Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Consulate Appointment is Done!

Today was Wednesday in Guanzhou.  We were up really early as we had our Consulate Appointment at 8:30.  We should have Millie's visa back on Thursday in time for our return on Friday morning.  When we got back from the Consulate we felt adventurous so we tried to ride the Guangzhou metro.  It was a piece of cake and we went back to Shamian Island for a little more shopping and a grilled cheese sandwich at Lucy's.  

While Lisa was in one store, Don broke out some bubbles and Millie chased them around popping them.  all of a sudden she attracted about 6 or 7 people with cameras who started shooting her like she was a rock star.  I beleive they were photography students who were on Shamian to photograph various scenes.  You wouldn't beleive all the models and brides getting their pictures taken around the place.  We never get tired of that place. 

For dinner we went out with a family from Georgia who came to pick up two kids from two separate provinces.  They have seven kids total and now 5 from China.  They seem to be beyond building their family and are all about rescuing orphans that have a bleak future.  Very inspiring to see faith in action. 

We enjoyed the Brazilian steakhouse again as they didn't feel like Chinese food and were happy to get some real meat and desserts.  Tomorrow is our last day in Guangzhou.  We were told about a very beautiful park that is a couple of miles from our hotel.  We may try to walk over their and play around near the lake.  Thanks again for the prayers and encouraging notes.  Millie continues to grow closer to us each day and we can't wait for Lindy to meet her when we get back home.

Lindy - we hope you enjoy your field trip to the farm this week and can't wait to hear all about it.

 (on the metro)
(White Swan waterfall) 
 (Millie attracting the photography students)

(at dinner with a family from Georgia)
Don and Lisa

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Today we didn't have any tours until the afternoon as our guide had an annual tour guide exam in the morning.  This allowed us time to sleep in for the first time and just tool around near the hotel.  Millie woke up in a good mood so little spent some time singing songs with her.  She likes "If you're happy and you know it" and apparently knew the tune to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."  When Lisa sang the English version to her she picked up the words pretty quickly although I caught a few blah blahs in there.  I caught the funny moments on video. 

We went on a big walking trip around all the shopping malls near us.  It was a little bright outside so Millie wanted to wear her sunglasses.  After lunch and a nap, we went to a old school/temple.  Once we were there, we realized it was a place we toured on our first visit to Guangzhou five and a half years ago.  It was fun to just leisurely walk around and take in the sights.  I got some additional video when Millie attracted a crowd to her as she was looking at some statues.  It's pretty funny when she starts conversing with the locals in Chinese and we just sit back and watch.  lots of people comment about her beautiful eyes and then I can tell they are asking where she is from.  The answer Urumqi in Xinjiang province usually draws a comment about how far away that place is.  

 (Millie in her sunglasses!)

For dinner we went to a Mexican food place (Tekilas) that we found earlier in the day.  It's always a good sign to see Mexican cook in the back and we were able to talk to the owner who is from Guadalajara.  The food was really authentic and was better than the Mexican food we've had so far in Virginia.  Tomorrow we're up early for our Consulate appointment and then plan to go to dinner with a family from Georgia we met in our hotel.  Each day gets better and better - though bath time is marginally better.  Oh well, baby steps.

Don and Lisa

Monday, October 17, 2011

Killing time in Guangzhou

Well, we're still killing time in Guangzhou.  We've been to the zoo to see Pandas and we went back to the doctor to have Millie's TB test read.  Thankfully she passed.  We've been enjoying the civilization of Guangzhou.  It seems like such a modern city with western style breakfasts, bathrooms with commodes, and a soft hotel bed. 

Millie continues to grow closer to us each day.  She is picking up on a little English and seems to understand more each day.  It is a little difficult with so many Chinese speakers around that pay so much attention to her.  She seems to go into ignore parents mode and avoid eye contact when we call her name.  We've been enjoying various types of food around the downtown area.  We've had Italian (not Pizza Hut) and Millie seems to like pizza.  We headed to what was supposed to be Latin Mexican food however we discovered it was really a Brazilian steakhouse so we were able to sink out teeth into meat from a cow. They also had a great dessert table which we haven't had at all in a week and a half. 

I think Millie has gained even more weight each day as she continues to really eat well.  On Sunday she weighed in at 32 pounds which is only a few shy of her older sister.  People we meet are surprised to learn that she is only 2 and a half.  The playground at the hotel seems like a big hit.  On Tuesday we finally get to sleep in and then head to a museum in the afternoon.

