We had nothing on our schedule today. I think we are waiting on the kids’ passports and to sign the paperwork that a notary has from the Jiujiang orphanage. I am not sure what the deal is with the Jiujiang orphanage’s paperwork and why we had to sign it separate. I have just learned to nod my head and sign on the line and not ask questions. It seems that some things are not standardized, especially appointments, and each county seems to have its own set of rules and paperwork. We just let Michael, our guide, do his job and do what he tells us to do. It is so much easier that way!
We ventured out to Walmart today. That was very interesting. As far as clothing selection goes, it is coats, jackets, sweaters, more coats, jackets and sweaters….oh, did I mention coats, jackets and sweaters? Some sweat pants, wooly socks and lined fur slippers. I have compiled a list of what I know about a Chinese Walmart:
1. There is no such thing as a tshirt
2. There is no such thing as clearance or a sale. They probably bought what they needed the first time around.
3. There is no such thing as a variety (you have one brand, you like it…you buy it. You don’t like it…you do without)
4. They sell a whole chicken here, stretched out on a rack and a pig face, should you desire to have either for dinner.
5. If you are a size M in women clothes in America, you wear an XXL in China (long sleeve tshirts…it was the closest thing to a tshirt I could get).
6. Even though it is 70 degrees outside, the heater was full blast and everyone was bundled up like it was snowing.
7. They do not believe in plastic bags. You bring your own bag, or you pay for one…yes you only get one, ONE plastic bag to carry your $200 worth of items, including 4 cokes and water, clothes for the kids, in that ONE bag. (note to all people who are traveling soon, the best thing you can bring is a reusable shopping bag)
8. There are four floors, the top is a theater, the third is the clothing, papergoods, electronics and houseware department, the second floor is the food mart, and the bottom floor is rented out to vendors.
9. In order to get your things from one floor to the other, you put your shopping cart on the escalator…wow…was that an experience!! Try holding to carts, two kids, a rolling suitcase we were purchasing on a moving escalator….AND…realizing that your daughter (who did not want to ride in the cart) has never been on one, was totally freaked out, would not get on…and you are trying to get her on it with one hand as you ascend with your cart and suitcase in the other hand.
10. Apparently white people don’t shop at the Nanchang Walmart. Especially XXL ones.
11. They only sell one kind of coloring book.
12. The only coffee they sell is instant coffee in little packs.
I was glad that we bought a rolling suitcase to put the kids’ clothes in. All of the things we purchased, I packed into the suitcase to take it out of the store. She gave me one bag to put 5 coffee cups in that I purchased for myself and for gifts. All of the other things we bought I had to put in the suitcase. Alex had a blast. I handed him a thing or two and he looked like he really didn’t know what to do, then it dawned on him that I was buying it for him. Everything I showed him, he stacked in his lap and would not let go. When it got to be too much, he would turn around to the back of the cart and stuff his things way down in my purse (I guess so they would not get lost?) I was glad that I was using a reusable shopping type bag for a purse so no one thought we were stealing!!! I bought him a zipper mesh bag so he could store his coloring book, crayons, note pad and other small items in it. He has loved that. He has carried that thing everywhere. He also pointed out a stuffed dragon. Dragons mean power here and they are very popular. So, I bought him a stuffed dragon. It is cute.
Of course Vivian could not be left out, so she got a coloring book…the same exact one…and some colored pencils. Xiang Xiang (Lillian Meng) picked out a couple items for herself, crayons, a notepad, etc. I have all three a backpack and put all of their items in it so they can carry them around and also it is full of entertainment for the plane trip. They each know which one is theirs and it is so cute to see them get something out of it and zip it back up. It MUST be zipped back up. You cannot leave the top open, or it zipped half way. It MUST be fully closed. Lol…
Xiang Xiang (Lillian Meng) likes to meow like a cat. She is so cute. Sometimes she will chuck me on the chin and say “meow!” I saw her nannies do it to her. She will put her hands on cheeks and say Meeeeow…meeeeow! The Chinese word for cat is Mao, and it sounds like Meow. She is also a busybody and will charm just about anything from anyone. You have to watch that one. Before you know it she is in your lap and has full control of your phone.
