Saturday, July 19, 2008

Goodbye Nanchang-- Hello Guangzhou

We left Nanchang bright and early Saturday morning so packing needed to be done Friday night. I got out the suitcases and put them on the bed. I went into the bathroom to pack some things and this is what I found when I came out.

Yes, that would be 2 of my little monkeys IN one suitcase and the other climbing on another. They were having so much fun I let them play a little bit longer before I kicked them out so I could fill the suitcase with items and not children.

We had to have our suitcases out in the hallway ready to be picked up by 7:30.

I laid the children's clothes out the night before so I only had to wake them up and get them dressed. Notice that the clothes are in the crib the hotel provided. That would be because no one sleeps in the crib. In fact, this is what my bed looked like on Friday night:

Where do I sleep? Exactly my question! Julia was soon kicked out of the bed. Yeah, I know I was left with tons of space, huh? Try as I might I never could convince any of my kids that it would be a great idea to sleep in the crib. If the crib were just a little bit longer and a wee bit softer I might sleep in there myself!

I woke the kids up about 6:45. Its funny how different they all are. Julia is slow to wake up and and drags her feet to get ready. Jenna wakes up, hops out of bed and does what needs to be done. I know its early to tell about Ryan but so far he doesn't appear to be a morning person. When he wakes up on his own he lays in bed for 10-15 minutes, usually with his eyes closed and opening them every so often. He could just be hoping when he opens his eyes his life will go back to what he used to know but I am suspecting its just how he is. This morning when I woke him up he didn't like it at all! He didn't out and out cry but fussing and whimpering was involved. But soon they were all dressed, clothes packed, bags in the hall and down to breakfast.

Jenna and Ryan at breakfast. They are all usually good breakfast eaters but this morning none of them seemed very hungry.

Soon it was time to meet in the lobby.

Our last picture of Evelyn. She's holding Emma. She really loved Emma. I'm sure when she heard she was getting a single mom bringing 3 kids ages 11, 5 and 12 months who was adopting a 2 year old that she thought it was a disaster in the making. But all the kids did very well, Jenna and Emma charmed many a heart, and we didn't turn out to be a huge burden.

Our group really appreciated Evelyn. She was wonderful representative, very friendly, very informative and always helpful. We were all very sad to leave her behind.

Yes its blurry but its the front of the hotel taken from the moving bus. Goodbye Jin Feng Hotel!

After a 40 minute drive to the airport, Evelyn checked us all in and then we said goodbye as we went through security. Evelyn had said they were strict but it was almost funny. I walked through the machine and it went off and I thought "I never set off the machine!" So they wanded me and everything set it off. The button on my pants, my bra hooks, maybe even the pins in my little finger! Then they searched my backpack and found a little calculator which they sent back through the xray machine. Finally I was cleared to go.

The sign at our gate announcing our flight. It was actually running about 20 minutes late so I think we ended up leaving around 10:30 or so.

Waiting in the airport. Brooke, Ashley, Shannon holding Grace, and Jim.

Here is Mom, Julia holding Emma, Shannon and Penny holding Norah. Jenna and Ryan are crouching by the stroller in front. This was huge progress for Ryan! To be in a very public place and feel comfortable enough to not have me hold him and to play was amazing! Progress every day!

More Jenna and Ryan playing with the stroller. They both think its a great toy.

Finally we boarded and Ryan did NOT like sitting in his own seat. Emma was on my lap and he kept looking at her like "Why do you get to sit there and I can't?" But soon he was distracted and even fell asleep.

When we landed we were met by our new representative, Grace, who put us on a bus and sent us to the Victory Hotel.

There are two places to stay in Guangzhou when you are adopting and both are on a very small island where the US consulate used to be until a couple of years ago, Shamian Island. The traditional place is the White Swan Hotel. This is where we stayed when we adopted Jenna. It is a 5 star hotel and very beautiful but Darrell and I didn't like it very much. The rooms are small, the beds are hard and the restaurants are very expensive. The Victory Hotel is almost as nice and is almost half the price. In fact for the price of a regular White Swan room I got a suite at the Victory.

Drama Queen Julia enhancing the entrance to our room.

The living room area. There is so much space for the kids to get down on the floor and play. I am so glad I got the suite! They were literally rolling around on the floor.

The bedroom area. Everyone else says their bed is soft but mine seems to be pretty hard. I guess that's the price I pay for the extra space. Wait, I thought I got extra space because I paid more...

After we got checked in and got our luggage it was off to lunch.

All our families are on the 5th floor so Penny and our family were waiting for Jim, Shannon and Ashley by the 5th floor elevators. While we waited Norah demonstrated her new skill-- walking! She's taking several steps and seems quite pleased with herself.

Soon we were on our way and our destination was the famous Lucy's Bar and Grill. Its so funny, I have been here before, although it was 4 years ago, so I have been there before but its only someplace the other families have heard about.

Emma and her friend Grace eating lunch. The was the first time Grace sat in a high chair without crying. However, she didn't want to sit there either and kept trying to stand up. Oh well, take what you can get, I guess. We had a wonderful and delicious western style lunch.

After lunch on the way back to the hotel we saw this:

This couple was getting their photos taken. The bride was amused that I was taking her picture. There is a photography studio on the island and we saw quite a few brides, grooms and women in formal were getting their photos taken in various places.

I have to admit that the island is a beautiful setting to have photos taken. I'll try to show you why tomorrow.


Sherri said...

So glad you all made it to Guangzhou safely! LOVE the suitcase picture - what funny and curious little children! And also love "progress every day." It does sound like Ryan is doing well.
Thanks as always for the photos!

Andy said...

Wonderful pictures of the family especially the one of all of you on the bed. Yes, the Victory Hotel was quite nice and we felt that we got better value for our money. The only thing about the Victory that really got to me were those Japanese style beds. They are sooooo loooow to the floor. Don't forget to see my gift shop and tell them that the big boss who stopped by during June said that you will get a really good discount. There is a new resturant down the street call Western Station. A good place for a nice change. By the way, you will really enjoy the air-conditioning at the new American Consulate office and the Consulate Officer is really a great guy and he will give everyone a very warm and personal welcome.
All the best and we'll be praying for you for your travel home. Let us know if you plan to fly through DFW airport on the way home.

Team Houston said...

Have fun in Guangzhou.

I love it there and all of the shops.

Enjoy every minute. Looks like you guys are making memories to have forever.

Take care, Michele

Donna said...

Aw, Guangzhou! It was such a welcome site after 6 days at the Jin Feng, where we also stayed. Enjoy your remaining time! And keep all the cute pics coming...they are all adorable!

mom to Lena & Macey

Fredericksburg Parent Magazine said...

Glad you are in GZ safe and sound. It is great to see Ryan smiling and playing with his siblings. So much progress every day.

You are in the homestretch now. Enjoy your next few days!!!