Sunday, January 31, 2010

Today is the big day!

We arrived here in Nanning last night about 7:15.  It was obvious before we hit the ground that I underestimated the temperature here and should have packed more short sleeves.  It was 75 degrees fahrenheit in the evening.  The air is warm and humid and smells sweet. 
In a few minutes we're heading for Walmart.  Did you know they're everywhere?  We need to get some bottled water and a few other things.  Of course, once we get Yingying we'll probably need to go back and pick up some more.  
Before we left Beijing we had our new guide Belinda read the characters for Yingying's name and say it for us.   OH, NO!!!! We've been saying it all wrong.  It's more like Shuhng, Yoon Yoon(said very rapidly!)  I've kind of fallen in love with Yingying.  I'm not sure I'm wild about Kaitlyn Yoon.  Relief and more relief when our Nanning guide David said that we actually have it pretty close to accurate.  I think he's planning to teach us a few Chinese phrases this morning.  Good thing.  I don't think "hello, stranger" and "I DON'T want it" will get me very far with Yingying.
God has blessed us so much this trip.  Our travel mates in Beijing were SO much fun!  (Ask me sometime about "Burnis" but make sure I've had plenty of sleep first)  Our travel mates here in Nanning are fellow believers from Arkansas. 
At three we go to the CAB (Civil Affairs Bureau) to meet our daughter.  We appreciate your continued prayer as Yingying adjusts to a new life. 
To be continued.........   

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Last day in Beijing

Charlotte told us that in northern China they have a saying, "In the south they eat everything with legs but the table and everything with wings but an airplane."  N. China has some interesting choices, too.  We had real Chinese food yesterday and are acquiring the are of using chopsticks.  Too bad they don't provide a bib to go with them.  We saw many interesting choices waiting to be cooked at the Food Market: scorpions, squid, silk worms, venison, kelp, snake on a stick....along with more "normal" choices.  We ate at a resteraunt instead using the point and smile method of ignorance ordering.  Two minutes later a big black fish wiggling in a net was brought for our approval.  Fifteen minutes later he appeared on our table covered in unfamiliar vegetables except for the black fungus (mushrooms) and peanuts.  The trail mix Kenton didn't want me to bring filled in some gaps.  He told me, "I think when we have an opportunity to eat western, we probably should.  I'd like to survive."  Boy, has the leopard changed his spots!  

The free market was an interesting experience in using one of two phrases in Chinese I now can say, "hello, stranger" and "I DON'T want it!"  People literally grabbed us by the arm and coaxed us to buy  Louis Vuitton, Coach, cashmere, silk, electronics, etc.  I'd pull away from one persistant salesperson to be confronted with two more.  At one point I had one on each side pulling and saying, "Lady, don't listen her, I give you better deal!"  I rapidly learned three things: DO NOT make eye contact, move fast, and get out while you still have money.

Beijing is a beautiful city.  At night many of the big buildings are lit up brighter than Christmas trees.  People are constantly least the visible parts.   Some of the architecture is breathtaking.  Apartment buildings abound.  The Chinese people have been overall lovely.  

With 15 million people, the driving is a nightmare.  Our guide says she faces backwards in the van so she doesn't have to watch.  Buese, electric trams, taxis, police cars with flashing lights, bicycles, and pedestrians are everywhere.  amazingly, the cars are miraculously unscathed....We checked!

We have been blessed with great traveling mates.  Marie, her brother Matt, and stepfather Herb have added a huge dose of laughter and fun to our adventure.  

The time difference has been much harder to acclimate to than I thought it would be.  Surely if you're tired enough a person can sleep.  Not the case for us.  

Today we fly to Nanning in Guangxi province.  It's about a 3.5 hour flight.   Tomorrow afternoon we get Yingying.  We've enjoyed our time in Beijing, but we are ready to meet our new daughter.  Charlotte warned us that she has probably been spoiled by her foster family because they know she is leaving.  

The little children are adorable and obviously the apple of their parents and grandparents eyes.  Kenton tried to take a picture of one yesterday at the Forbidden City.  Grandma tried to pose her, but she took one look at himer, screamed, tried to bolt, and eyed him balefully from daddy's arms from there on.  I wonder how Yingying will do.....


Friday, January 29, 2010

It was quite the day.

Random thoughts on the day.....
Breakfast-the usual fare, plus rice, congee, vegetables, dim sum, chicken sausage, (greenish) preserved eggs, salted (more than green olives)eggs, fish steak, etc.  The food is very good.  Although, maybe we're having Chinese with an American slant.

Great Wall-  INCREDIBLE - the view, the height, the length, the agony of all those steps.  Up, up, up is understandably painful.  Down  should be a picnic.  After all, winding those muscles on way on the up, up, up, they should be just unwinding going in reverse, right?  Not so.  My newly accordion-pleated knee muscles were ready to be returned to the hotel for "pressing" after our descent.  A picture does not begin to show the sharp incline (some places 45 degrees).  Easily a 1500 foot rise in elevation.  We actually saw a couple of women in heals doing it.....did not see them at the top.  : )  Steps tended to be standard height, but some were two inches and others were 14.  Caution was required while descending.

Jade - saw many different colors of jade.  (Did you know agates are in the jade family?)  Intersting to hear how much meaning and symbolism is represented in some of the objects.

Cloisonne Factory - "Factory" conveys mechanized system of production to me.  Factory in terms of cloisonne is not an accurate picture.  Each little piece of sopper was cut, shaped, mounted, and painted with enamel by hand.  The paint and firing process is repeated until the enamel is even with the copper wire, then polished smooth.  The amount of time lavished on a standard size vase is phenomenal.

