Monday, September 17, 2012

life's a riot

Sunday in Guangzhou was definitely not peaceful! We were scheduled to go out shopping with our agency for a little while in the morning, and with a private guide on the afternoon. When we got to the lobby we saw swarms of people outside waving Chinese flags and pictures of Mao and chanting something. Our guide told us it was a protest over a land dispute with Japan. The Japanese Consulate is located at our hotel so they were protesting there. After about 30 minutes of us taking pictures the police assembled and blocked off the front of the hotel so we were able to leave. It took us over an hour to get to the shopping district twenty minutes away because so many roads were closed.


Once we got to the shopping area we called the private guide that was supposed to meet us back at our hotel and told her we would just stay the shopping center instead. Our agency representative was not happy we were not going back on the bus. It turned out to be the right decision for us. We had a fabulous afternoon with our guide Ann. She took us at lightning speed all over the wholesale market. Probably the best part was that she spoke Cantonese. It turns out much of what we had been chalking up to babble from Lexi is really words. She understands a lot and has been talking to us too, we just didn't know it! She has gotten a habit of smacking me when she doesnt like something, so Ann found a policeman that spoke Cantonese and got him to tell her "do not hit". We have it on video for future use.

Those are strands of real pearls they gave her to play with


When we were done shopping we took the subway back to the hotel. It was crazy crowded! We had to navigate around a few blocks to get to the only hotel entrance they would let us in, and then we were on lockdown in our rooms because we were on the 27th floor and all of the elevators were Shut down. Apparently at some point In the afternoon it had gotten a little violent and the crowd broke several windows in the hotel lobby and the Japanese restaurant. We missed all the drama and just ate ramen noodles in our room. It was definitely an adventurous day!!



Quiet Saturday

Saturday was a quiet day. We went for medical exams, then went over to Shamian Island to shop and have dinner. Shamian island is a small neighborhood that has quiet little shops and restaurants and a very park like feel. There were tons of people taking wedding photos, and Cade found a puppy he would have loved to have taken home for a souvenir. The boys did a little workout and race, and introduced Lexi to the one to three whee swinging by the arms game. We also discovered she will eat noodles like a baby bird and avoids French fries at all costs.








Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jiang cheng (changiddy cheng she bop)

Friday we drove three hours to visit her orphanage, the Jiang Cheng Social Welfare Institute, we all had to sing the "we'll always be together" song from Grease every time one of us said Jiang Cheng. The drive was beautiful. We saw fields built into steppes on the mountain, pagodas on the hilltops, people randomly peeing on the side of the road, amd truckloads of tasty bacon pigs. The area she is from is much more tropical with tons of bamboo forests.

The orphanage was both wonderful and heartbreaking. It is very small, only about 30 kids under 4 and two older 7 year old girls. The orphanage is the top two floors of a building, the bottom level is an old folks home. They only seem to use three rooms on the top level right now. The nannies all clearly loved her and were happy to see her and feed her lunch. The speed they fed her with made her "come on!!!!" looks when I am doing it make so much more sense. We got to show the nannies some photos of a little gorl from our chirch who came from the same orphanage, it was so sweet to see the, tear up with happiness over how well one of "their" babies was doing. We also got to spend some time woth some little ones whose mamas are on the way soon. I said a little prayer over the, at they stay safe and healthy intil their families come. One of the older girls really broke me, Lexi was clearly "hers" and they were so excited to see each other. When it was time to go it was fine and she happily wrapped herself around my neck and left.

After the orphanage, we saw a little more of the town, had a fabulous local Chinese lunch, the took the long ride back. Praise Jesus she is a car sleeper!!!



Friday, September 14, 2012

Life with Lexie

Thursday we had a tourist day. We started out visiting the Chen Family Ancestral complex, which is a beautiful ancient home with lots of artifacts to look at. Unfortunately it was 7000 degrees with 600% humidity, so Lexi was a little grumpy. It was the first temper we have seen from her, but in true Jenkins fashion a little sugar in the form of lollipop calmed her down.







