Saturday, September 8, 2007

One Tough Cookie!

Well, our Sarah is one tough cookie! Normally the medical exam that the children must have while in Guangzhou is a quick check of weight, listening to the lungs, etc. Sarah had this as well as having her eye sight tested (she's 20/20 without glasses) PLUS because of her age the CDC in the states requires her to have a series of shots before she can enter the US (such as her first Hep B). So, even with them combining two of the vaccinations into one shot, she had to have 4 shots -- two in each arm! She didn't flinch a bit and kind of thought it was funny that the band-aids they put over each injection site looked like little t-shirts with writing on them.

After the medical check we headed back to the hotel and Sarah didn't want to go out for lunch, so I ventured down to Lucy's for some take-out. Lucy's is an American-style restaurant on the island. The White Swan Hotel where we are staying is on a small island in the middle of the Pearl River. To those from Davenport, it would remind you in size and location within the river of the Rock Island Arsenal. The city of Guangzhou is about 10 million people, but on the island you would swear you are in a tiny little town. The island is very British in style due to colonization here and the small one-lane streets are lined with very large trees which overhang the street. It is a very casual place, very pretty and very quiet where historically most of the American adoptive families have stayed for the last part of the adoption journey. Our understanding is that the US Consulate has moved from Shamian Island into the city and shortly the families will no longer stay on the island while in Guangzhou as the White Swan Hotel is renovating and moving more toward a business geared hotel. Our guide told us that for about the last 15 years local people have been able to move OFF the island but no people can move ONTO the island as they seem to have plans for it.

Today (Sunday) I took our last load of laundry down to Sherry's Place which is right outside the hotel. All along the roads near the hotel are small souvenir shops that all seem to do laundry as well as sell trinkets.

Yesterday we had taken a photo down to a shop outside the hotel as our friend Hayley had asked for us to have a slate etching made of her daughter Emerson. What they do is take a photo and by hand they use a tiny pointed instrument and reproduce the image on a piece of slate, dot by dot until the image is formed. Then yesterday afternoon we went for a short walk and in one of the stores NOT located near where we ordered the etching, Sarah pulled at my shirt sleeve and pointed to a lady sitting in the store doing the etching of Emerson! HOWEVER, the photo Hayley had sent also included one of her sons, but she wanted the etching to be just of her daughter. We were very clear when we ordered the etching. Sarah saw right away that the etching wasn't right and explained in Chinese to the lady doing the etching. She had us follow her back to the original store where Sarah explained it again! They said they had made the mistake and would have the correct etching when we returned on Tuesday. Our girl is quite a helper!
Today (Sunday) we went on a tour of the Chen Family Temple, a place which was built during the last dynasty in China solely for use by the Chen Family. The Chen line is very large and one of the oldest family lines in China. Family members from all over the area donated money and then family members could come to the temple (which is located in what was the capitol of the province) to study, pray, etc.

After the Chen Family Temple, we went to the jade market which was very expensive so we just looked around. After that, our last stop was the pearl market. The pearl market is actually a large mall with various stores that have just bags and bags (like the size of brown paper bags, but clear plastic) full of all kinds of pearls -- they have so many that the floors of the small stores are just covered in these large bags. While we did not buy any pearls, we did enjoy some of the small bead shops which had the most wonderful costume jewelry. We bought several items ranging from 4 yuan (about 60 cents US) for a necklace and matching earrings to the highest price items we bought being 10 yuan (for VERY pretty bead necklaces with blown glass). Sarah picked out a pretty pink necklace and the lady running the booth must have asked who we were as I heard to tell the lady something in Chinese that included "Mama" and "Baba". The lady seemed shocked and kind of bowed to Sarah and then pointed to me. Sarah giggled and then told me the lady said that "Mama is pretty". Then I giggled! The lady wanted to have Sarah get some pierced earrings to match the necklace, but she pointed to show that her ears weren't pierced. We told her she could get them pierced when we got home so she smiled and picked out about 5 gorgeous pairs of crystal earrings -- at a whopping price of about $1 US each.

We just hanging out right now until our group dinner at 6. Tonight is an authentic Cantonese restaurant although our guide has warned us about not ordering a very popular Cantonese soup which is made from snake, chicken and cat -- yep, we're gonna stay away from that one!

Just two more days and we head for home! While we've been in China we've been able to arrange back home (via the wonderful world wide web) for Sarah to have two tutors. One is a student at the university and another is a Chinese woman who lives in China but who is in our area until December. In China this woman teaches English to Chinese students who are heading to the US to study. She has given us the name of a Chinese text book that helps teach English so tomorrow we will try to find a bookstore or why to locate this textbook. And we are trying to arrange an appointment with our junior high school for the Friday after we get home to see about what options Sarah will have for school. She is such a social child that we think her being able to get into a few things at school will make her happy. Her face just lights us when she is around the other children in our travel group.
We had Diet Pepsi and Papa John's pizza for lunch! Then we followed it up with some Oreos. Hey, what can I say? And our girl LOVES American food -- I think she would eat KFC and pizza until she burst. We've had KFC four times so far.. And for breakfast, she love hashbrowns although two of the mornings she had hashbrowns and sushi! The last two mornings she has wanted congee as well which is a poridge made from mushy rice. And she NEVER wants anything sweet and when she saw me eating a chocolate today she waved her finger at me -- guess I'm going have to watch my sweet intake!
Photos above: typical apartments in Nanjing, temple bell and the field right outside the side door of Sarah's elementary school which is completely surrounded by high apartments.


amy said...

What a magnificent trip. Thank you for all of your posts. I wish your family lived closer because you are one amazing family, all 3 of you!!
Praying for a safe rest of the journey

Mike and Barb said...

I'm soaking up all your posts. You guys are brave and blessed beyond words! I hope you will keep up your blog once you get home so I can get my daily Sarah-Fix *lol*
Seriously, you describe everything so lively, it's a joy to follow along!
Thank you!
Barb in WY

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I have really enjoyed following along. You've done a wonderful job of describing things and I feel like I am back in China.

Safe travels home!

Kathryn said...

I just love your posts. It is almost like being there; they are so informative. I never realized you were from the Quad Cities. I have a good friend from college who lives in Bettendorf and teaches at one of the high schools. I am also over in Ilinois, but between Chicago and Rockford.