Thursday, November 29, 2018

Last Day in China

Well, we’re here in the airport in Guangzhou. It took us until about 11pm to get all our stuff packed. If you knew us when we got Lydia, you might remember that our luggage was lost between Guangzhou and Beijing the last time. Our flight had been cancelled and our guide got us on a flight to Beijing, but because of the last-minute arrangements, our luggage didn’t get on our flight. Everyone assured us that our luggage would be waiting for us in Chicago, but it wasn’t. After a few days of trying to deal with the airlines, our agency contacted our guide, who came to the Guangzhou airport. She found our luggage in a room of lost luggage. Without her doing that, our bags would never have gotten to us. Because of our near miss with lost luggage, we didn’t pack anything irreplaceable in checked luggage. We got almost all our souvenirs in our carry-on bags and our checked bags are full of our clothes and other stuff that we could get again, if we had to. 😊
Yesterday was a long, but fun day. MeiMei woke up at 6:30am and decided it was time to get up. I woke up, with a start, to the curtains in our room being opened. And we were up! Lydia was sleeping on the couch and MeiMei woke her up too. Lydia was not very happy about that, but we told her it was payback for all the times she’s woken us up!!!
Since we were up, we decided to get going right away. We enjoyed another breakfast at the breakfast buffet. MeiMei decided to get some bread, which surprised me because she doesn’t really like bread. Well, after we sat down, I figured out that the bread wasn’t for MeiMei, it was for the fish!
After breakfast, we took the bread out to the fish, even though they’re on a diet. They were going crazy. They piled up on top of each other to try to get the bread. MeiMei loves watching the fish!
We took a taxi to Shamian Island to try to get a few more souvenirs. You know, you can never have too much China stuff! We started walking around, but a lot of the shops were still closed! We were there too late the night before and too early now! After walking around a little, we found a shop, “Judy Shop” that was open. The lady there was very helpful and she had a TON of stuff smashed into her store that was no more than 200 square feet. We found some really fun, cute stuff. She had some great stuff for my nephews. 😊 I can’t wait to see what they think about the stuff I got them. We spent over an hour there looking at stuff and picking out gifts. Of course, we had to go find a bathroom, but only one time. 😊
We had so many bags, we could barely carry them all. We had to go pick up some stone carvings that we made a few days before. I left Brian and the girls on a bench and went to the other store, so we didn’t have to carry all our stuff all over the island. The carvings turned out beautifully. I’m so glad that we got them done. We have a few we had made when we got Lydia, so we got similar ones this time too.
We headed back to the hotel after Shamian Island so that we could drop all our bags. We also decided to go to the noodle and rice restaurant one last time. This time, we tried something different on the menu – Chinese hamburgers. It tasted like fry bread with ground meat and vegetables that were seasoned kind of like sloppy joes, but without the sauce. Well, Lydia fell in LOVE with the Chinese hamburger. I’m definitely going to have to try to find the recipe sometime. We also got some noodles that MeiMei kept pointing to on the menu. They were a little spicy when we tried them. It was so funny when she tried eating them. She would eat them and then squeeze her eyes together like she was in pain, take a drink, and go right back to eating them. I guess I’ll be the only one in the family who can’t deal with spicy food!!! We decided to get one last bubble tea before we headed home. Brian got a chocolate with bubbles and pudding. It was like chocolate milk on steroids! It was so chocolaty. 😊 Lydia and MeiMei stole most of it from Brian.
There is a famous statue in Guangzhou of five rams, or goats, that are made into a tower of sorts. Since it is a tourist destination of the city, we thought we better go there before we left. We took a taxi and the whole time we were driving to the park (10-15 minutes) MeiMei talked to the taxi driver. I have no idea what she was saying most of the time. I did video a bunch of it so we could ask someone! She started out by talking about Mama, Baba, and Jie Jie. I know she told the driver I was a teacher, but that’s about the extent of my understanding of Chinese. 😊 By the time we got to YueXie Park, I’m sure the driver was glad to get rid of us!
