Monday, May 22, 2017

US CONSULATE DAY

We don't have many pictures from this day. It was our US Consulate Appointment in the early hours of the morning. We weren't allowed to take pictures so I didn't even have my big camera. Cell phones aren't allowed either. So the only picture we have from this huge final step is a picture from outside of the consulate building. This was it though, our last big appointment, and I was really happy to be at this point in our adventure.

Being the camera girl that I am, I assumed I would be bummed that I didn't have my camera with me, but honestly it was kind of boring. We went in, we talked to the guy, and then bam, it was done. There was no turning back now--as soon as we had her US visa, we were officially going to take this baby to the United States. It takes a few days for the visa to be processed and the other families in our group were talking about what they were going to do the next day to pass the time. I was so relieved that we already had our full day scheduled to visit the orphanage. I was pretty much done sightseeing and I was so anxious to get our visit to the orphanage done.

That afternoon we all napped again. Then Stella and I went over to Vanguard to buy gifts for home and also for the orphanage. We were there a really long time, and I know Stella was annoyed with me. But we got some great gifts, including clothes and books for the kids in the orphanage.

When we got back to the hotel we took Vivi to the kid play area in our hotel to kill some time. Then we just hung out in our room. I felt a bit guilty that we weren't trying to see some amazing site, but it was raining and it was really not appealing to me to go drag Vivien anywhere. So we just hung out. I can't remember what I made the girls for dinner, but Brent went over to the mall again by himself and had a great tepanyaki dinner. (Though I had it the next day and it wasn't as good.) I suppose being lazy is okay. Vivi needed some down time. I think we all needed some before we left for our orphanage visit in the morning.











VIVI THE TOURIST

Today the plan was to be taken to Yuexiu Park. I honestly wasn't that interested in the idea. Going to a park sounded kind of lame to me considering we were in China, but this ended up being my all-time favorite morning. I loved seeing all of the signs of life in the park. There were so many groups of older people dancing, playing a hackysack game, or exercising on all of the equipment there. We started off seeing the Five Rams statue. It is a touristy thing to mark off of a Guangzhou visitor list. But what interested me the most was watching all of the other tourists. As we were walking down from the statue I saw these three older ladies that had selfie sticks and they couldn't figure out how to use them. They were hilarious and charming to me.




The park had beautiful flowers that were growing along the old Guangzhou city wall. This wall was built in 1380 and most of the old city wall has since been demolished, but this section has been preserved.


We stopped off at a very small playground and let the kiddos play for a minute.


After this playground we walked down to another one, but the it didn't really interest me at all. What I loved was watching all of the older people exercising. There was also this adorable group of ladies that was dancing to beautiful Chinese music. Vivi loved watching them and they LOVED performing for her. We were so used to people being interested in Stella by now, but here this huge group of Chinese men and women were interested in both girls. They were so interactive and curious about our family and about the girls. They wanted to know how old they were and why we were adopting a girl if we already had one. We did have our guide with us to help translate, but I found so much of the interaction was non-verbal. They were all so friendly and warm. Americans are just not like that. We are so closed off that this warm, curious moment would never happen in the United States. I love the overall hearts of the Chinese people. That moment at the park made me think I must be part Chinese, because I loved it so much.






We then walked through a very pretty part of the park. We came across a man who had a giant camera. When I had Stella stop and pose he snuck a picture of her. Then he was very excited to show it to us. I was charmed again.





Then we came across one last beautiful thing. These men paint and practice old Chinese characters using water with these HUGE paintbrushes. They paint poems. It might be one of the prettiest things I have ever seen in my whole life. In general the Chinese don't seem to mind when you sneak and take their picture, but one of these men DID NOT like it when I did it, to the point that he stopped painting. But I still got a few pretty shots in there. I could have sat and watched them do this for a long time.

We left the park then. And I was in such a delightful mood. What a charming and amazing morning.

Vivi and I took a nap. Brent took Stella down to the hotel gym and they were gone for a very long time for Stella to exercise. She loved it, and I know she enjoyed having that one-on-one time with her dad.

We decided to take another metro adventure and find the Temple of Six Banyan Trees. Vivi did better on the metro as long as she had some food in her hands. (If you look at the pictures you will see that she has a banana in her hand in all of them.) When we got off of the metro it was raining a little and it was a bit chilly. The temple was a really pretty place and it was also small so it didn't take us very long to explore. There were several monks walking around as well. I love going to these ancient sites that are still used by the people that live there. The main structure is called the Flower Pagoda and it was originally built in 1097. When we came in they gave us some incense and so Stella did burn some so she could get the full Buddhist temple experience. Vivi and Stella were being pretty adorable together and I got some great pictures of them.


























We headed home and then went to Papa John's again for an early dinner. We were all pretty tired and grumpy and went right to bed because we had to be up very early the next morning for our US Consulate Appointment. Vivi probably stayed awake in her crib for about two hours before she fell asleep, but she just hung out happily while the rest of us got ready and fell asleep ourselves.

One thing that is notable about Stella at this point is that she somehow became incredibly clumsy. She was getting hurt ALL the time. I think it was because she was so tired each day. Vivi also was quick to get angry. We never really knew what was going to set her off and it started to get very frustrating to me. It was amazing how thin my patience was on this day. I think I felt like we had been gone for so long, like so much had changed​, and the home stretch was in sight.

Overall though we saw some beautiful things and it was a good day.