Tuesday, August 21, 2012

July 20

Today we'd leave Nanning, Guangxi and fly to Guangzhou, Guangdong.

We had an appointment at the American Consulate there and we couldn't miss it.  Just one little problem, we didn't have Lyric's passport yet.  <nods head> Yep, this is international travel.  There was talk about giving us a piece of paper that would suffice and then they would overnight it to us.

Okay.  Whatever works, let's just go!

Little Sweetie, all dressed and ready to go, including "pretty shoes."  (Pictures to the left. ) Yep, she was watching Tv and nope, I would not miss it. We were told, when we got her, "If she fusses or is unhappy, just turn on the Tv. She loves to dance and sing and watch."  Yes, it was true. And it made perfect sense, it was the only thing that stayed "normal" for her. It saved our butts numerous times, particularly when we were doctoring her tummy. But I was tired of the constant drone.  I really hoped that the transition to "less Tv" would be easier than harder when we got home. ( In Nanning, Chinese Tv had some American channels -HBO? THIS is what they think of us?- a French channel, a channel with old traditional Chinese stories, a wacky kids' channel, and more channels with old traditional Chinese stories. :) I will NEVER watch SpongeBob Square Pants again without repeatedly telling everyone in the room, "You know, this actually seemed to make sense in Chinese."  <all kids groan and roll their eyes>  "Yes, Mom! WE KNOW." hahahahahahaha)

Then, that afternoon, cutting it a little too close for my taste, we received her passport.

This little red book is what all the waiting was about.
I was fascinated with this thing.  My baby, a citizen of another country.

Yep, she was taken for passport photos several weeks before we got there,  
when she had a little more hair.

We also got a copy of the picture, taken on Gotcha Day, of all  of us, that would be used for immigration paperwork. I think it has "6" on it because that's how many shots it took to get one where she wasn't crying because K-Man was too close to her or wasn't trying to push him away. :) Poor K.

On this day, when I put Lyric in her Ergo, she bounced her arm up and down and said, "Bye-bye!"  Little Girl is smart. (Lately, she says "Bye-by! See ya!")

Finally, on our way to the airport.

We arrived at the airport and prepared ourselves for a whole 'nother kind of adventure. Flying in and out of country was one thing, flying within the country was another. It was crowded, we were usually the only foreigners on the flights, very few people spoke English, and our guides couldn't go with us past security so it felt much more "on your own."  We finally found our gate, hoping desperately that the overhead speaker that rattled on in Chinese had nothing to do with us or our flight  ( they told us that if everybody at our gate moved, to go with them, that would mean that the gate had changed.)  We searched for three seats together and Lyric, who was also tired and overwhelmed, decided that she wanted to get down and go waltzing through the VERY crowded walkway.

<sigh> Hold your ears.

Crowds of Chinese turned and stared  as we walked by...

(I've got to tell you that, after our previous evening on the street in Nanning, my embarrassment level was much lower. I was less Lyric, please be quiet and more like Yes, I have a screaming two year old -yes, she's mine - and if you don't like it, you don't have to fly on the plane with us. hahahahaha)

...and as I pulled her back to my seat, out of oncoming traffic, over and over. Most of them were very nice and laughed at her (or me, trying to contain her.)  Finally,  K-Man said, "Let me have her," and I looked at him like, are you nuts?  But he nodded his head and walked off with her. Down the walkway they walked, her mouth open, screaming, and her little legs kicking fruitlessly in the air. They made the round and then he brought her back to me. He plopped her into my lap and she sat there, quiet - thankful, just to be back in my arms.

<giggle> Apparently,  Good Cop - Bad Cop, like Cheerios, is universal.

Not too long after this, I realized that she was trying to reach out and grab other people's buckets of noodles and I realized, Poor baby is HUNGRY.   So, K-Man bought her a bucket of noodles and we sat and laughed at her as she fed them to herself.

By this point, we'd figured out that our flight had been delayed.  Thankfully, the Italian couple that we’d met at the hotel found us in the melee and asked if we'd like to come sit with them at a table in the coffee bar. Yes, please!  Their flight to Beijing was also delayed ( the Italian consulate is in Beijing)  so we sat and talked - broken English - with them until they left on their flight. I will no longer whine about trying to communicate in China. I spoke in my native language to someone (our guide) who spoke English as a second language. Not super easy.  THEY spoke in a non-native language (English) to a guide who also spoke English as a second language. Wow and wow some more.

