taking care of her and she is not hard to take care of.
When she wakes up she looks so confused and lost. That's when we hear the loudest cries.
Feeding her has been the hardest. We have been told not to change her diet until we get her home. That this is stressful enough. But she is so interested in our food. She swipes it off my plate. Sticks it in her mouth and then spits it out. Picks it up and tries again.
I think we may have to do laundry more often...
Kai is definitely missing Grandma. He feels lost and of course jealous. Poor guy. But he is handling it remarkably well.


Kai at the playground.

Our first glimpse of Yun Zhen.

She looks so sad

back at the hotel

at the park