Once again, the map and signage, was not quite the same as in the US. We wandered around and around and finally found the statue. We got to the top, took some pictures, and of course, had some ice cream. China was where I was introduced to Magnum Bars, before they were available in the US, so I had to have one of those before we left!
We caught a taxi back to the hotel and Lydia and I headed to Wal-Mart while Brian and MeiMei went up to the room. Lydia and I had 100 Yuan to spend on candy and snacks to bring home. Now that we knew the layout, we were able to get right to the candy. Since it was just the two of us, we were able to look a little closer and we found some fun candy and also some food that Lydia liked when we first brought her home. We found some fruit roll up things that she loved, and also the meat that was wrapped up like candy. We brought a big bag of food home and when we walked through the hotel room door, Brian just shook his head. He and MeiMei had gathered all the stuff we needed to pack in the living room and we were not sure how we would get it all in.
We decided to head out for supper and gave Lydia the option of where she wanted to go for her last meal in China. Wouldn’t you know it, she wanted the rice and noodle restaurant, especially since she had discovered the Chinese hamburger. But on our way to Wal-Mart, we had discovered a bakery similar to the one in Beijing. Lydia was torn and had to pick a number to decide. The rice and noodle restaurant won. Back again for a Chinese hamburger it was. We also passed a bakery that wasn’t quite as good as the one by Wal-Mart, but we decided we could grab a roll from there on the way home. Which we did after we went back to get one more bubble tea! Since the sugar went straight to MeiMei’s blood stream, we decided to have her and Brian go back to the hotel and Lydia and I picked up the bubble tea. 😊
She and Brian ran the bath water and so it was ready for MeiMei and Lydia to get in when we got home. They played in the bath for a while and had a TON of fun (more than Lydia would admit to!!!) while Brian and I had a “date” eating our cake from the bakery and drinking our drinks. Someone needs to open a CoCo Bubble Tea in Hartland (or at least Delafield or Pewaukee)!!!
After packing we headed to bed. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I tossed and turned and mostly kept Brian awake. We got up at 6:30 and got ready. We ate one more breakfast in the hotel. I was the “hero” today and got MeiMei her favorite waffles with whipping cream. 😊 She let me feed her as many waffles as she could eat. We finished up and went back up to the room one last time. We dragged all our suitcases into the elevator and took them down to the lobby and checked out. We headed to the airport and got on our plane to Beijing. We’re in the Beijing airport right now. MeiMei loved her first conscious flight. She was SOOOOOO excited! We were in the middle of the plane, so she couldn’t see the take off and landing very well. She kept pointing up all through the flight, saying “we’re flying”!!! So cute! We collected our bags and had to recheck them here in Beijing. Even though we checked bags, we’ve had to deal with suitcases at every airport and we’ll have to pick them up in Detroit for customs and in Chicago. At least we don’t have to drag all 6 of our suitcases and 4 backpacks all the way through the airport!
We didn’t have wifi in Guangzhou, so I’m just finishing the blog and will post it now. In about 20 hours we’ll be home!!!
Any of you that would like to join us, you are welcome to come to our house tomorrow, Friday, November 29th between 4pm and 6pm to meet Ruthie and say “hi” to the rest of the family. I’m sure we’ll be tired, but we want to give everyone a chance to say hello and Lydia, especially, is dying to see some of her friends and family! If you need our address, just text me. 😊
Please note that MeiMei is very attached to Brian and Lydia, but she is still working on learning to like me. Because of this, we ask that all friends and family members NOT try to touch or hug her. If she comes to you and tries to touch or hug you, I know it will be hard, but please DO NOT touch her back. You can say “hi” and wave. We really need her to develop her bond with all 3 of us before she bonds with other people. I’m hoping that will come quickly after she and I spend hours together at home over the next month, but we’ll have to see. Please follow our cues and ask if you are unsure about appropriate contact levels over then next few days and weeks. Thanks!

