Saturday, May 31, 2008

The next day in China

So we got to the. Wall yesterday happy for lift to the top and we
didn't have to climb 1k stairs. It was like going to Grand Canyon
felt like I was in a post card. Was a long day but very fun. DD1
has made friends with one of the girls on the trip. And they are
having so much fun together.

At the great wall DD1 wanted a Chinese dress. I bargained with the
lady till she was frowning. That must mean I paid the right price. NOT!

On the way back we saw Cloisonné Factory it was neat. Every
thing here seems to have special meaning and symbolism. They also dragged us to a Hutong. If you added a bathroom I would love it. As there is no potty in the actual home... But plenty latrine style just down the street,very clean 4 holes no waiting and NO privacy!. NO i really mean no privacy.. no walls, ladies chatting to each other as they go about their daily business. DD1 really had to go so off we went to a local squatty potty it took her a bit to get over everyone staring at her. Everyone is into everyone else’s business, and they seem to like it that way.

Cloisonné is dying out in China it's not a well paid job. And craftmenship is falling in quality as the people are retiring and not passing on this skill set. The ladies do the layering of color on to the brass and the men do the rough work of sanding the pieces down with rocks not sand paper! And putting the pieces in to the fire. It is said the men can not layer the color, they don't have the mental stability to do it the same day in and day out. lol

We had great food some of the other families wouldn't eat it cause they dared not get sick on this trip. White Rice for them more sweet and sour mystery meat for me.. no one ate the eye of the carp. Weird Americans leaving the best part of the meal on the table.

Pan (its not a typo) our guide told me China has lost the knowledge of how to make the huge blue and white ceramic pots of old. When they try to recreate was was made before they never achieve the same level of quality. This knowledge was truly lost due to the cultural revolution

First day in china

some notes from my trip..
We are having breakfast. DD1 is happy they have waffles. And I made
her try leechee fruit. But I wouldn't let her eat fried noodles for
breakfast. Dad is trying his limited Chinese much to the amusement of the staff. DD1 likes the leechees.
Our flight from Chicago got cancelled but we got here via San Francisco thank God we are here only the 2 flights per day I guess.
I was brain dead to think it was San Diego. Oi too many saints!
Well were finishing our kaifi and cha, and were gonna go find a place to visit all on our own..

We went to a huge park built in 1750 or so during the Qing dynasty.
DD1 is a real trooper she gets lots of stares I been telling her to
stare right back but to smile. So far 2 people have asked for her
picture. Everyone is fascinated by her but she just takes it as her

We did have trouble getting a taxi back but a very nice man helped us
flag one down. Language really is 90 percent body language we have
been using our minimal Chinese to good effect.

When we were at the park DD1 had to go potty. Sure glad I had her
practice. She still put her hands on the really gross bathroom floor eeeewwwww. Sure glad she is still on antibiotics.

Hotel is super nice and super expensive so we walked 10 min and found a mall. KFC anyone lol. We went to South Beauty restaurant. I had smoked Duck hard to eat with chopsticks, it still had all its bones! and the fat layer was 3/8 ths of an inch thick in places. Tasted like bacon but better. DD1 Loved the dumplings. They were
super good. And the bill was less than half of what we paid at hotel
and way more fun. The restaurant staff Gave DD1 two fairy tales in chinese and english. The stories weren't exactly right but close enough. and the illustrations were more chinese looking.

Monday, May 19, 2008


A few months ago DD and I went to Calaoway's to get seeds and plants for our garden. I picked up peppers, tomatos, some herbs and packages of seeds. While there I saw these lovely lily bulbs. I really miss my Star Gazer Lily's.

I had bought them at the Toronto garden show years and years ago. I had planted them at home in a pot, because in NY they tend to die if you keep them outside all winter long. Ariel came home that year and when the plant got to the point of being about to flower, DD snapped the bud off. I was sad but I was still ok with it. The bulb got huge!, and the next year it flowered. It had multiple flowers on it and the flowers were 7-10 inches across. I had to leave these flowers behind In New York. I didn't know if I would get a garden at the apartment complex, or if we would ever be in a house again.

I had left my Lilies in good hands, but as I was passing the display with all the summer flowering bulbs in it, I though I should get some. “Build a lily garden now for DD2.” Live in the expectation of her arrival. So later on in her life when her garden is full of many kinds of lilies I can say to her I bought these when you lived in China. I knew you would be home before they bloomed, and I would be able to share them with you.

I know it may seem like a small decision but Lily bulbs were 8-16$ DD and I had to choose what plants we had already picked out could be sacrificed. So one pepper plant went back and a pot of herbs, one of DD's flowering plants was replaced with a package of seeds. And I put back one perennial. Finally we had enough left in the budget to get the bulbs. It was the first thing we planted when we got home.

