Hunan is known for its spicy food, so Rachel should have the same tastes in food as her father and her big sister, Lauren.
Rice, tea and oranges are grown in Hunan. The province is surrounded by mountains on the east, west, and south, and by the Yangtze River on the north.
Hunan is a tropical climate, with warm weather and a lot of humidity most of the year. However, a travel guide tells us: "The best time to visit is in the fall, when temperatures are cooler and the rainfall lighter." It sounds like we planned that just right!
Hunan also is famous for its embroidery and its firecrackers. Chairman Mao was born in Hunan.
I found this photo on the internet of the Yueyang County Social Welfare Institute:
We hope to be able to visit it in person when we're there, but that isn't always allowed.
A few more facts about Rachel:
* All of the babies in her social welfare institute (orphanage) have the surname Ba.
* The character for "Shu" in her name translates to "relaxed."
* The character for "Ting" means "pretty, attractive, graceful."
* We have not yet decided what her full name will be (but we're close!).
* I won't have measurements for another week or so, but Chinese babies traditionally are tiny compared to American children. My guess is that we will be taking 6-9 months clothes to fit her at 10 months old.
* Rachel shares her birthday with Ben Franklin, Al Capone, Maury Povich, Muhammed Ali, Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey, plus Paul Revere -- the lead singer/organist of "Paul Revere and the Raiders,'' not that other guy (thanks to reporter Ted Gregory for those details).
We're going to be traveling with a dozen other families. We've heard from most of them, and almost all of them have babies from the same orphanage. The age range so far seems to be 6-11 months. So far we know of one couple that will be going to Fujian province instead -- they were referred TWINS! Congratulations to Anne and Alex on their double blessing.