I'll add some pictures on Facebook. I don't have time to download them and add them now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Packing Needs

Hello Friends,
I promise I will write about today's adventures tomorrow when I'm sitting in the airport waiting for our flights. But for now, it's 8:30pm and this is what our living room looks like. Ekk!  I'm not sure how we're going to fit everything in!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Safari Park Day

This morning we had the choice of when to leave, so we chose 10am, so we could sleep in. Somehow, even though we didn’t have to be on a timetable we still had a hard time getting ready, getting our breakfast eaten and getting out to the van! Our guide made arrangements for our normal driver to take us to the safari park. It took about 45 minutes to get there, so I’m glad that we didn’t have to take a taxi. He took us right to the gate and helped us get tickets.
We went into the Safari Park and right away MeiMei told us she had to go to the bathroom. Lydia is unusual in that she rarely has to go to the bathroom – like 2-3 times per day. MeiMei on the other hand has to go about every 10 minutes. I’m afraid she might have a bladder infection. That would be better news than this being normal for her. She never wants to go when we suggest it, but almost every time we go past a bathroom, she says she has to go 2 minutes later. Ahhhh! When we first got her, she only drank a sip of water at a time. Now she downs whole water bottles, so maybe she’s never had to hold her pee before! Whatever it is, I hope we can get it under control!!! Or else we’re NEVER leaving home!!!
After our first potty break, we took a look at the map and figured out where we wanted to head. We took off and headed for the giraffes. They had a bunch of giraffes and for only 30 yuan you can feed the giraffes. Lydia decided that she wanted to do it. She got one tiny branch and the giraffe grabbed it out of her hand with its tongue.
After that we found the koalas. They were so cute! They have been at this zoo for 12 years and they have been reproducing well. They had a TON of koalas. Some of them were snoozing, but some were awake and eating. They also had a “nursery” area with mamas and babies. It’s so different than in the US. I remember going to the San Diego Zoo and there were keepers making sure that no one raised their voices around the koalas. Not so much in China. There were people hollering at them and no one really paid attention. At least that was good for us since MeiMei thought they were so cute and went from shushing us to squealing with delight.
After leaving each animal area, there was a gift shop that you had to walk through. MeiMei knows me as the “Keeper of the Money” since I’ve been the one holding onto the cash. She would walk through the store picking things up and saying, “Mama?” We said no to just about everything. But if she saw something she thought was really neat, she wanted me to take a picture of it. I have about 25 pictures of her and items in the gift shop. Well, all around the zoo were blow up giraffes that looked like a hobby horse. Lydia thought that they would be a good souvenir, so we ended up with one. It was fun for the first 30 minutes until MeiMei started riding it and dragging it around and wore a hole in it. She kept carrying it around until we got her distracted enough to shove it in the backpack.
We stopped to eat our snacks, since it was lunch time and watched the elephants. There was a water pump there – I’m not really sure why – that MeiMei had a lot of fun pumping. She filled her mouth with food and then pumped the pump over and over.
Just beyond the elephants was an area that was labeled children’s zoo/touch zoo. Well, it pretty much only had horses. I’m not sure if MeiMei actually recognized the character for horse, but she kept pointing out a character that was on all of the signs. I took a video of her pointing to characters so we can know if she has any idea, or if like a lot of kindergarteners I know, was making up her own “story”. She kept trying to get me to say the Chinese word for the animals. I was trying to copy the sound and intonation just like she said, but every time, she looked at me with a disgusted look and kept repeating it and shaking her head. Whenever Brian would repeat it though, it was always right. I’m sorry, but Brian has NO skills at language. I’m pretty sure she was just telling him what he wanted to hear. 😊 He even purposefully mispronounced some of the words and she still told him it was good!
We could see a little train nearby, but since we had spent a lot on the tickets already, we didn’t want to start paying for rides. Lydia really wanted to ride and she would have been willing to pay some of her own money, so I went to go find out the price. After a little struggle with the language barrier, I found out it was free. We enjoyed a ride around the “Children’s Area” in the train. There were a few more rides there too. MeiMei rode a children’s roller coaster, we rode another little train, a merry-go-round, and a dragon ride (like the Dumbo ride at Disney). There were two buttons on the dragons. One to make them fly in the air and another that made machine gun sounds. 😊 Not really sure about the reasoning behind that one!?!
We headed over to the main attraction – at least for us – the pandas!!! They had a bunch of pandas. Again, the pandas in the US are much more protected than the pandas here in China. Even one of the keepers was yelling at the panda to get her attention. There were panda triplets born at the safari park 4 years ago and they were some of the mascots of the park. As 4-year olds, they are mostly grown, but a little smaller than the adult pandas. It was so cute to see them eat the bamboo. MeiMei was also trying to get me to say the word for bamboo. That one I think I did ok on!