When we went to dinner tonight, we had a few minutes before the restaurant opened so we decided to take a short walk around the block. It was very interesting. People ride motor bikes right up the stairs and back down again. It is really funny and completely unexpected. Motorbikes and bicycles are operated on the sidewalk and street. You have to be careful because they come at you from all directions. Xiang Xiang and Alex were like country in the city…they gawked and stared and oohed and aahed…it was funny! They were just as amazed as we were. I wish I was able to take more pictures. The photographer in me is just dying to take pictures of everything I see. Unfortunately, when you are holding two little hands, one on each side, trying to avoid multi direction motor bike traffic while navigating the sidewalk, it is a little difficult to find time to capture photos. (Another note to anyone traveling soon for their adoption, if you want good pictures, bring someone along that is not the mom or dad of the child being adopted!!! You WILL have your hands FULL! Literally). As we were walking, an older lady came up to me and pointed to Xiang Xiang and said “Thank you”. It took a second, but it dawned on me that she was thanking me for adopting a little girl. It touched my heart. I have heard that sometimes the Chinese people here have mixed reactions. I read stories about the people here being disgusted that Americans, or others, are coming in to their country and adopting their children. It is kind of a love/hate thing…they like that the children are being adopted and out of the orphanage, but they hate the necessity of it. Like it is shameful to them. Egg on their face, so to speak. I have also heard stories of families walking with their newly adopted child around China and some of the older people will come up to them and say thank you that they appreciated them giving that child a better life. Not only did it happen once, but twice. Later, another older lady walked up to me and pointed to Xiang Xiang and said “Thank You”. So precious. I wanted to say, “No, Thank YOU!”
Oh, and I have another picture to add to Vivian’s fan club. Here is the Nanchang branch:
Tomorrow we visit a park and then we have nothing else in the afternoon and evening, same for Thursday. We are planning to explore tomorrow and see what we can see. After all, we have two days of nothing but waiting.
I know this post is all over the place. I won’t apologize (Melissa!). So, here is another random tidbit, Xiang Xiang likes to brush her teeth…or she likes to mimic us…not sure which. She also got a kick out of brushing Vivian’s hair this morning as we got dressed to go to breakfast. Such a fun loving little girl. Alex warmed up to me today. He only wanted to sit in my lap, which is a change. He was stuck to Steven like glue for two days. Then all of a sudden this morning he is sitting in my lap and calling me mama. Awww…. In Walmart he kept saying “Mama look!” over and over. (He said the Chinese word for look but I am too tired to remember how to spell it). Also, Xiang Xiang was playing with Steven today (which is also new) and at one point she tugged on his sleeve and he leaned down to see what she wanted and she kissed him on the cheek….awwww….. You can tell that she wormed her way into his heart, she is holding his brand new IPhone. That is love right there! Oh, and she had to wear her vest again today. I wonder if she thinks it is part of her coat ensemble. Because they wear several layers of clothes here. Or, does she just like it? I don’t know. I just know that she puts it on before we leave our room. I need to look at the wash instructions on it. It is going to need a good scrub pretty soon!
We went to dinner across the street again at the “famous restaurant”. We had dinner with another family and there were ten people all together at the table. It was a lot of fun. We picked up the tab and the cost was $30 for all of us to eat! WOW! I ordered the exact same thing I did last night for myself and for the kids. My dish came out and it was excellent. The kids’ Chow Mein, or Mein Chow is how they say it, and it was completely different…not sure why! Last night it was clear soup with noodles and green onions. Tonight it was fried spaghetti noodles in soy sauce. Alex did not eat at all. Out of the six dishes we ordered between our two families, he did not like any of it. Xiang Xiang ate it up! She tried it all. If she did not like it, she put it on my plate…hmmm…who does that sound like? (Vivian!). At a traditional Chinese restaurant, you have a turntable in the middle where they place the dishes. You rotate the lazy susan and use your chopsticks to serve yourself a small portion from each dish.
I am so tired that instead of posting the pictures above each paragraph where I talk about them, I am just going to post a slideshow. Going to bed!!!! So tired….poor Xiang Xiang cried and cried this morning when she woke up. She was grieving. She also cried when it was time to go to bed. Those are the only two times she cries. Otherwise she is all smiles and mischief. Alex, on the other hand, is pretty sulky all day, but when it comes time to go to bed…no problem. He will nod like a ragdoll until he just lays out. Steven tried to put him in his toddler bed that the hotel provided and he would have nothing of it. He pointed to where Steven sleeps. So, he got put back in bed with Steven tonight. I am glad though. It shows that we are on the right track. They are starting to trust us and bond with us. Steven woke up this morning with Alex beside him and Alex was just rubbing Steven’s arm and cuddled up next to him. Sweet boy. It is hard for both of them. I can see it in their face when I get up to get something out of my suitcase, or if I am at breakfast and go get another plate at the buffet, that they are wondering if I am leaving. Both of their heads snap up and they watch me closely to see where I am going. I wish I could erase all the hurt from the other times they were left. I wonder if they resent me just a little for taking them away from what they knew. I have to say that I admire Xiang Xiang’s orphanage. She was well prepared. They talked to her and prepared her for what was going to happen. Even though she grieves and looks at her pictures of her ma-ma Hao, I can tell that she was talked to about her adoption.
Ok, I promise, this time I am gone…really! Good night!