"For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven."
Eclesiastes 1: 9 (?? they don't have bibles for reference here in China)
Well, it's time to wrap things up here in Guangzhou, China and get ready to head home. We spent today shopping for souveniers, cute chinese dresses, shoes, etc. Rebecca had arranged a tour of the toy factory for today.. but we missed the bus thinking the meeting time would be at 11:00. It was actually an hour earlier! But we spent the time taking in our last sights of the island and doing lots of shopping. Dad did well with the shopping. Those of you who know him know that Mom does all the shopping, and Dad just makes the money! But he was a good boy and did very well in this "new" territory for him. He actually found some really nice things that I think Mom will like. =)
We ate lunch at Lucy's, Tian took a short nap, we played in the playroom and then ate dinner with Rebecca for the last time. Rebecca has been OUTSTANDING!! She is THE best guide and has always been on top of things. We ran into some trouble with the paperwork, but Rebecca took care of it. I just remember when we were at the Civil Affairs Office adopting the girls, Rebecca had two cell phones both ringing at the same time and talking to two different people. She was wonderful with Tian and they have a special relationship. I will really miss Rebecca and her funny personality. Our guides have all been absolutely superb. Whenever Tian got upset, they were always there to comfort her. Lily would read Tian books, David and Rebecca would stop eating themselves and spoon feed Tian. Our trip has been more like a vacation, thanks to them!
I will definitely miss the people of Guangzhou. They have all been so kind and friendly. If there was a place I could move to, I would settle in Guangzhou. At lunch, we sat outside and watched girls playing badmittion, guys kicking around a hacky sack, older folks doing tai chi, children playing in the park. It's something I'll miss watching all of these people interact. It's really a sense of community here on Shamian Island.
I will miss the White Swan too!! When we arrived on Sunday, the lobby greeted us like it was saying "Welcome back!" The hotel is really wonderful and the people are so nice. Each floor has floor attendants who go and push the elevator button for you when they see you coming and clean your rooms. Everytime Tian sees the floor attendanta, she starts singing "Mama Hao" and they all sing it with her!
I will miss the people in the shops. There are tons of shops located around the White Swan and they are all so sweet. A little pushy at times, but very nice. If you're going to Guangzhou soon, be sure to stop at the Chinese Life & Laundry store. (The first shop on the left) Lisa, the shopkeeper, and her friends are so sweet and will always give you a good price! The stores all sell pretty much the same things, but we bought mostly from Lisa because she was so nice. She remembered our names so everytime we passed by, she would say "Hello Claudio & Sera!!" Lisa & her friends always sit outside their store and watch DVD's.
I will also miss the other adoptive families and seeing the babies! There's nothing more heartwarming than watching parents meet the child they have desired for so long and orphaned babies become part of a forever family. You really feel like a large "family" here. Everyone has been so nice and we can all relate since we've been through the same process, emotions, etc!!
We ALL will miss our travel buddies, Charlie, Britt & Delaney. We met them on Gotcha Day and connected instantly since the girls are inseperable. Delaney & Tian are somethin' else!! Our travel group has been wonderful. I think our first travel group was a little better since we were all so close by the time we left and did everything together. We mostly hung with Delaney's family and everyone else did their own stuff. But nonetheless, they were all really nice and we have news friends!
Of course.. things I won't miss about Guangzhou:
The smog!! We haven't seen the sun once since being here. You can't see very far which is different from when we were here in August.
The smells! Yah, I won't miss the smells!
The Animals!! I don't mind the chickens hanging in the window, but the dead cats on the streets, I do!
The hard beds! The White Swan would be so much better if the beds were at least a bit softer!
And.. the spitting! After awhile, it gets a little old!
But these are the things that make Guangzhou!
Oh, and one other thing I'll miss are the "Is she your daughter?" comments I have gotten all week. Yes, they think Dad is the "Baba" and I am the "Mama"!!
Well, I could write more, but we have a 5:00 am wake-up call!! I finally convinced Dad that everything was not going to fit into three suitcases, so he (finally!) agreed and we bought another suitcase. Even with the extra suitcase, we are still jam-packed!
But we're ready to come home. Please be praying that Tian does well on the flight... preferably sleeps a lot and has no meltdowns!! And also, that we make our connecting flight in Chicago. We only have a two hour layover to get through customs and re-check for our flight back home.
Well, our operation was to get Tian and bring smiles to her face. And we have accomplished that operation! Now, it's time to complete the operation and get her home, so we can start a new Mission: Life with Emma & Tian!!!
Signing off from Guangzhou,
Sera, Claudio & Tian
P.S. Forgot the Picture Captions!!
1) Tian in the White Swan playroom
2) This is Tian and a little boy "FuFu" from her orphanage. They were in the same room together and seemed to know each other pretty well. They talked constantly and liked playing together. =)
3) The shopkeepers all loved Tian!
4) Inside one of the shops in Guangzhou (It is called the Arts & Crafts store and is on the left side, across from Jennifers & Sherry's. Great shop and one of our favorites!)
5) The next few are all views of Shamian Island
6) Dad & Tian
7) Me & Tian eating lunch at Lucy's
8) Coca Cola-Chinese version!
9 & 10) I shot these outside during lunch at Lucy's. We ate outside and watched people playing badmittion and tai chi during lunch.
11) Tian loves lettuce!
12) Me & Tian in front of the Pearl River
13) Dad & Tian in front of a statue in the Shamian Park. The statue is of a American parents with their newly adopted child.
14) Some of the local children playing on the statues
15) Just a FEW of the chinese silk outfits we bought for the girls!!
16) Tian trying on Dad's shoes
17) Tian & bear in front of the White Swan waterfall
18) Dinner! (I preferred not to touch the animals staring at me!)
19) Miss Delaney!!
20) Tian eating some cake! She shoved the whole piece in her mouth!
21) Tian & "Auntie" Rebecca
22) The girls and I in front of the waterfall.. kinda blurry!
23 & 24) Red couch photos of Delaney & Tian
25) Delaney & Tian made up an obstacle course in the Swan Room
26) With the shopkeepers from the Chinese Life/Laundry store
27) Artist working on a Granite Etching
28) Laney & Tian holding hands for the last time in Guangzhou
29) Dads & their daughters!
30) Britt & I with our new sisters
Whew! Think that was enough pictures??!!