Sitting in the airport with our friends from Italy. This was the little boy
who bit his mom when she got too close. (He was getting better with her...but getting worse with his dad.) They were taking it in stride, what else could they do?  That baby boy was in full -on survival mode and
it would just take him a while to figure out that he was safe and that all of his needs would be met without him having to fight for them.  
These kids are survivors. And very, very brave. 
Pretty much, the same can be said for their new parents. ;p

About an hour after we'd watched our Italian buddies board their flight, K-Man got up to check on ours. He was gone a looooong time. When he came back, he said, "They're taking us to a hotel."   Um,what?  "They're putting us on a bus and taking us to a hotel. The flight is delayed indefinitely and the plane that they want to use for our flight is still in Beijing (a 2 1/2 hour flight) so they're taking us to a hotel."

 Which hotel? What about our luggage?  How will we "doctor" Lyric without our supplies? Will any one speak English?  How will we know where we are? How will we get back to the airport?  Help!

We had so many questions and when got to the bus, our "contact" put us in contact via WALKIE TALKIE with someone who spoke very limited English - that little black speaker was buzzin' and cracklin' and all I could think was this is gonna make a very bad episode of  "Lost Abroad."  ( Well, if it's not a reality show, it should be. :) )

So, we found ourselves sitting (and sitting) on a crowded bus, the only English speakers on board, taking stock of our "situation." Our cell phones didn’t work in Nanning (yes, we checked and they were supposed to) and all our emergency numbers were in a blue bag in the belly of the bus, there was talk about us having to spend the night in a hotel, (what sorta hotel would an airport put people in?) The Majestic was the only 5 Star hotel in Nanning and we weren’t headed back there. We had no way to treat Lyric’s tummy - all of that stuff was packed in our checked luggage (we had the nominal amount allowed by airport regs in our carry-ons but that wouldn't get us far.)

Half an hour later (? felt like HOURS) another American got on the bus with her newly adopted daughter AND her guide. He knew Glen, our guide, and called him, Glen would meet us at the hotel. <deeeeep sigh>

Finally, that bus rumbled to life and we proceeded toward the hotel, I didn't care where it was, all I could think was Glen will be there and there's a dude who speaks English sitting right in front of me. (I will always be shocked and amazed at the courage of people who leave everything that they know behind, go to a country whose language and customs they do not know, and successfully make a life.) About 20 minutes into the trip, an airplane became available and they turned the bus around.

Our new American friend and her daughter, back in the terminal, between the bus ride and boarding the  plane. Yes, they fed us AND were going to put us up in a hotel.  Do you remember airline customer service like this in the States?  
Yeah, me neither. <sarcasm>

On an interesting and very wonderful note, everywhere that we went, Chinese, who were just as tired, irritable, and worn-out as we were, got up to give their seats to me and Lyric. And, refused to take no for an answer.  They'd point at their seats, I'd shake my head, "No."  They'd get up and stand. I'd very gratefully say, "Xie, Xie" ("thank you") and sit our tired bodies down.  It way more than made up for that fussy lady at the Science Museum, the night before.

So, if I give her a bottle, she'll sleep on the plane, right?

No, but she was quiet and happy and we WERE IN THE AIR.

"Bye, bye Nanning!"  I did have an emotional moment when I realized that we were really taking her with us, that this was the farthest she'd ever been from her birthplace, and that sooner, rather than later, we'd be seeing the boys.  But I was too tired to keep up the feeling for long.

So, we finally arrived in Guangzhou, at 10 pm - five hours late. There was no one there, to meet us.

We stood in the slowly emptying airport and waited.  I shifted Lyric in her Ergo and suddenly I felt a very warm, very large, liquid flood my pants and then I heard it splash onto the floor. Soggy underwear is no fun but when it's not your "soggy," it's even more ewwwww. (This makes sense, now, with what the doctors have told us.  It seems that her catheter is, for all intensive purposes, clogged. Her urine fills her bladder, it stretches -like it's supposed to- and when it's full and something puts pressure on it, well, think water balloon, right through the area around the catheter.  There's not a diaper on the planet that can contain that explosion, even if it's wrapped around her sideways. :) )   I literally heard myself, singing inside my own head,  It is sterile. Sterile. Sterile. Sterile! Ster- i-le!  Didn’t help the ewwww factor much. hahahaha

Kenny asked,  "What do we do?"   I looked at the puddle on the floor and said, “Just scoot over!” hahahahaha  "And, call somebody to come get us!"  Our phones DID work in Guangzhou and we'd managed to locate our emergency numbers so we called our agency contact who called our driver-he was taking a nap in his van because the airport had told him we wouldn't be getting in for several more hours. Mercifully, he whisked us away to our hotel.

We got there at 1am, got Lyric’s bath, tummy treated and diapers changed and got in the bed at 3am . We had to be downstairs –Lyric up, washed, treated, changed and fed- to go to Visa Medicals at 10am the next morning.

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