Friday, August 31, 2012

July 25

This day we would hop back on the bus and head to the American Consulate to do the Visa swearing in. I had no idea what that meant, I just knew that it had to be done in order to get Lyric's American Visa.  I figured if many, many adoptive parents before us had done it, it couldn't be that bad, right?

Good morning, Q-Boo!

"Can you believe they’re making me wear this head band?" 

Crowded and chaotic, as usual. :)

 "Seriously, how cute does a girl have to be to get an American Visa, around here?" 

It turned out that the swearing in was easy. We stood together, in mass, and swore that the information we'd given was correct.  Next, we answered some questions as individual families. And, voila, done! Now, we'd wait until the next afternoon to receive the Visa, shortly after that we'd catch an airplane to Hong Kong, spend the night, and then catch our flight back to the States. I was too tired to be too excited.

First, we had to head back to the hotel.

Everybody needs naps, obviously.

And nap, we did. I fell asleep with my little sweetie on the couch and when we woke up, the three of us watched dumb chick flicks in the hotel room for the rest of the afternoon. It was actually sorta fun.

The enormity of what we'd done over the last couple of weeks had begun to settle
in and we were just so worn out. All of us.

Later that day, we went into downtown Guangzhou via taxi to find stuff that we needed for Lyric. This meant that we had to navigate by ourselves “off the grid” in the city, we just struck out, hoping that we could find what we needed and then find a taxi back to the hotel.  After the fact, it was sorta fun. Exhausting but fun. "Exhausting" seemed to have become our theme by this point.

Dinner was via a restaurant in the hotel. I kept thinking,
This is our last night in China, we should do something else for dinner
and then my brain would answer my heart,
Are you kidding me? I'll be lucky to find my way back upstairs. hahaha

There's that handsome daddy-man.

"Seriously, do not try this at home...

...I am...

...a professional!"

I jotted this down in my notes on the computer that night :

"So close to leaving, tomorrow.  I find myself becoming emotional, tonight.  How is it that they’re really going to let me leave China with her?  She really IS my daughter. I feel like I've fought for her and earned the right to love her. Get out of my way, she’s going HOME with me. :)  Also, feeling very emotional about seeing the boys, I have MISSED them. Ironically, I feel afraid that I’ll lose control and sob when I see them, freaking them totally out, just like I was afraid that I’d lose control and freak out Lyric.  I just can’t wait to see them."

“As excited as I am about seeing them (the boys) I am just as sick of being here.” –K-Man

I agreed. I just wanted to go home but I felt like there was so much more to see in China. Like, if I’d seen Washington DC, Nashville, and NY City, I’d still feel like there was so much more to see in the US.  I wanted to come back but first, I wanted to GO HOME!

<gulp!> We leave TOMORROW for HOME!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

July 24

This day we decided to take it easy. We slept in until 9:30am ...

While in China, sleep was the main issue for Lyric. Sleep takes trust and being able to relax, two things that she did NOT have an abundance of. It's hard to chill out when you have to be on guard every moment that those closest to you, don't leave you.  We'd developed a routine, I'd sing to her, put her to bed with a bottle and then take a shower with the door open so she could see me. (I am sure that there were more perfect ways to do this but I swear, by this point, I was so exhausted that this just had to be enough.) Usually, by the time I'd get done, she was either completely asleep or calmed down. Sometime in the middle of the night, while in some sorta sleep deficient coma, I'd drag her into the bed with us.  It seemed like all night long, she'd fidget and whine, if I could wake up and get it to her soon enough, her bottle (she used it like a pacifier) would calm her down.  If that didn't work then she'd need me to pat and kiss her face and talk to her (sometimes she'd pat my face and that would calm her down- K-Man told me that once, after we'd come home, he'd walked into our bedroom to find us asleep, my hand on the side of her face, her hand on my hand.)   She always woke up "hard"- she'd cry and cling to me, she'd usually refuse to get out of my lap - and we'd sit together for a LONG time. K-Man made the heart-breaking point that it was very possible that, in her dreams, she was back with her foster family, that she was happy, and then she'd wake up to reality and find us.  Ai yi yi!

 But, at some point, usually after her bath, 
she'd perk up and then we'd say, “Lyric has arrived.” 