While on the panda trail, MeiMei fell and scraped her knee. I didn’t have anything to make it feel better, but I did have hand sanitizer. She had used that after all the bathroom breaks and she decided that hand sanitizer is the miracle cure all. She put some on her knees and everything was good. After that, anytime she fell or was upset, the hand sanitizer made it all better.
After the pandas came more gift shops, more rides and a stop for a drink and a treat. There were these cute panda cookies. They looked like they were chocolate and vanilla sugar cookies, but they smelled like carob and Lydia thought they tasted like “gluten free”. MeiMei didn’t mind though. She downed quite a few of them.
Lydia was dying to go to the “Bear Forest”, so we tried to follow the map there. I’m usually good at following maps, but the map for the park was not to scale and didn’t have all the paths on it. I knew the word for bear was something like “hua”, so I asked a worker there and pointed to the map. He actually spoke very good English and was able to show us the way. When we got to the “Bear Forest” we saw some snow wolves, but zero bears. I’m not sure where they were or where they were supposed to be, but there were no bears!
Lydia also wanted to see the “Jurassic Trail” where they had a dinosaur exhibit. It was almost closing time and we had to get across the park. We tried following the map again, but no more success was had this time. We did end up seeing the tigers and they had a tiger nursery where there were some very cute baby tigers, so I guess it was worth the detour. We finally asked someone (using the map) and found out where to go.
As we entered the trail, there were animatronic dinosaurs in the “jungle” along the trail. It was pretty cool and they were very realistic. They had sounds and movements that were very realistic. So realistic that MeiMei started freaking out. Brian took her through as fast as he could sat at the exit, so Lydia and I could take a little more time. We took maybe 10 minutes and by the time we got to the end, she was still crying. Have no fear though, I had hand sanitizer! Just to put into perspective how real the dinos were, Lydia wouldn’t stand with her back to the t-rex to get a picture taken. I had her take one of me, but she was a little too nervous to do it herself. They were very lifelike, if that’s possible for an animal that is extinct and I have never seen!
At that point, we were shutting down the safari park. I called our guide, so she could send our driver to get us and after one more stop at the bathroom, we headed out the gate. We found our driver and he was parked in the exact same spot that he was this morning. I’m not really sure, but I think he may have spent the day at the safari park waiting for us. I’m not sure what the going wage is for sitting in a van all day, but hopefully it’s not too much! Don’t worry, we’ll give him a big tip at the end of the week. 😊
We had him drop us off at Shamian Island so that we could eat supper at Lucy’s. Lucy’s is an American style restaurant and it hold memories for us with Lydia. We took her there and she had spaghetti. They heat the plate in the over to melt the cheese. When we got Lydia, she touched the plate and burned her fingers. It was night, so we didn’t realize she burned her fingers because we couldn’t see. The next morning we saw that her fingers had a blister on them from the burn and we felt so bad. She didn’t get the spaghetti this time, but I did. We got MeiMei a grilled cheese sandwich because when we showed her the picture, she said yes. Come to find out, she was just saying, “yes” to the French fries. When Brian tried to get her to eat the grilled cheese, she kept her mouth closed and didn’t even want to try it. He got her to eat one bite, but she was not impressed. She also wasn’t impressed with the spaghetti that I offered her. I’m afraid she might not be so happy with meals at our house!
After Lucy’s, and another bathroom break, we headed out to find some shops that were open. Well, by 7:30, pretty much everything was closed. We started down a street where we saw lights and MeiMei announced that she had to go to the bathroom again!!! Since it’s China, I was tempted to just pull her pants down and have her pee in a drain. I thought that we should at least try to find a bathroom though. On our way to the bathroom, we saw a shop that was open and the guy tried to convince us to come in and shop. I told him that we needed to find a bathroom, and he offered his to us. It was a very interesting bathroom…you had to walk up five steps to get to the “throne” – at least it was a western style toilet – and then the toilet was only about 10 inches off the ground. On the way up, MeiMei tripped and bruised her leg (again), but we made it to the bathroom. 😊 We decided that if we had used his bathroom, the least we could do was look around. We found a chop (stamp) that could have MeiMei’s English and Chinese name carved into it. There was a bunch of other stuff too, but by that time MeiMei was almost falling asleep standing up. We told him we’d come back tomorrow to look some more.
We walked back over by the White Swan Hotel at his suggestion to find a taxi. There was one coming down the road after just a few minutes of waiting. We took the taxi back to the hotel and before we got off the island, MeiMei was asleep.
We’re all tired after our long day and ready for some sleep. Tomorrow we get MeiMei’s visa that will allow her to become a US citizen when she steps on American soil. I can’t believe that tomorrow is our last full day in China. I’m ready to get back to my queen size bed, but I’m not sure I want to take care of the cooking and cleaning again. It’s been nice to have the past few weeks off. MeiMei is pretty good at folding clothes, so at least I might have a helper while we’re at home. 😊