Just a couple of funny Millie stories.  We've been calling her whatever she will answer to - Mei Ting, Mei Mei, and Millie.  When Lisa practices saying Millie, little miss suddenly lacks her parroting ability and repeats "Mollie."  She can't seem to get the "I" sound in her name.  She also struck up a conversation with our van driver.  He asked her where her home is and she replied "Far away."  (Apparently the hotel living and flights have thoroughly confused her.)  Anyway he asked her if her home was in America and she replied, "No, it's in Mongolia."  Not sure if her dialect is a little off or if she's really heard of Mongolia.  She makes everyone laugh and seems top live in a world that revolves around her.
 (chowing at the Brazilian Restaurant) 
 (A waiter at the Brazilian Restaurant) 
 (on the playground at the hotel) 
 (on the hotel playground with Mom) 
 (Spotting an airplane; they are still a wonder to her!) 
 (Shopping on Shamian Island) 
 (on the red couch at the White Swan) 
 (Millie hamming it up on the White Swan red couch) 
(in front of the waterfall at the White Swan) 

Well, that's all for now.  We have our Consulate appointment on Wednesday and leave town early on Friday morning.  Take care and keep those notes and comments coming.  They are really nice to read after being gone for a week and a half.

Don And Lisa

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Leaving Urumqi


(Millie in the hotel in Urumqi Thursday morning)

Wednesday evening, Lisa commented that we had just seen a different child.  Millie was in one of the most pleasant moods and we sat around in the hotel just laughing and playing.  She seems to be getting much more comfortable with us.  

On Thursday, our last full day in Urumqi, we went to the International Bazaar.  It is a big Uygher market where they sell all kinds of jewelry, rugs, clothes, knives, nuts, and raisins.  We were expecting it to be busy but is was just right and we found it to be really interesting.  Our guide rushed us a little because she needed to pick up Millie's passport at the end of the day. 

(at the International Bazaar)

On Friday we left Urumqi among tight security as a flight the day before from Beijing to Urumqi was diverted because of a bomb scare.  Our guide got us there several hours early just to be safe.  We were about ready to leave Urumqi behind so we didn't mind.  Millie loved sitting at the airport watching planes go by.  She got really excited when she could see them rotate and take off.  She was pretty cool on the plane until the pilot banked just shortly after takeoff and she saw the ground whizzing by below us.  That kind of spooked her for a little bit.  Fortunately, lunch is always a favorite and she scarfed down some noodles. 

At the Urumqi Airport

 (Millie, striking up a conversation with a cleaning lady! Showing her pictures of her family back home :))

She was pretty good on the 5-hour flight to Guangzhou until we started descending at which time she freaked a little again.  Hopefully, she will be old hat by the next time we fly, which will be home.  

We got to Guangzhou and were pleasantly surprised by how nice the Garden Hotel is in person.  It looked nice but it is really something else plus they put us in a suite which is, well, Sweet.  The Trade Fair is going on in Guangzhou so the city is crazy with people from all over the world.  

On Friday, we knocked out the medical appointment and the US visa picture.  We were able to walk around Shamian Island and stroll through the streets and do a little shopping.  It's a little slower with the White Swan closed for renovations but still a cool place.  We'll be back there on Monday to have Millie's TB test read and do some more shopping.  

On Sunday, we're headed to the zoo for a few hours and will basically just look around the hotel area, which is full of shops. 
(there were apples on the living room table at The Garden) 
 (this is what happens when Millie gets her head wet!)
 (at the medical clinic on Shamian Island)
 Millie continues to be a great kid.  She is occasionally moody but is really good the majority of the time.  She says hi to everyone and strikes up all kinds of conversations to anyone speaking Chinese.  We're learning a few more words to try to communicate.  We see the typical two year old on occasion but we can usually get through that pretty quickly. 

 Apparently she likes Taylor Swift as she started singing and dancing when one of her videos came on TV today.  She is a really good impersonator and mimics all kinds of words and actions.  We had Pizza in an Italian restaurant and she watched both of us eat our pizza so she would know how to do it.  She continues to eat everything in sight.  We love to sit and play with her and she loves to make us laugh.  So far tickle spots and funny faces are working for us.
 (lunch at the Thai restaurant)
 (walking around the area by the hotel)
(Playground at the hotel)

That's all for now.  Thanks for your continued comments, emails, and prayers.  We feel blessed so far.

Don and Lisa and Millie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A visit to the orphanage (with pictures!)

(Millie Mei in the hotel)

On Wednesday we had the opportunity to go visit the Orphanage in Urumqi.  It is actually two places as there is a downtown branch and the main site out past the airport.  When we arrived, little miss rock star took over.  The teachers (nannies) all ran to her and picked her up and passed her around.  She saw a little boy that she used to play with and immediately started bossing him around.  It was obvious that she didn't lack for attention - rather she was probably pretty spoiled.  We believe she moved to the downtown branch a few months ago as it houses kids over 2.  Her teacher/foster mom was very nice and we toured the room where she lived.  We found out she loves grapes and she downed quite a few.  She also likes what they called biscuits (shortbread cookies) and ate two packages of those.  All of this was about an hour after breakfast. 

We then drove out to the main orphanage which was a very nice place.  We were greeted by two teachers who immediately carted Millie around.  They told us she was one of the leaders there which I think was code for bossy.  We were initially told she lived there but later found out she lived in a foster home nearby up until a few months ago.  I think the trip set us back a little in bonding because of all the attention she got from her teachers which caused her to reject mom and dad a little.  However, that was all over once we got in the van back to town.  It was good to see the place and to find out more about her.  I believe some pictures from the last two days should make their way onto this post.