After that, she was all sorts of cheerful and happy and very talkative. 

She LOVED her red sandals with the fabric ties….I thought her feet were too big for them 
but she loved them.  She whined to get dressed that morning and wanted those shoes ON.

...and then decided to head to the museum just down the block from the hotel.  It seems that while digging into the earth, to build the China Hotel, (where we stayed) they'd found artifacts 2000 yrs old and we were really excited to go see them. The artifacts were, in fact, from the tomb of a King who'd lived during the Han Dynasty .  Typhoon Vicente (on this side of the world it would have been known as a "hurricane,") which was wrecking havoc in Hong Kong, was making our lives a bit inconvenient, as well. Well, more wet than inconvenient. :)

This was the building from street level.

But you actually had to go to the rooftop to start the tour.

And, then go down into the tomb.

Here's the surface view, the tomb is underneath this ceiling.

Here's the artist drawing of how the tomb and its contents were laid out.

It was very interesting to me, that it reminded me so much of an Egyptian tomb. The dead King was wrapped in a Jade covering (pics later on) and everything he could possible need in the afterlife had been left or sacrificed with him. (See above "artist drawing," the human shapes are the concubines, court officials, guards, etc who were sacrificed to accompany the King into the next life.) It was ironic, to me, that they kept using pyramid shapes in the exhibit. Here, we are about to go into the next building to see the contents of the tomb. Arbitrary A-Girl Note: Flip flops get very slippery when they are wet.

This was the burial covering of the king.  It was made of small Jade discs all sewn together.  He was also laid on several much larger Jade discs and more were found in strategic places around his body and inside the tomb.  The whole thing was just very, very fascinating.

While we were there, a lady stood back, watched Lyric for a bit, and then smiled and said, 可爱 or cute  in Chinese. I said 谢谢 or  thank you  back to her.  I'd understood what she said and answered easily without thinking about it.  That was a “wow” moment.

They found the remains of at least one horse and horse-drawn vehicle in the tomb,
these are the remains of the head stall and bridle used on the horse.
Of course, I found that very intriguing.

These pictures do not do justice to the whole exhibit but, as you know, pictures of stuff in exhibits get old fast, so we shall move on. To lunch.

Lunch consisted of whatever we could find at the hotel -  the Prime Steak House on the fourth floor. I was just too tired to venture out.

I hate to think of how many noodles we left on/in that couch.

Dessert, yum. I could NOT get Lyric to try ice cream,
she'd eat the cone but the ice cream was just too cold.
(We no longer have this problem. :) )

She was sorta into straws, as well.

K-Man asked me, while we were at lunch, just how I'd describe our China trip so far. I'd stared at him, feeling a little speechless, where to start?
 “I agree,” he'd said.
(I wonder, how many times have I typed the word "wow" in this blog? Redundant, I am sure, but no other word quite captures it. :) )

We watched the Chinese music video station that afternoon as Lyric loved the Tv and music.  The dancing and the music reminded me of Michael Jackson and the boy bands of the 80s –in fact, we saw a video where the faces were painted black and white, very KISS-esque.

That evening we and the California Family braved the rain of Typhoon Vicente to find a 
restaurant to eat dinner. Going to eat in the community always felt so much more authentic than eating in the hotel restaurants.

K-Man ate sushi. 

In China. 

He survived.  :)

Lyric, however, threw up every bit of the weird drink she’d been drinking and the noodles that she’d eaten moments before. There was nothing I could do but watch it happen as I was pinned into a corner, couldn't get up, and didn't really want to announce it to the whole restaurant. K-Man went and got "help," our help took one look at the mess, disappeared, and came back with LOTS of napkins. It was the most paper products I'd seen on our whole trip. hahaha (They didn't seem to believe in paper products. We almost always had to hunt down more napkins, paper towels etc with our meals.) We took off Lyric's dress and continued with our meal.

It was "uji" hahaha and we laughed because the only thing that we could read,
in English, on the back of the bottle was the word, "cancer."'  And, hmmmmmmm.

California Dude kept us laughing, also, by telling us about his run-in with prostitutes the night before, on his way to McDonald's.

“You want to have fun with girls, red wine, and cocaine?” 

