Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Last Day in Guangzhou - 1.18.12

Typical shopping day at the market

One of the oldest buildings in Guangzhou

Yummy Scorpions!

Inside the White Swan Hotel



Sophie took this picture!

First Swing Experience 

It's bittersweet!  It's our last day here in Guangzhou and we will be taking the train to Hong Kong.  We absolutely loved this city.  It was the perfect marriage of old Eastern charm and modern western feel.  There is so much to do and see here.   As we say goodbye to this part of our journey we are also very happy to be closer to our journey home.  As much as we love to travel it's always so nice to go home!  We look forward to seeing our family.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goodbye Xining, Hello Guangzhou! - 1.15.12

Emma our guide in Xining
His medical Exam (not happy)



Shaiman Island (great shopping)


Our guide Kelly in Guangzhou

Big Sister Sophie!

Big CHEESE!

Chen Temple Built in the Early 1800's



Chen Temple used for Ceremonies


We finally made it to Guangzhou and it's our kind of City!  Our hotel is amazing especially compared to where we were last.  We are staying at the China Hotel, a Marriott Hotel.  It's very modern and clean and NOT smoke filled.  Most of the staff speaks English and it seems the hotel is filled with other couples who have adopted.  It's somewhat strange but comforting at the same time. 

Today we did some shopping.  Within the Chen Temple there were little shops that had painting and calligraphy items.  When a child in China begins school it is customary to give him/her a stamp set.  We also went to a porcelain shop and purchased a tea set.  The Chinese tradition for when your son gets married is to give him the tea set as a wedding gift. 

Tomorrow we will be going to the Pearl District and also a tea shop that will do a traditionally tea tasting.  We are really having a good time here hanging out with another couple from South Carolina.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Visit to a Buddhist Tibetan Temple 1.12.12

 Outside the Longevity Temple
View of one of the temples

The gold roofed Temple is the main one



Make a wish!


Today we took a 30 minute drive to a Tibetan Buddhist Temple outside of the city of Xining to an elevation of at least 8,500 above sea level, which also meant that it was even more cold and it was already 1pm by the time we arrived.  There was fresh snow still laying around.  We definitely knew were outside of the big city.  It looked very rural and the people living there looked different than those who lived in the city.  They looked more traditional Tibetan or native like.  Many were monks who lived in the temple.   It was a scene from the many Chinese Kung Fu movies my brothers and I used to watch.

The temple is made up of many buildings sprawled out along the hillside.  The temple was built in 1357!  It's hard to put into words what really awed us!  Once inside the temple we aren't allowed to take any photos.  There were quite a few people touring the facility.  It was strange that there was a mix of new and old together.  We had to purchase tickets and inside this large room there was a modern ticket booth enclosed in glass with a monk sitting behind handing us a DVD that was cased in a cover with barcodes.  These barcodes were scanned at each temple that we entered, which made it seem so weird.  The smells of incense, sounds of a drum used during prayer and traditional monk attire were so authentic, then there was a computerized scanner at the entrance.  At each temple alter there is an area for donations.  And seeing some of the cars that these monks drive, I'd say they were making a pretty good living!

We did enjoy our day today and were glad that we got to see where our little Dash came from.  He pointed a lot to different things.  He especially loved the large cylinders that were made of copper and or wood that spin and aligned a lot of the buildings.  These spinning cylinders are used for wishes. Now we are off to Guangzhou on Friday and arrive at 10:00 PM.  We have Dashell's doctor appointment first thing Saturday morning and the rest of the day to explore, rest and enjoy a new adventure!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 4 with Dash

video
This is the first day we received him!

 
Day 4 and it's getting better with him.  He's beginning to recognize his name when called and loves his big sister.  Daddy is slowly getting there.  Dash finally let him hold him without crying yesterday.  Greg is staying steadfast and will not give up on him.  He at least smiles at Greg and when he laughs, his entire face squishes up and all you can see are his little teeth.  I know he's my son, but I have to say he is sooo darn adorable!

Today we are going to visit one of the oldest Muslim temples in the city.  There are a lot of Muslims here and only one white guy, Greg!  It's been quite the experience and we're enjoying it.  Dash really enjoys going into the car and seeing the city.  He's taking it all in and points at different things.