What a beautiful picture it is to me. You know inside every bulb is a flower its already formed just waiting to finish growing. It just needs to be planted, for the sun to warm the soil, and the rain to water it.

How faithful God is, I have had such peace this last week. I should have been upset but instead God gave me a deep assurance. Last Friday we got an email saying our trip had been set up to go to China! We had approval to travel.
We needed to get our visas and tickets etc. Well By Tuesday we had another email saying “Don’t travel” they haven’t posted your approved paperwork at the US consulate in Guangzhou.
A rock and a hard place position.
If we canceled our trip it could cost 500$. If we go we could get stuck in China for an indefinite period of time. So suddenly it looks like were in for a disappointment. We pursue our paperwork trying to find out where it is. Many phone calls and emails later we find out it’s missing, it is as if the USICS immigration office never sent it. I’m praying about it but I’m finding myself not getting all worked up about it. I really felt like God was saying wait 2 days, and watch and see.. So I did, the guy at adoption agency confirmed it when he said “You don’t have to make a decision yet. We will talk on Friday.” So I called various offices and asked for their assistance. The travel guy said I could try but not to get my hopes up. So long story short, What can take up to 4 weeks for man to do. God got it done in 48 hours. By Friday our missing paperwork was in place in Guangzhou.

So late in May will be traveling to China and we will receive into our family DD2, s With much love and joy, we wait in anticipation for this 4th member of our family to join us.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Say cheese, and keep your eyes open!

So here goes.. last week we got notified that the chinese government says its ok for us to travel. We got thrilled and happy excited paranoid all at the same time. After a few days of getting everything together. prepping visa stuff etc.. getting psychotic photos of DD taken.. I shall digress because its so stinking funny.

Why is it that when you need a demure photo of your child, so you can look that chinese official in the eye and confirm that yes she is mine and so good.. that is when your child chooses to look crazy, tilts her head and laughs out loud. And when the photographer who can't be older than 17 keeps saying
"are you ready?" (child looks great eyes open, nice smile)
"three" (child's head starts to tilt starts burping giggles)
"two" (child face starts to puff out as they withhold laughter)
"one" (child closes eyes while braying like a donkey)
17 year old then snaps photo...
rinse and repeat 10 more times.. till child is so worked up the only photo with her eyes open.... is the one where she looks ready for a rubber room. *sigh*
Exit mom with unacceptable photo in hand but really what can I do? At this point its not going to get any better, only worse.
Ok digression over with ..

So were planning on travel and we get an advisory *don't travel* the embassy in Guangzhou doesn't have your updated paperwork.
ok practice *deep breathing* DH calls the guy at Adoption agency.. DH is still in never never land ( wee were gonna travel) and really doesn't hear what the travel guy is saying. DH pursues tickets with a single mindedness akin to a pit bull.

Then DH gives me the job of calling the national visa center. Now you can talk to a real person from 8 am-12 am weekdays. but be forwarned they don't let you camp on hold... no if you don't get anyone your call gets dropped. And my stinking redial won't work because I have to punch in all these numbers .. hit 1 for english hit 2 for spanish etc..
so after about 2 hours of dialing and beginning to comprehend the spanish message that says "I'm sorry all our operators are busy now."

Finally I get a nice sweet lady who tells me my paper work is missing and I have to have the USICS ( who has not been very helpful) email the paperwork again.. Our hopes for traveling in May dwindle. So I accept the facts and move on with my life. "Gotcha Day" may have to wait. It's ok... later that day I see a forwarded email from DH saying the USICS has responded very quickly and has already emailed the paperwork.. I also have received a email from the national visa center saying my paperwork was sent to Guangzhou!!! November 2 years ago, wait it was sent when... November 2 years ago a whole second of heart racing. ahh well that is expired like the can of whipped cream in my fridge. .. but then I think what can it hurt to reply to this email and ask... they can only say no right???
So I sent a nice "I know you work so hard" email back asking them "if they could do anything... it would be greatly appreciated". Thus the saying goes, you really do catch more flies with honey..

Bingo in my email today my paper work has been sent on to Guangzhou. weird thing was God was talking to me in the car on the way home.. hey check your email no really... go check it.. I got a surprize for you.. My heart didn't even race cause I was expecting it. =))
so I called the travel guy at adoption agency "hey does this mean we can buy tickets?? can we keep our travel dates?? huh?? huh?? well maybe.. ROFL gotta love it ---->>>MAYBE<-----We will call tomorrow and see how this journey ends..

P.S. I went to another place to get DD's photos retaken (Would you have returned to the 17 year old???) and amazingly the 30 year old mom didn't say 3.2.1 go.. but snapped the picture the minute she opened her eyes. and insisted on taking the psychotic photos (would have been great for blackmailing purposes) from the day before as an exchange even tho I didn't buy them from that store..