She sure is a cute thing.  We'll work on the temper and bonding as we go along but we think that it is going better than we expected with a two and a half year old.  We're definitely ready to get home but will keep playing the Chinese waiting game for another week and a half.  We leave for Guangzhou on Friday.  

(At the orphanage visit)

Hopefully the computer situation will improve there as I know where there are internet cafes.

Lots of love to family and friends.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the updates on Lindy.  It's comforting to know she is fine until we return.

Take care for now.


Tuesday was a pretty relaxing day here.  In the morning, we just ate breakfast in the hotel and tried to load up on a few of the known foods - eggs, toast, noodles, and juices.  Most of the breakfast buffet is unknown quantities which we try to limit since you never know what type of bathroom will be around if you need it.  We walked around near the hotel which is quite an unusual experience.  Around the corner is a street full of vendors and lots of people.  There are a lot of Uyghers who bring out little grills and fire up roasted corn, meats, and all kinds of things.  We usually draw lots of stares and comments which we have no idea what they are saying. 

In the afternoon we went to the Provincial Museum which details the history of Western China.  Urumqi is along the Silk Road so that brings lots of things. The nearby desert preserved quite a few mummies dating back 2000-3000 years which were found recently.

Millie was a trooper.  She is still pretty headstrong so it's a little bit of a battle trying to manage behavior when all eyes are on you. She seems to be afraid of men and shopping carts and screamed her head off when we rinsed her hair during her bath.  We later found out that those are three things the nannies told us she didn't like.
Since Daddy is a man we're still trying to work our in.  We also found out that the girl can shovel the food in.  She can handle a fork as well as chop sticks but pretty much likes to put her mouth near her plate and shove it in.  We'll definitely have to limit her so she doesn't overeat.  Bedtime has gone well and she goes to sleep within about 15-30 minutes of going down.

Wednesday we are headed to visit the Orphanage and try to find out more about Millie.  Hopefully we'll get lots of info.  Thanks for all your prayers and notes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gotcha Day

Well we have Millie.  I know everyone just wants to see pictures but we are using the hotel business center and our picture resolution is too hi to upload.  I'll change the settings in one camera and get some photos uploaded soon.

We went to the Provincial center on Monday at aout 10:30.  As we drove up a lady from the  orphanage was also arriving with Millie so we got to see her right away and ride with her in the elevator up to the ninth floor.  She knew we were mama and baba as she had seen the picture book we sent.  She was beautiful and was in pretty good spirits.  She allowed Lisa to hold her but was afraid of Don.  She has a little temper and will let you know when she isn't happy although she doesn't fight too long and chills out pretty quickly.  She is quite a talker, is very determined when she wants to see something, and is very neat and orderly.  She is potty trained which is nice but she will only tell you she needs to go so we quickly had to learn to recognize that Chinese phrase. 

Overall the day was long as we completed all adoption paperwork and applied for her passport.  Now we get to relax for a few days, bond with her, and wait for passport pickup on Friday in order to head to Guangzhou.  Today (Tuesday) we are relaxing at the hotel and then going out this afternoon to tour a museum.  Urumqi is a very interesting place with all the various cultures. 

Thanks for all the emails.  I'm assuming there are some
blog comments but Blogger seems to be blocked here.  Off to work on smaller pictures.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


Well we finished up in Beijing and headed on to Urumqi.  It was about 4.5 hours away by air to the Northwest part of China.  When we landed it was pouring rain and about 48 degrees.  The hotel was supposed to be only about 30 minutes from the airport but with traffic and rain it took 2.5 hours.  Oh well.  We're here and get Millie at 10am on Monday morning. 

Can't wait.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We made it to Beijing

Ni hao from Beijing!  We made it to Beijing on Friday with no problems.  We were able to get a fairly decent night's sleep and filled up on a good breakfast before hitting the traffic and sights of Beijing.  Last time we did not have a chance to see the Forbidden City so we were thankful to have the opportunity to visit it today with a few thousand of our closest friends.  Our guide, Sue, took more pictures of us together than we have had in 19 years.  The area was much larger than we had imagined!  After that, we saw a Cloisonne factory, had lunch, and then went to the Great Wall--which we didn't know was on the itinerary again.  We worked off our big breakfast and lived to tell about it.  For some reason there is always a 90 year old woman climbing that gives that extra dose of inspiration or guilt.  Today there were old women AND a man with one leg climbing.  Like most places of interest and history there was some vandalism on the wall.  However, one of my favorite pictures of the day--although vandalism--pretty much sums how we feel.

Don is super happy because the hotel has ESPN and we were able to watch some baseball and hear which team the Rangers will be playing.  

Tomorrow we depart Beijing and travel to the city of Urumqi which is where Millie is.  We are getting closer to our girl.  

We miss home but feel your prayers.

We will post again when we have the chance!!!

Don & Lisa