Feeding the giraffe

Koala in the tree

One of the many souvenirs we didn't buy! 

The one we did buy!
Elephants and a giraffe on his head!

An "artistic" picture by MeiMei

She really knows how to capture the mood!
She's a speed demon! She loved all the rides - and no motion sickness :)

Baba doesn't do spinn-y rides, so it was a good time for Mama and MeiMei to spend together

Isn't to sooooooo cute?

"JieJie bobo MeiMei"
Eating the "gluten free" pandas - MeiMei doesn't have too discerning of a pallet!

The biggest Beanie Boo ever!!!
I'm about to get eaten!!!


Monday, November 26, 2018

Last Step of Paperwork DONE!

This morning we decided to skip breakfast since we had such an early leave time.  We ate a pomelo for breakfast that we got off the street. It was really yummy. It is a citrus fruit and it kind of tastes like an orange or grapefruit, but it’s less juicy. We met our guide in the lobby after forgetting all the paperwork in our room! I realized it after we were in the elevator, so we came back up and got it. At least we realized it before we got too far!!!
We had to go to the medical office to pick up the medical report for MeiMei. That is part of the required paperwork for getting a visa. The consulate is right across the street from the medical office, so Lily, our guide, took us across the street and made sure we knew where we were going. It wasn’t too difficult, since there were other families that were there and all the guards knew what we were doing. We had to sit in a waiting room for a while until it was our turn to have our paperwork checked over. There was a little play area that the girls played in. One of the walls was a chalkboard. Lydia drew some great pictures and MeiMei was writing Chinese characters. I’m pretty sure they were the characters for the numbers, but I’m not positive. I would have taken a picture, but they don’t allow any cameras in the consulate. After getting our paperwork checked, taking the citizenship oath for MeiMei and getting any questions answered that we had, we were able to leave. On Wednesday, Lily will go back and pick up the visa and other paperwork that we need for MeiMei to become a US citizen.
We met our guide back at the medical office and she got the van to take us back. On the way, she took us to a 100-story building. The top 30 floors are a hotel, so the hotel lobby is on the 70th floor. We went up there and looked around at the city of Guangzhou and the Pearl River. Across from the hotel is another building that is even taller. It is the tallest building in Western China – 530 meters tall. We took some pictures and were just amazed at the enormity of the towers. Looking up was even more impressive than looking down, I think. I’m pretty sure that buildings are in the clouds some of the time. Today was a clear day though, and we could see to the top. While we were looking down at the river, it reminded us that when we came to adopt Lydia, we went on a river cruise down the Pearl River. Lydia thought that sounded like fun, but we weren’t sure how to get tickets and get there.
After getting back to our hotel, it was time for lunch. We decided to head a different way and see what we could find. Well, there wasn’t so much of the other side of the road right away, so we ended up stopping at Burger King. Of course, MeiMei and Lydia were happy to get French fries and chicken nuggets. Burger King has some different foods here in China. One sandwich that they were advertising was a breaded crab cake on a bun with a square egg. There are some things that just wouldn’t go over so well in the US. But…they also had lava cakes with ice cream on top. That on the other hand, I would buy. And we did. Sharing food is a good way to bond, so MeiMei and I shared a lava cake and Brian and Lydia did too. MeiMei thought the ice cream wasn’t the best part, so she fed that to me and wanted to keep the cake for herself. That didn’t quite cut it for me, but I did let her have most of it.
We were going to head back to the hotel room, but I saw another adoptive mom heading a different way. I figured that she was headed to Wal-Mart, which we heard was nearby. We followed her and found an honest to goodness Wal-Mart. We picked up a few things that we needed/wanted like candy and a coloring book. Wal-Mart was on two levels and it was kind of confusing to find things. MeiMei had to go to the bathroom, so we had to search for that. Good thing that she can tell other people what she needs because otherwise we would never have found the bathroom!
