June 22, 2008

Are we on the sun???

Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two - Matthew 5:41

Whoa, is it hot here or what? In the sun, I think it’s something like 184 degrees. It is so nice to be in Guangzhou where we can access our blog and add video (hopefully it will work) and check our email. We couldn’t do any of that in Zhengzhou. It was really weird, we would type in the address and it would re-route us to some Chinese website.

This morning we woke up and ate the traditional White Swan breakfast overlooking the beautiful, but high Pearl River. The river is full of seaweed and plants. There has been a lot of rain (30 days in a row before yesterday) in the south and flooding as well. There were many boats floating around with people picking seaweed out of the water. There’s no way people would want to swim in that water with all that seaweed…and we did see people swimming in it the last time we were here.

After breakfast, Sheehan, Josiah, and I went to the Chen Clan Academy Museum of Folk Art. It is a house dating back 100 years and is full of the original furniture and artwork that was typical of that time period. They had all these giant ivory carvings, which they now do on camel bone, to save the elephants. They had many carvings on the buildings in wood. They were very intricate. The coolest thing was the embroidery room. They had all these artworks that were embroidered. I actually thought they were paintings until I looked at them really closely. They even had people embroidered. I didn’t realize that embroidery could look like that.

Steve had a fever of 101 and wasn’t feeling well, so he stayed at the hotel. Helen, our Guangzhou guide, helped me with the boys. Sheehan is still sick, but seems well enough to be out…Steve wasn’t well enough to take care of him. After about 45 minutes at the academy, the boys were hot, tired, thirsty, hungry, and bored, so we left and we skipped seeing the temple and shopping. I figured I could shop outside the hotel for anything I need, since the people are sooo eager for us to buy anything and everything.

After we got back, we decided to walk to McDonald’s. We thought it was right off Shamian Island (where we’re staying), but it turned out that it was quite a ways down the street (unless we just didn’t find the close one). We asked a guy and he said to keep walking, it was in the Guangzhou plaza. We finally found it and there were actually two of them, plus a KFC, and a Papa John’s (my least favorite of all time pizza). We went to McD’s and again didn’t get what we ordered, but that’s ok, we were prepared and we ate well anyway. I got some chicken wings that turned out to be FIRE wings. Oh my goodness, they were SO hot! I only ate one and half before passing them off to Steve and then my head exploded. Thankfully, McD’s was air-conditioned b/c we were pouring sweat by the time we got there. It seemed to be about a mile walk. (Steve’s perspective … it was literally 100F, Sheehan was too tired to walk so he rode on Steve’s shoulders, all while Steve was dealing with his internal 100F temperature … it felt a lot longer than one mile L)

We found the Starbucks on Shamian Island, but were a little disappointed that everything costs about the same as in the U.S. Everything else here is ultra cheap, but our Starbucks bill (four Frappucinos (2 w/o coffee, of course) in various sizes) came to more than double our entire meal at McD’s!

Then we came back for a “nap.” Actually, Josiah napped. Sheehan kicked and screamed and cried until we finally gave up (about 1.5 hours) and played a video for him on the DVD player…unfortunately, he won’t be swimming tonight b/c of his tantrum, he’ll be shopping on the street with me.

I’m guessing that most of you (probably none) do not look at our blog in the middle of the night (which is our middle of the day), but the temperature/weather guage is currently reading 97 degrees! Hot!!! Definitely a good day for swimming and/or air-conditioning.

I hope we’re not leaving out too many details about Guangzhou. I think that b/c we have been here before and reported on it on this blog before we feel like we’re being redundant. If you want to read more about Guangzhou (probably not) then please go to our blog archive (right side of blog) and find September 2006. I actually just took my own advice and went back to look at our Sept. 06 post and saw that I even took some of the same pictures. Sheehan looking at fish (he was so little), a view from our room (we’re on the 15th floor this time), ducks hanging in windows, and I talked about how I was so sick the last time. The coffee shop we took a picture of, is now Starbucks, the same birds are in the White Swan cage, and Josiah is even wearing the same sandals that Sheehan wore the last time (which Fleurette wore even before Sheehan… I wonder if they’ll last another child?).

Also, this trip has felt more like a vacation to me. I actually thought that might happen since we’ve been to China before and kind of knew what to expect. Also, I’m not sick yet, so that could have a lot to do with it, plus it’s warm out. Being a new parent with Sheehan was really hard and I felt like there were so many unknowns when we first got Sheehan that I just wanted to be home, plus he grieved a lot more and was A LOT more demanding. Josiah is so easy and we feel like we have a little more knowledge about kids so things are pretty nice and I’m actually not counting down the days till we leave like I was last time. I’m looking forward to Disneyland and Victoria Peak in HK and I look forward to going swimming everyday here at the White Swan hotel.

Another thing different from last time is that we’re traveling alone. Last time, we were with a group in Beijing and in Guangzhou (we all separated to go to different provinces) of about 9 families. We had people to talk to and that was nice. I think that having Sheehan here (another American to talk to) has made us feel not so alone…is that weird? LOL! There are however, many Americans at the White Swan, as usual, who have adopted Chinese children, and we have had a few conversations with some of them. We met a couple from Madison, WI this morning. They adopted a cute 6.5 year old boy. Another little girl named Gracie, came up and started talking to Josiah at breakfast this morning. She was adopted years ago and her family came back to adopt her little sister. She was very outgoing and enjoyed playing with other kids. One disappointment is that the Swan Room is closed (the playroom). I had played up the playroom to Sheehan so much when we had to leave the “playroom” at the Hotel Sofitel in Zhengzhou and now we find out it is closed until after we leave. Oh well, more swimming I guess.

Did I mention (I honestly can’t remember) the lifebook that the orphanage gave to us about Josiah? It has 105 pictures in it from when they took him in until a month before we got him. Each picture is accompanied by a journal entry (all in Chinese, of course). We are very excited to get it home and get it translated. Anyone know anybody that can do that?
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  1. Anonymous3:24 PM

    In the early 60s I went to a showing of embroidery art in Virginia. One was of a women. We were told that the small pinkie finger nail had over 100 stitches. A lot of the women went blind doing this type of work. However, awesome and beautiful work. Can't wait to see you on SKYPE....love mom

  2. Christy S.9:46 PM

    Kate and Steve,

    Love following your journey. Wanted to say that you guys make parenting of 2 kids look so easy. We even took an extra adult with us to get our #2, and felt overwhelmed. I'm really proud of you guys and impressed.

    Your boys are so adorable. The Happy Birthday video is priceless. Josiah is picking up the language so fast. And Sheehan is such a great ge ge.

    Praying the rest of your trip is great and no more sickness!

    Christy, Josh, Mia, Ava and Kai

  3. Anonymous10:51 AM

    just a suggestion..try reloading SKYPE..lmom


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