I was so glad that they were so laid back and easy going...or maybe we'd all just left "crazy" so far behind by that point that nothing phased us anymore. It was a toss up. ;p

We went to sleep that night knowing, Tomorrow we go to the American Consulate to do the Visa swearing in.  Next, we wait for Lyric's American Visa and then, we GO HOME! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

July 23

On this day, I realized that Lyric had been our daughter for one week and oh, how we loved her.  So much had happened and our hearts had mysteriously grown so big, so quickly -just big enough to engulf Lyric. <smile>

I love this sweet little smile on her face.

We went back to the medical building to check the TB skin tests (negative, of course.) It was 1/2 way to the Guangzhou Safari Park and so we had the option to go ahead and go to the zoo or catch the subway back to the hotel. By this point, I was tired. I had a two-year-old whose behavior was much better but still sorta iffy and who would most likely, at only 2, be pretty oblivious to the whole thing. I had SEEN zoos, I'd been to the Atlanta Zoo (multiple times) and the San Diego Zoo and many more in between.  In fact, the Atlanta Zoo has a breeding program so I'd seen all sorts of Panda Bears, from babies all the way up to big adult ones. :)  (In 1999 the United Parcel Service (UPS) airlifted two pandas - loaned from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding -  from Beijing to Atlanta.) I mean they ARE cool but...have I mentioned that I was tired?   BUT there would be other adult people there, people who easily spoke English and who understood what it was like to be miles away from home with a new child and... I REALLY didn't feel up to navigating the subway system back to the hotel. So, we went but honestly I just went for the company.

Then we got there, and um...WOW!    It was the largest zoo in all of China and, somehow I missed this in the actual name of the place, but it was much less "zoo" and much more "safari park."  Lyric did really well. We, of course, still felt like one of the exhibits. hahahaha We had a running joke of betting that the Chinese had to pay extra to get in when there were foreigners to view. hahahahahaha 

Yes, she's screaming. I put her down, didn't I?  :)

We rented that stroller to put the stuff in, I knew it when we did it.
I brought the Ergo to put Lyric in.

Anyway, if you like zoo pictures, enjoy.  (Well, I did add some "witty" comments and a few pictures of us just to spice it up, a bit. :) )

If I HAVE to be an animal in a zoo, I would pick to be a small primate in THIS zoo.
They had the whole run of the place 

and just climbed around and checked the tourists out. 

Yes, it was THAT hot.

Every imaginable Panda item was for sale in the Panda House Gift Shop.

Work it, Mr. NC!

Mr. NC, you didn't buy that hat?

Do I really have to tell you what she had for lunch?
(Look closely, that is a spear of broccoli in her hand 

AND she is sitting in the stroller!)

I just really LOVE this picture.

Lil' NC was such a cutie!

Yep, oblivious - MUCH more interested in her "jewels."

Done and headed home. Lyric actually put her hands out to her dad on the bus ride home and went to him on purpose. She used him to get down to the floor but still, she was really coming along.

Yes, there is a video that goes with this.
No, it won't load.
You've seen the "Bonus" so just imagine that
..with Panda hats.  :)

As much as I enjoyed the zoo and I really did enjoy it, my favorite part of the day was "after" in the hotel room.  Lyric and her dad played and played.  At one point I tried to join in and it was "explained" to me by the cute little two-year-old in the room, in no uncertain terms, that this was a Baby Girl/Daddy moment and to go find something else to do. hahahahahaah She was FUNNY and she could TALK! She just babbled along in some sorta Hepu/Mandarin?/Baby Talk language.  We had no idea what she was saying but she was so CUTE.

What you can not tell right away is that they are on "cell phones."
They'd hold their hands up to their ears and talk away.
He'd say just enough to keep her going. hahahahahahaha
We have a video of this (and one of her lying on the couch that is hysterical)
and she got more and more intense as she talked until
finally she dropped the "phone" and was gesturing with both hands at whomever was unlucky enough to be on the other end
of that phone call. Oh, K-Man and I laughed at her.

Regardless of the fun, we were becoming more and more ready to go home.

I wrote this in my notes on the computer that night:

"This is getting REALLY old. I miss my boys. I just miss them."

"We’re ordering Papa John’s tonight, we are that worn out and that tired of Chinese food."