Olympic Park -  I've seen the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube in person.  (Sorry to gloat but I still can't believe we're in China.)

Charlotte our guide is terrific!  She anticipates our needs, warns us when to use the only available "western" toilet around (as opposed to squatty potties), shares interesting tidbits, knows everything(or so it seems to us!), and graciously deals with all situations.

The kids at home are doing great.  Grandma bought them goldfish and a tank so that will probably keep them happy until the first one kicks the bucket and needs to be flushed.  And we all know the lifespan of goldfish......

Sorry we are unable to post pictures.  The wisdom of Solomen should be prevent you from asking to see our pictures unless you have a week to spare.  :D

Two funny things:  The cleaning supply room is labeled "sterilization room."   
                               We saw this "catapult" attached to bungee cords maybe 100 feet high.   It came with recommendations like "personal accident insurance is recommended"  and "people with heart disease, hypertension, pregnancy and mental illness prohibited (mental illness would be a blessing!)" and "in case of electrical or mechanical failure, do not panic.  Our trained employees will get you down. (We have no doubt!  It's the rate of descent that concerns us!)

I've heard people say that they were so glad they could skip the Beijing portion of the trip.  While we are eagerly looking forward to the advent of Kaitlyn, it has been really special to learn more first hand about her homeland.  This portion of the trip with a two-year-old would be totally different.  Think....bull in a jade and cloisonne factory.  The Great Wall would have been a picture instead of an experience.  

One thing that stands out to us is the depth of culture here.  It makes us realize how "new" the USA is in contrast to the thousands of years of history behind Chinese civilization.  


Thursday, January 28, 2010

We're in China

We arrived in Beijing yesterday about 3:30p.m. local time after a wonderfully uneventful but horribly long and massively uncomfortable trip over the north pole.  We didn't see Santa, sorry!
Today we go to see the Great Wall and the Olympic Park.  Can't wait!  Of course, with the time difference we have been up since 1:00a.m. local time so hopefully we don't sleep through it.  ; P

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's......

Off to China we go. Doubtless blogging five hours before we leave is questionable, but I wanted to leave you with a picture of WHO is worth it all.I've never felt so blessed by so many. From luggage, babysitting, snacks for the trip, rides to the airport, BTDT wisdom from many Faith families and RQers, to offers to help keep our farm up and milking while my knight in farmer armor is absent and a love gift and support from our church family. But most importantly, thanks to those who are praying for Yingying's heart to find a forever family. God is faithful.
The kids are here at home with my mom and dad. I hope two weeks of spoiling doesn't ruin them forever. ;P My dad hasn't had such an opportunity to soak in the country aroma of manure in 40 years. His hands will be soft as a baby's when he heads back to the paper mill. Nothing like getting back to your roots to help you appreciate how far you've come. : D Mom will be busy remodeling. She can now work on my house without supervision or limitations....her dream come true.
We'll be in Beijing(think TianAnMen Square, Olympic Park, and the Great Wall) until Sunday when we fly to Nanning, Guangxi. Monday afternoon (February 1) we get Yingying. We'll be in her province until February 5 when we fly to Guangzhou(where the US consulate is). We'll be staying at the Victory until the end of our trip. Then off to Hong Kong, fly to Chicago, fly to Pittsburgh, drive home..........and clicking your heels together three times and "I wish I was home" never sounded so good.
Hopefully, our next post will be from CHINA. WooooHoooooo!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How 'bout a picture?

 Let's try this, too!  Can I send a picture?

If it works, this is a picture of something I haven't had time for in the past week and a half.  We are all ready for the adoption commotion to be over with and, most importantly, for Yingying to be home.

Trying the e-mail function

I understand blogger is blocked in China.  So, here's my at-home attempt to see if I can use e-mail to get it to work.  Three cheers if it works!  : )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Three kids ready for church.....AND time to take a picture. This never happens.

Fun in the snow. Their goal was to chop this snow pile in half. Mission accomplished.
I just love this picture of Davis. He was running to show me what he had done in nursery school.
Wow! I'm kind of shocked at this picture. Megan has her hair combed and the house is fairly neat. This doesn't happen very often. ; )

Finally, Yingying's quilt is FINISHED! I don't advise trying to finish a quilt just days before traveling to China. Planning in advance is recommended. However, it is done and I am happy with the way it turned out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Becoming a family of six

Our family at Crooked Lake last summer! Naturally, Murphy's law dictated that two days after I ordered this we found out that we are adding to our family......FINALLY!

Jamison, Megan, and Davis: waiting to be a group of four (meaning: Kenton and I will be seriously outnumbered!) Wendy and Natalie Guingrich made these pajamas for them for Christmas. They even made one for........
Sheng Ying Ying. She's grown in our hearts over the last 3 1/2 years. It's been a long wait and we are so ready to be a family of six. She's currently living in Guangxi, China. We leave January 27 to finish the process of making her ours. After cherishing the above picture for last six months we got these updated pictures last week.
Her referral information said that she's smiley, energetic, sometimes obstinate, and her favorite thing is to be outside with her foster mom. She should fit in with our gang just great! :D
Smiley she might be....but we haven't seen it yet. We can't wait to bring home Kaitlyn Ying. She's been through a lot in her 26 months and we'd value your prayers as we become her forever family and she learns to trust that we will never leave her.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I guess it's time.....

I've really enjoyed reading the blogs of others so I guess it's time to do a little sharing again of my own.