Sunday, October 23, 2011

Photos of the journey home

This set of photos documents some of the steps we took to get home... starting with a train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong... Terrible photo taken from a bus, but I had to try to get an image of freighters unloading their wares in Victoria Harbor--beautiful in the dark.  Next you see sister enjoying a little expensive western food in the Regal Airport Hotel in HK--she got into all of it--french fries, steamed veggies, and hot milk.  Next you see her giggling during the 14 1/2 hour flight to Chicago.  As you leave the international terminal in Chicago they have this line of American flags--I was glad to see them.  Then you see us in the final leg of travel--here comes our greeting committee!!  

Why does this blog want to post the photos backward at times???!!!!! OK--just go from the bottom up then. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friends... we made it home safely.  Just a little too tired and busy to update.  Will download and post some photos tomorrow, jet lag willing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We made it to Hong Kong!  Managing luggage and figuring out how to properly board the train, go through Hong Kong immigration was a challenge---couldn't have done it without the help of our  guide and the families in our travel group.  Stayed the night in an airport hotel, managed check in and immigration at the airport, and now getting ready to board our flight to the US in a bit. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No new photos, but an update on our progress toward getting home.  We should have the last pieces of important paperwork in a few hours.  Then we will leave on a train for Hong Kong.  This should be an adventure, for sure.  Luckily a few of the families from our agency group will also be taking that part of our journey home, so we will have some company and a bit of a safety net. 

Consulate Appointment

The most important part of today cannot be seen in our photos, because one cannot take photographs at the American Consulate.  We had early morning appointments there today.  The families took an oath of honesty re: the citizenship materials provided on behalf of their children. Then each of us had our materials reviewed and signed paperwork. Sister was a very good waiter during that process--sat and drew until it was our turn and then waited quietly with me during our appointment. 

Now we are waiting for the visa and the necessary immigration paperwork to be completed and delivered tomorrow. 

After this big step, sister and I napped/worked, then went to Liu hua hu park--beautiful oasis in the middle of the city. 

Then our group took a boat cruise on the Pearl River.  Perfect weather, beautiful lights everywhere...a little tiring for sister.  We ordered and ate Papa John's pizza.  You can see the stadium from the Asian Games, all lit up.  I wish all of my family could have taken that cruise.

Though these photos insist on being out of order--the park was in the afternoon and the cruise in the evening. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

TB test assessment, Jade and Pearl Markets, Nanyun King Tomb Museum

Oohh... so difficult to get up in the morning!  Started off our morning by traveling back to the Visa Medical Center to have TB tests checked for all of the children in our group above age 2 years.  You'll see a photo of the beautiful Banyan trees lining that street.   Results were all OK, thank goodness. 

Then we went over to visit these huge jade and pearl markets.  You can see the layers of shops in one of the photos--this photo is of the pearl market.  See one of our agency staff members and a retail worker showing sister which shade of pearl compliments her skin color best!

See sister in our hotel room having our classic quiet snack lunch--she looks pretty happy about it.  After her nap and my work time, she and I ventured out to a nearby museum---when this hotel was being constructed, workers discovered an ancient tomb, undisturbed and full of artifacts, including a complete burial suit made of jade pieces.  You can see some of the bells found in the tomb and a cool dragon.  Sister sedately pushed her stroller around the museum and looked at the artifacts I pointed out.  I am finding that one indeed can take her anywhere!  

Read more about the King's tomb here. 

There is also a photo of sister by her favorite billboard-she loves looking at this little cartoon girl each time we pass it.   Tomorrow... the visa appointment... a very critical step toward sister coming to her new home and family. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today was a free day--while paperwork is processing.  Our agency sponsored a short morning outing to Bainyun Mountain--a local outdoor spot with a nice view of Guangzhou.  It's name means "White Cloud Mountain".  There were very large numbers of people out-walking up the mountain to have some of the famous sweet tofu dish that the restaurant serves.  The weather was perfect today--our guide says that this is the perfect time of year here, weather-wise, and that it only lasts for about 20 days---so people were out making the most of it. 

We saw a bird show on the mountain, then came home for sister's nap and mom's grading work, then to the rooftop play and relaxation area, and a nice dinner to finish up the day.  Sister is getting braver about walking and getting around now--very nice to see.  She was in a great mood all day--she is at her best in and around the hotel. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Visa Medical Exam

Today was a big accomplishment... photos taken for the visa and a required medical check.  Physicians at this clinic see people applying for a visa to the U.S. at 3 stations... ENT, temperature and vision, general medical.  The general physician took a good look at how sister's hand and leg were functioning and took her to a different room to consult with a colleague.  She did not enjoy any of this, but was willing and able to demonstrate her walking and hand use.  She was able to choose two pieces of candy after her tb test and this seemed to make it all worthwhile to her!  She took a well-deserved nap after it was over. 

She was also very well behaved at an all adult (except for her) paperwork meeting this afternoon after her nap.  

All of the families with our agency had a group dinner this evening to celebrate today's accomplishments---no pictures.  Mom was too busy enjoying all of the wonderful food to snap any photos--but you can see sister dressed up in her hat, on the way to dinner. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Zai Jian, Chengdu...

These pics may be in reverse--having a little trouble with the VPN this time around.  But you can see some of our last activities in Chengdu here... a little swim, a little shopping, a last look out the window, and this part of our family is traveling in different directions for now...we have the paperwork finished to move to our next processing step... in Guangzhou.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Panda Rescue and Breeding Center


Today our big outing was to the Panda Center.  Beautiful grounds, very peaceful.  Adorable pandas!
You'll see the classic panda as well as a photo of a red panda.  Big brother also took photos of the developmental stages of little pandas for his class--you can see that they are born without their black markings.  

Sissy showed us that she can really experience carsickness--on the way there and back.  See her sleeping in her Ba ba's arms?  She was game for the outing, though--really enjoyed the fish and the bears.  She threw some of her cheerios to the fish.  And since we saw those cheerios again in the car ride soon after, we think giving some (or all) away to the fish was the right decision!

You can also see the adoption registration office sign--did some additional paper work today too. Our last stop before heading back to the hotel was Sissy's finding place.  Bittersweet to see it--but she may be curious about it someday.  It's the third photo down from the bottom.

The evening ended with a pizza. Yum!