We absolutely love China!! The sights, the people, the energy, the history... everything.
I can't connect my camera to the computer so these photos are all from David's iPhone (hence the slightly fuzzy quality).
Two days until Kavanna Day!!
Walking towards the Temple of Heaven
David standing by a juniper tree that is over 300 years old. In China, it's a mere youth of a tree.
Part of the Temple of Heaven
Ariel outside the boat we took to cross the lake at the Summer Palace. The entire lake was manmade, and they used what they dug up to create a hill, where they placed another temple for the use of the Empress.
It's hard to capture the scope of the Summer Palace in a photo. It's huge and beautiful, and words don't do it justice. Plus it's 3am in China and my brain is unable to come up with words more descriptive that "huge" and "beautiful".
the Summer Palace
Pandas spend 10 hours per day eating. They move very slowly. And they're very CUTE!
Why is Ariel smiling? She had a great dinner but managed to forgo the braised donkey, the bullfrog, the fish heads and the rabbit. We chose a restaurant a few blocks from the hotel and had a very delicious meal. The bill was 80 yuan, about 13 dollars!
Beijing street. The stores were closed but street vendors were out selling noodles, candles, clothes, purses in front of the stores.
We ventured down an alley, where people were cooking noodles outside tiny stores. Behind David, a lady was sitting at a desk with three very old phones on them. Maybe she was selling phone calls (definitely she was not selling phones).
Tiny cars with three wheels. They make Smart cars look big! Hotel lobby
Another thing about being in China... it's like being in a zoo. Being an animal inside the zoo. People stare and laugh (yes, laugh!). Yesterday a few older men on bicycles pointed at us and started to shout to each other, then they all cracked up. Another man came up behind David and stood about a foot away, looking at him as if he were a circus curiosity. Mostly it's Ariel and me who seem to be the oddities. As two tall Americans with blonde and red hair, we definitely look different! Still, it gives me more appreciation for the pandas we're going to see later today at the zoo.
I woke up at 1:30am and couldn't go back to sleep. I slept two hours on the plane. It's possible I can actually function without sleep, which means I'm ready for Kavanna!!
Or rather, of our hotel, the Poly Plaza, which is funky but fine. We're about to go out and investigate the city but here are some observations so far:
David checked out the gym, which is a room the size of a closet and consists of two pieces of equipment (a treadmill and a pulley machine). The gym was overseen by a number of employees - all of whom were smoking.
Among the delicacies available from room service: fried pig nut (yes, you read that correctly), black fungus in vinegar, and tingle-and-hot-sausage. We don't know what tingle is. And, we don't want to know.
Our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong was 14 hours and it went fast (and let me recommend Cathay Pacific, which had great service and a very nice plane). The flight to Beijing was smooth. Grace from GWCA picked us up, along with our travel buddies Karen and Jeff.
We took No Jet Lag (bought it from Magellan's) and it seems to have worked. We are loopy but doing pretty well.
We're HERE!! We're going to settle in, then go out and take photos, which we'll post later.
The bag is going to China and the box is from a portable DVD player is being charged. Kavanna will have a cozy corner to play in.
The master bath was going to be a nightmare to babyproof... so we just gated it off. Maybe we're kidding ourselves but it seemed like a good solution.
A huge THANK YOU for all the wonderful responses I got from my last post. It felt much better knowing I was not alone, and I very much appreciate all the kind, comforting and supportive comments!!
I've recovered from my temporary insanity (or maybe it's the sanity that's temporary, I'm not sure). We are packed. Overpacked, but packed (how can one 19 pound person need so much stuff??). Kavanna's room is cleared of clutter. Our house is babyproofed.
We're leaving in FOUR DAYS and I'm a nervous wreck. I'm waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Where does that expression come from, anyway? From where are these metaphorical or suppositional shoes dropping? And why is it a bad thing? Are the shoes going to, say... drop on one's head and cause brain tauma? But I digress.
I'm worried about everything. Is this really going to happen? Really? I remember going home from the hospital after giving birth to Ariel and thinking, "These people are actually letting me take her home? Don't they know I don't have a clue about this mothering thing?"
So I fear the CCAA will say, "We've made a mistake. You can't adopt the happiest baby in China. We're giving you a 13 year old boy, instead." (not that there's anything wrong with 13 year old boys, mind you).
I imagine everyone else who's four days away from travel is ecstatic and at peace. Am I the only one who is losing her mind? It would be a good thing for a shoe to drop on my head. Maybe the ensuing brain trauma would snap me out of this anxious state!!
Travel arrangements? Booked. Paperwork? Ready. Diapers? Bottles? Baby clothes? Have 'em. Formula? Got it. Packing? Um.... in progress. Travel insurance? Bought it. Car seats? Ready to be installed. Medication for trip? Got it. Credit cards? They know we're going to China. Internet? They know we're going to China. Skype? Downloaded. Cheerios & protein bars? We'll buy them right before we leave. My state of mind? Calm. Excited. Anxious. Antsy. Confident.
I can't believe it. We leave two weeks from today!! Well, we technically leave on the 29th (Kavanna's birthday!) since our plane leaves at 1:20 in the morning. But we're arriving at the airport on Tuesday night, so I'm going with that.
Suddenly it seems there are tons of things to do. I need to get travel insurance, travel medical insurance. I need to figure out how to get a ton of necessary (or so I think) items into our suitcases. I need to buy Cheerios and soy formula (we're bringing both soy and regular and will see what Miss K likes best). We have to call the credit card companies and AT&T and tell them we'll be in China. And... and... and... so much else.
I'm beyond ready to travel. And I also feel woefully unprepared!
You know how some people hate hearing their voices recorded because they don't sound like themselves? Well, once I start talking while simultaneously holding a camcorder in my hands, I apparently turn into a big giant dork. I keep thinking, "Who is that screechy, high-pitched strange woman? Oh... c'est moi." Well, I guess I'll just keep being goofy because I'm not going to stop recording our journey. Is this a blogging phenomenon or is it just me?
We've been getting together with other waiting parents in our area for a few years... some of us are no longer waiting... It was so great to see all the babies (and big kids, too) at our tables. Thanks to Di and Dave for organizing the event - and to all the new moms and dad who let us hold their beautiful babies!
I love this thing. It's tiny and portable... and you plug it right into the computer to download video. Soon I'll be using it to film Miss Kavanna!! It's completely unedited (sorry) but it's my practice run.
Weird Freudian thing: when I start talking I say we're in "Ariel's room" but it's obviously Kavanna's room!! What's going on with my mind? Oh, I know. It's already in China.
Although she doesn't know it, Kavanna is waiting for us, just as we're waiting for her. She's on the other side of the world, about 6000 miles away and soon (ahem, a relative term) we'll be together.
I had to put our happy girl at the top of the blog. I've been a frustrated mommy of late (feeling powerless is not fun) and looking at her face makes me smile. I hope she makes you smile, too.
Today Di and I got to meet our friend Val's daughter Milana, who she just adopted from Russia. Milana is such a sweet, active, adorable little girl. It was really striking what a perfect fit Milana is for Val and her family... There's a Hebrew word called b'sheret, which loosely translated means soulmate - but it doesn't have to be romantic. It can also mean "meant to be." Milana is definitely meant for Val... and I know in my heart that Kavanna is meant for us... it is b'sheret that we belong together.
For everyone out there who's still waiting... for referral, CA, TA or an I-171H or 1-800 or anything... I feel your pain. May you be united with your b'sheret very soon. Big hugs to all!!