I think Liam's favorite part was all of the teenagers that came up and wanted their pictures made with an American.


After the Chen family site, we went to the Canton Tower. It is the tallest structure in china, 111 stories tall and has overlooks on the top floors (for reference- sears tower is 108). It was too smoggy to see well from the top, but it was really interesting. On the very top the brave guys rode a ride that you get strapped in, lean forward and it shoots you up and down.







Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Catching up with us

Now that we have had some sleep and gotten settled in, I will catch you up on the life of Jenkins in china. We had a great time in Hong Kong, and took the train to Guangzhou on Sunday. We did try a little McDonald's at the train station before we got on. Chris found out that the shogun burgers would not be one that he would lobby to have added to the U.S. menu. It was a "pork" patty with teriyaki and fried egg. The seaweed seasoning you could add to the fries was pretty yummy though.

Waiting for the train

When we got to Guangzhou we checked into the Garden Hotel. Our room here is pretty a,axing, bigger than our apartments in college, it has an office with an exercise bike, a half bath, a doorbell, and the boys favorite part- a heated toilet seat and bidet.


The breakfast is a lot of fun for Liam, he has had soba noodles, teriyaki beef and steamed pork buns that he loved so far. He was not a fan of the taro cake though. On our first night we went and ate at Tekila, pretty good Mexican food for China.

Yesterday we were all a bundle of nerves waiting to go to the civil affairs office to meet Lexi. We passed the time yesterday with a visit to trust mart, which is Walmart in China. The prices were amazingly cheap, we bought drinks, cookies, socks, candy, crackers, and Legos- all for less than $20.

I thought this underwear would make Zane laugh
The Walmart warning sign
We had lunch at subway and found out Chinese portions are a little different than the US, Jarrod could drop some serious weight here! My "Italian red meat" flavored chips were pretty good though, and we have found that the juice here is like in Kazakhstan , so much better than the weak sugar water juice drinks you get at home. We did have a meeting to go over paperwork before we went to get the kids, and we were informed that Lexi is friendly and happy, but she likes to take toys from others and make them cry. Uh oh!


After lunch we hung out in our room as long as we could stand it, then waited down stairs to go to the civil affairs office. The ride there was surreal, there are three families in our translator's group and we were all so nervous! On the way upstairs, one family actually ended up riding up in the elevator with their daughter and the worker that had brought her over from the orphanage. We had only been there about three minutes when the translator came and old us that Song Ke was there, we were the first family to be given our daughter. When they brought her out, the first thing we saw was that she has some trouble walking, she has one foot that stays pointed down, so we will have some ortho visits when we get home. The next thing we saw was that she was scared, poor thing. Even as scared as she was, she immediately snuggled up against me and held on tight. After just a few minutes we began to see her beautiful smile around the corner of her sippy cup. The girl loves a sippy! She began laughing and playing and has really been happy ever since.

Last night we went to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, where we quickly figured out that the just like kids born in America, the only thing she knows how to do with chopsticks is bang them loudly on the table. By the time we got back to the hotel it was time for bed, we were all sooooo tired. Even though she was exhausted, we were impressed with Lexi's crib escape ninja moves. The second we put her in she flipped herself right out. I ended up rocking her to sleep in our bed and she was fine.
Today we went back to civil affairs for more paperwork. It was super hot and sticky in the office, but Lexi was a champ and stayed happy the whole time, even when she peed in my lap. These Chinese pull ups are just not working out! We are going back to the store today to try something else. We had a great Thai lunch at the banana leaf, all 14 of us in our group ate for under $100. Kind of funny that we were eating in the Guangzhou World Trade center on 9/11. Right now the little princess is sleeping with Daddy for her afternoon nap, and all is right with the world.

Tomorrow our only official appointment is to go to the police station to get her picture made, other than that we will be searching for something to pass the time. Lexi was not a happy camper about having a bath this morning, so I don't know that the hotel pool will be a big hit, but we may give it a try.