Monday, December 11, 2006

Hooray for Guangzhou

I've already posted a bit about our delight in our accommodations (and internet service) in Guangzhou, and we still are enjoying all of it. Our hotel is on Shamian Island, an area that technically IS an island because it's surrounded by water, but it's not really because much of that water is simply a moat! At one point in China's long history, the island was created so that all foreigners could be required to live here. Because of that interesting twist, the architecture here is more European than traditional Chinese.
The view from our window.

The moat.

After we checked in the first night and got settled a bit, Lance and I took Ting Ting to the neighboring Thai restaurant (yes, we ate Thai food in China). It's called the Cow and Bridge, and it's excellent. When we walked in, we saw Bill and Bob having dinner, and they waved us over to join them. Lance and I had a great meal, and Ting Ting ate nearly an entire plate of fried rice on her own. (She ate more of her meal than I did, because I was feeding her and couldn't slow down!).

Ting Squared is having a great time here, meeting the local folks and charming everyone with that grin. Here she is with Lucy, a local shopkeeper with whom Lance is involved in a battle of wits.
Lucy did our laundry, sold Lance a bunch of items while wailing about how he she was not making any money from him, and is preparing a special gift for us that I can't describe here. We think she's great.

(Now don't give me a hard time about how a local shopkeeper can hold your granddaughter/niece/cousin/beloved baby and you can't-- you'll all get your turn very soon.)

Ting Ting also has started spending most of the night in her crib rather than on Lance's chest. And she will entertain herself (and us) in there during the day if need be.

She also has started taking regular naps! She didn't nap at all in Changsha, so this is a welcome change.

And she has decided her Mama is pretty cool, too.

In other words, we're all getting more sleep at night (especially Lance), and we're getting some free time during the day to catch up on our blogging! And our daughter is an absolute delight. I sit for hours every day just playing with her and being silly. It is amazingly fun.

Speaking of delightful daughters, Anne and Alex have rejoined our group, and we're all getting to know their twins, Ava and Ana. They are the only babies in our travel group not from Hunan; they were adopted in Fujian province, so Anne and Alex were going through their adoption process in the same time but in a different place. We're thrilled to have them -- and their girls -- with us.

Lance, Ting Ting and I slept in Sunday morning, which we enjoyed. That afternoon, we joined our group and all walked down to a photo shop to get our babies' visa photos taken. Ting Ting has a Chinese passport; she will travel to the US with an American visa. She becomes a U.S. citizen as soon as we land in Chicago.

Following that, Bob and Bill hosted a paperwork meeting. Again, I was the one who got to go. We thought the Chinese paperwork meeting was a long one, so you can imagine how long it took us to fill out all the paperwork to get the adoption recognized, get her visa and have her citizenship established. Bleary eyed, we then all reconvened at a group dinner -- at the Cow and Bridge.

If you look closely, you'll see I am holding a bottle for Ting Ting, who doesn't care one whit about posing for the photo.

Lance and I didn't at all mind eating there two nights in a row, because it was delicious. Everyone enjoyed it, although we were all a bit confused when we ordered ice cream sundaes and banana splits and discovered they contained what appeared to be kidney beans.

The dinner was a good chance to welcome the twins to our group and to enjoy the company of our travel mates. For example, this is Jeff, father to Isabella.

Jeff and his wife Judy adopted a little boy from China through Sunny Ridge a few years ago.

Here is Jeff with Judy and Bella.
Like Ting Ting, Bella was more interested in eating dinner than posing, at least at first.

Here are Mickey and his daughter Tabitha:

Once little Bella had finished her dinner, she provided us with some evening cuteness.

Rachel Shu-Ting was not to be outdone.


Laura said...

Oh my gosh, Rachel is SO adorable, these pictures are fabulous, your descriptions and details are bringing tears to my eyes!
Wasn't everything worth the wait??!

Best wishes for a swift return home. And please keep the blog entries coming!


Michelle said...

So glad Rachel is settling in with sleeping, it really will help her with the upcoming transition to her new home! The pictures are great, looking at them brings me right back to our trip, many thanks for sharing! (now I have to the wait now just a big blur??!!)

I am so glad you are enjoying Guangzhou...we sure loved it! Have you visited the 6 Banyon Tree temple? The botanic gardens? The Folk Art Mueseum? The temple was the best but the botanic gardens were incredible (think Chicago's Botanic garden supersized a few times!!!) I could have passed on the jade and pearl markets (pearl mkt think a supersized modern mall) but I am not a jewelry person and hope to get Gigi's when we go back in 9 or10 years!

Hope everyone is staying healthy for the long trip home!

Michelle I

Anonymous said...

Hey Susan!
Just wanted to say how ADORABLE your little girl is. What a treat to be able to see her pictures and read about how you guys are doing out there. What a cutie! Her toothy-smile is absolutely charming! Soooo happy for ya'll. Wishing you all the safest travels, and hope to see her in person soon.
Angela Rozas