Well, We’ve finally figured out how to get free Internet access, and have a few spare minutes to give a decent update. We left Memphis Wednesday morning at 6 A.M. sharp. The plane we flew on was TINY! There were tow seats on the left side of the pane, and just one on the right. The flight was uneventful, and then we were on to Chicago. We landed in Chicago and had breakfast around 8:15 that morning. The choices were few, so it was a Chicago style hot dog for me! Once we boarded the flight for China, we really had a good ride over. Let me just say that even still 14 hours on a plane is BRUTAL! By the time we arrived in China, we were all very thankful just to be standing and walking around! On the flight over we managed to stay awake mostly, and watched several movies including The Wrath of the Titans, Hunger Games, and The Italian Job. We were fed two meals and a snack, that consisted of enough junk food to make a full meal. The airport in Beijing was hot, but thankfully a new customs line opened up soon after we got in line and we got through in less than 20 minutes. Once we made it to baggage it was much cooler. After baggage we managed to meet several other families with CCAI and our CCAI rep, George.
After checking in to our hotel, we walked across the street with another family and had Chinese. It was really quite good, and very inexpensive. We then went down pedestrian street, and through the night vendor area where we saw ALL manner of food sold on sticks. When we finally got back to our hotel room, we’d been up nearly 45 hours, so we grabbed a quick shower and hit the sack! Unfortunately my sinus infection is now in full swing, and I’m feeling pretty rotten. Greg however is doing much better than I expected. We had a bit of bad luck though with the nebulizer machine as it got fridge as soon as he plugged it in, so we will have to do the remainder of the trip without it. That makes me a bit uncomfortable since he is still recovering from the pneumonia, but I find comfort in knowing that God knew this all along, and that He will keep us safe until we get back home.
Today has been a very exhausting day. We had a pretty fantastic breakfast at the hotel at 7:30 and then left to go on a Hutong tour. When we reached the Hutong area, we took a rickshaw ride to the entrance and then learned all about the doorways and what you could tell about a family based on just their entryway to their home. Then we walked around to Mr. Ho’s house where we were able to see his beautiful courtyard, tour a bit of his home, and art studio. He is an artist, and though he usually does not sell from his home, he graciously sold to our group. Most families bought something, and he even did a quick couple of commissioned prices, including one for our family of our names in Chinese and English. It is on a beautiful scroll, and we can’t wait to hang it in our home.
After the Hutong tour, we headed over to the Silk Market. We learned all about the life of a silk worm, and then took a tour of how silk is spun from a single or double cocoon, and also got to see how silk quilts are made. Then had some free time to shop in the market where we bought a few postcards for the boys, and a silk dress for Annabella.
When we left the silk market we went for lunch. Our guide, George, ordered ahead of time for us, and we sat in two rooms around large round tables. They brought out many different dishes and placed them on a lazy susan in the center of the table, we just turned it round and round until all of the families had gotten everything. The food was very, very good!
Once our bellies were full, we made a quick stop to our first “squatty” potties, and then headed on to Tienanmen square. We got a quick history lesson from George, and then walked on to the Forbidden City. We stopped several times throughout the city to learn a bit of history and to take pictures. At the end, we were all very exhausted, and were happy that the next stop would be the hotel! Today was hot, but not as bad as we expected. The temperatures here are around 85 degrees, and it was overcast and breezy most of the day. Still, being outside from 8:30 AM until 4 PM in 85 degree weather is hot, and we all arrived back sticky, wet, and stinky, and ready for a shower!
Tomorrow we will tour the Great Wall and the Jade Factory. Tomorrow night we will go to see an acrobatics show, then the next day we will head to the Henan province and will get Annabella the next morning. We’ve met some very nice people, and apparently have a pretty large group. There is a family from San Diego who went through the traditional program, and has been waiting 6 years to get their daughter, who will turn 1 the day after they get home. Another family is here to adopt 2 boys who are from two different orphanages and are both 2 years old. There is a family who will be adopting a 4, almost 5 year old daughter, and a family who lives just 30 minutes from us, who is here to get their 2 year old daughter. So far we’ve met 5 families, and we have a few more joining us in the next few days. Well, I had better say goodbye for now, and will do my best to update as often as time, and Internet connections allow! Thank you all for your continued prayers for our family!
|Outside of the restaurant where we ate dinner our first night|
|A Christian church, at night the courtyard in front was filled with people doing synchronized dancing. We later learned this was their evening exercise|
|Street vendor food|
|Street food...scorpion on a stick|
|Mr. Ho making our drawing|
|Our guide George, Greg and I in Tienanmen square|
|The Main Hall in The Forbidden City|
|The "couples" tree at the back gate in the Forbidden City|