After Wal-Mart, we headed back to the hotel for a nap. Lydia fell asleep, but MeiMei just can’t seem to fall asleep in the afternoons. She laid there for a while, but she kept waking Lydia up.
While the girls were “trying” to sleep, I asked the concierge about river cruise tickets. We found out that there is a ticket office behind the hotel, so we could get cruise tickets there. After talking to Brian, we decided to go tonight, since the weather was so nice. Kids under 1.2 meters are free, but I have no way to figure out how big that is, so we took MeiMei down to check. She was below that, so she was free at least. 😊
It was such a nice day that on the way back up, I suggested going to the pool. Lydia was, of course, very excited to do that. The three girls got their swimsuits on and headed to the pool. When we got to the pool, the ladies that were checking people in and out warned us, “It is very cold water!” I knew it was going to be chilly based on how it felt when the girls put their feet in earlier this week. If you know me, you know that I HATE cold water!!! Well, in order to help bond with MeiMei, I got in the freezing cold water and played. We stayed in the shallow end, but MeiMei LOVED swimming. She had no fear at all. Lydia was jumping of the side and she wanted to do the same thing. She jumped into my arms and was laughing and playing and having so much fun. Lydia was enjoying herself too. The water, we found out later, was a whole 69 degrees warm. MeiMei didn’t last for too long before she was shivering. She didn’t want to get out, and Lydia definitely didn’t want to get out, but I insisted that they go sit in the hot tub to warm up. They got warmed up and Lydia wanted to get back in the pool. There was NO WAY I was going to get back in the water, so I only let her get back in after MeiMei was in a towel in Brian’s arms. She thought the water was freezing then too.
We showered and headed for a quick dinner before we had to catch a taxi to the river cruise launch point. It didn’t take too long and we had plenty of time to exchange our receipt for our tickets and get into the line. The way people wait in line in China is much different than in the US. They made the announcement that people could start boarding the boat and there was a mad rush for the door. People get so close and you just have to go with the flow. I’m pretty sure Lydia’s lack of personal space is come by naturally! We did get on the boat finally and found our table. We chose to sit on the top (even though there was no covering! – They lady selling the tickets didn’t think we would want to sit there). I remembered from the last time that even though we had tickets to sit down below, we wanted to be on the top to see better. It was fun being in the open air. We were at the front of the boat and we could see really well from there. Guangzhou was lit up so beautifully. They have dancing lights on the side of the buildings and the Canton Tower is lit up in rainbow colors. It was fun to watch the lights and cruise along the river. MeiMei loved it and didn’t have any problem with motion sickness! Yeah!!! We met some other adoptive families on the boat that we flew to China with. It was fun to catch up with them and see how things were going in their family too.
We took a taxi home and MeiMei ended up falling asleep on Brian’s lap. She woke up when we got out of the car, but not very much! Brian brought her up to the room and she went right to bed without even getting her jammies on. Lydia was hungry – again, so she and I went in search of something to eat. Of course, we ended up at the noodle and rice restaurant. We brought back some noodles and dumplings and shared with Brian. We also had to get a bubble tea/juice on the way back too. We enjoyed eating our second supper while Lydia FaceTimed with some of the other cousins she hadn’t talked to yesterday. She’s in bed, MeiMei is sleeping too and Brian was about to abandon me. He’s the one who has been downloading the pictures, so he knows where he’s putting them, so I made him stay up with me. I think I’m going to sleep good tonight! We’re both ready for a good, long night of sleep!!!