Soph is a great big sister.  Dash and her are playing well together, it's so cute.  I can't believe what a great little traveller Soph turned out to be.  We can't wait for our next trip to our next destination in China, Guangzhou.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Official - 1.10.12

Civial Affairs Clerk makes it official with adoption documents

Today was a better day!  We're figuring out some sort of routine as much as possible.  He sleeps really well through the evening and loves to eat!  He definitely is matched with the right family when it comes to eating good food.  We think he's feeling more comfortable around us and doesn't cry as much.  He does seem a bit disoriented when he awakes from a nap and is always looking for me.  Overall he is a very good baby, just don't make him mad when he wants his way.  He'll learn eventually. 

We have the rest of the day to hang out in the hotel.  He's walking around with a chocolate face right now.  Will be putting him down for a nap shortly.  Wednesday and Thursday will be free days for us to explore.  It's really cool during this time of year as they are decorating for the Chinese New Year. Lots to see and do. 


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gotcha Day - 1.9.12

 Not a happy camper!
He kept pointing to the door because he wanted to be outside.



He started to feel more comfortable with us.

Poor little Dash had a really rough morning.  He didn't want to go to any of us, but we stayed on it and I held him until he almost fell asleep.  Then the door opened and he started crying again.  There was another couple from Spain who was adopting a little girl with an upper cleft lip and she too was crying her little head off.  I felt so bad for both of the little one's.  I think that Dash was really concerned about the other little girl because he kept looking for her.  I started crying a little bit because I just couldn't help him.  He kept pointing to the door and to the other Chinese men in the room.  He seems to really take to the men.  In a way it's comforting to know that he had bonded with someone and that's why he's crying.  He looks very healthy, no scabies, very clean, lots of layered clothing and very healthy lungs!  

As soon as we went outside, he stopped crying.  Later we gave him some water and food then he was completely fine. That is until we went to take a family photo at the studio.  He started crying again as soon as he saw the other little girl and at this point he wouldn't stop.  The photographer, a male Chinese, carried him and of course he stopped crying.  That little rascal!  The photo is for legal documents.  Eventually they had to take a separate photo of Greg and I then they took one of him with the photographer holding him and photo shopped Dash's picture with ours. 

Once the photos were done we stopped to grab lunch.  Greg and our guide went out to purchase the food while Sophie, Dash and I stayed behind and waited in the van.  That's when Dash's little personality came out.  He actually started laughing and smiling at Sophie and me.  That was the best feeling ever.  Especially when he would belly laugh so hard he would then rest his little cheek on my chest.  That was it, I was completely putty.  I'm in LOVE!

Now we're back in the room and he's sound asleep along with the rest of the fam.  Pray that the rest of the evening goes as well! 

It's Amazing Here! 01.09.12

Entrance to Forbidden City
This is where all the Emperors Lived

The back of Greg's Head and the entrance to the last section built of the Great Wall






Sophie Made a new friend, Libby (age 6) adopted from China 5 years ago


The day before yesterday was a full day of touring Tienanmen Square, The Forbidden City, and of course the tour wouldn't be complete without seeing  and walking the steps of the Great Wall.  The tour guide took us to the last section built which was completed approximately 400 years ago.  Imagine that!  The Wall began construction 400 to 500 BC.  Crazy isn't it! 

Needless to say, we really enjoyed the rich history of China and we met 2 other couples and their families.  One couple had adopted a 10 year old girl and they joined us for the tour before they left home to Wisconsin.  The other couple started their journey the same day as us.  They are adopting a little 2.5 year old boy with albinism.  Yesterday we both left the hotel at the same time to fly to our perspective provinces where our sons await for us.  We look forward to seeing them again when we fly into Guanghzou.

Today, is Monday, 1/9 and we can't sleep with the excitement.  We will be leaving the hotel at 8:30am to pick up our son at the Civil Affairs office.  Poor little guy was removed from his foster family to somehow ease the transition for us to receive him.  We arrived in his city, Xining, yesterday afternoon.  Our guide Emma is wonderful.  She gave us a lot of history of this small city.  The name Xining means Peaceful West.  It's a small city that isn't used to seeing foreigners.  They stare at us quite a bit especially at Greg.  I don't think they've ever seen a tall white guy in person.  We slept most of the day and evening which was much needed.  We will keep you posted with new pictures of our little boy.  We can barely contain ourselves!