Canton Town in the background

The 100 story building we went in.

The two tallest buildings in Guangzhou.

For some reason, when MeiMei saw these batteries, she insisted on having her picture taken with them! :P

Matching-Matching - Their shirts say jie-jie and mei-mei (big sister and little sister).

The freezing cold water!

Trying on Lydia's mask!

Much better in the warm pool!!!

Gunagzhou at night

The lights were animated.

The Canton TV Tower

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Another Relaxed Day...

Our morning started off slow and easy today. We didn’t have any plans for this morning. We got up and headed to breakfast. There was a table available outside today, so we got to eat our breakfast outside. We discovered that MeiMei likes watermelon at least as much as Lydia. There was really good watermelon here in Guangzhou. Since it’s a warm weather climate, it must grow all year long. It was sweet and juicy and MeiMei ate a bunch of it! Watch out, Taylors, you might have to buy 2 watermelons when we have dinner together next summer!!!
Since we were outside for breakfast, the girls were watching the fish in the pool. It comes right up next to the patio where we had breakfast. There were signs saying that the fish were on a diet (😊), so we didn’t let the girls give them bread. I’m pretty sure that the diet the fish are on is whatever food anyone will feed them!
We headed back to our room, but the maid was cleaning still so we headed to the outdoor playground. I was going to take pictures, but MeiMei decided that she wanted to take pictures of us. You can tell that she has been posed before. She was arranging us on the play structure and was taking TONS of pictures. It was pretty funny the way she was jabbering and getting “mad” at Lydia for not following her directions.
When we got back to the room, we FaceTimed some of the cousins and then headed out for lunch. We decided to go to the Noodle Restaurant for lunch. I had my favorite broccoli and Lydia had noodles. Both the girls wanted dumplings, but when we got them, neither of the girls liked them. Brian and I thought they were good.
One thing that is different with restaurants in China is that you can, and sometimes are expected to bring drinks with you. We had stopped and got a bubble tea and Lydia and Brian got Pepsi. It was so sad for Brian to discover that Mountain Dew didn’t make it in China. They had it when we were here adopting Lydia, but not now. Anyway, getting drinks with caffeine was a mistake. We brought the girls home to take a nap, which they both desperately needed. MeiMei went to the bathroom about 7 times in an hour and neither of the girls fell asleep.
Our guide was meeting us to take us shopping at 2pm, so we didn’t have time to get them to sleep. We had her take us to the pearl and jade market. It is a giant mall that is full of shops (more like kiosks) selling pearls, jade, and other precious stones. We got some pearls and jade and I got a garnet bracelet. It is crazy how inexpensive everything is. It’s kind of interesting the way they sell pearls. They have different grades of pearls. They have them strung on a string and you buy a whole string. Then you tell them if you want them as a bracelet, a necklace, etc. They string them on a new string and tie off each bead. MeiMei was mesmerized with the ladies that were tying pearls.
After our purchases of fine jewelry, we headed to Shaimian Island. This is an island in the pearl river in Guangzhou that is special to adoptive families. It used to be the location of both the medical exam office and the consulate of the United States. Adoptive families would come to Guangzhou and never left the island. There are American restaurants there, shops that sell souvenirs, and a hotel called the White Swan. When the consulate was there, everyone that adopted stayed at the White Swan. It is a 5 Star hotel and it catered to the families who stayed there in the “hay day” of Chinese adoptions. Our guide showed us around the hotel and took pictures of us in some of the picturesque locations. One thing that was a tradition at this hotel was to take pictures of newly adopted children on their red couch. If you ask anyone who adopted a child from China during the White Swan era, they most likely have a picture of their child on the famous red couch. Well, the hotel, knowing the importance of the red couch, kept one and put it in one of the lobbies. Our guide took us to the red couch so we could take pictures there. 😊
After the White Swan, we went to a shop and got a few things for the girls…dresses, shoes, and some other special things for MeiMei. While I was picking things out, MeiMei was walking around the shop picking things out for herself. There were tons of little toys she kept picking out. The lady that ran the shop thought she was so cute and so good that she gave her a bubble wand. She was pretty happy about that. We decided to head back to the hotel so that we could have an early bedtime.
Brian decided that McDonald’s sounded good for supper, so off to McDonald’s we went. It had been sprinkling all day, but when we went out for supper, it had started to rain pretty hard. Of course, we didn’t bring our umbrella, but we didn’t want to go back to get it, so we headed off in the rain. We had some great American fast food. MeiMei loves French fries, and apparently, ketchup. She eats her fries with ketchup, and she also tried dipping her apples in the ketchup too.
On the way home, it was still raining. MeiMei LOVED the rain. She kept laughing and looking up at the sky. Inner Mongolia is very dry, so it probably rained very rarely there. Also, living in an orphanage, she probably had never been outside in the rain. She was totally enjoying the experience.
We got back and got the girls ready for bed and tried to get them settled into bed. Lydia wanted to fall asleep in our bed, since the beds are so small, but MeiMei would hear nothing of the sort. She kept pointing to the spot next to her in bed and saying, “Jie Jie” (big sister). Lydia had to sleep next to her!
I got chilled in the rain, so I decided to take a hot bath in our huge bathtub and watch the tv in the bathroom. Yes, this hotel room is crazy big! Brian said it’s a good thing we aren’t staying here any longer or we might not be able to go back to our normal size bathroom. It’s almost 9pm, but I think I’m ready for bed. We have to get up early tomorrow because our appointment at the US consulate is at 8:30am. We might just have granola bars for breakfast. I’m not sure I want to wake up at 5am!
Wishing she could feed the fish. She kept telling me to go inside and get some bread.

This girl has no fear

Some of MeiMei's artistic photography!!!

She did not approve of the selfie!

Brian's face is hilarious...I don't think he was in as much discomfort as it looks like!

One of the famous Shaimian Island poses

In the White Swan

Lydia's official red couch picture

MeiMei's official red couch picture

Yummy McDonald's!!!