Good Morning – It’s day two for us here in China. We woke up in Beijing this morning and are packing up to head to Nanchang, Jiangxi later today. We are heading to the province where Eliza was born. She was born in the city of Nanfeng, but they will bring her about 3 hours to meet us in Nanchang late tomorrow afternoon as all adoptions take place in the capital city of the province where the child was born. So, we are off to Nanchang in a few hours. We will spend then night there tonight and then tomorrow around 4 p.m. on Sunday (China time) we will meet our beautiful baby girl for the first time.
Our trip has been amazing so far. The flight was as good as a 14 hour flight can be. The stewardess on our flight were very kind and took great care of us. But the 11th, 12th and 13th hours I thought would never end. But we arrived safe and sound. Our guide picked us up at the airport. His American name (which he picked out himself) was Justin. Super nice guy. He later told us in the car that he picked the name Justin because he loves Justin Timberlake. ha! It was truly amazing how much he knew about America. He had never even been to America, yet he knew all of the states and capitals. He had learned English from watching TV shows and what he knew about Alabama came from the movies – Forest Gump and Sweet Home Alabama. He was asking us all kinds of questions about racial relations in the south and whether we felt things were getting better. It was a very interesting conversation, and I felt bad about how little I knew about his country compared to what he knew about ours. He was a very sweet guide. He dropped us off at the hotel about 5 p.m.
Our hotel in Beijing is so beautiful. We are at the Novotel Beijing Peace hotel. Our room is super neat and has windows all around so we can see the city well from our windows. Our bed is hard but surprisingly we have slept GREAT! Our room came with the breakfast buffet, which totally rocked. They serve fried rice, noodles, cabbage, eggs, meats, waffles, pancakes along with all sorts of juices, coffees and cappuccinos. I LOVE their breakfast. I love Chinese food so getting noodles and fried rice for breakfast is my favorite thing.
So, I have to tell you about yesterday. We had the most amazing day. This was our one day to do any sightseeing before getting Eliza and boy did we learn a lot. Our guide was a sweet sweet lady named Lily. She was so sweet and knew TONS about every place we went.
This is Daniel in the hotel lobby in Beijing.
Lily, our guide, brought us our “Red Book”. This book had new updated pictures of Eliza and an update on the things she likes and doesn’t like. An update on her daily schedule. It also included a picture of Eliza with her foster family, which we will always treasure. When we saw Eliza’s new pictures it was all we could do not to ball crying. We hadn’t seen an update since December. She had grown so much and looked so beautiful. They had her in a cute little green coat. I think green is her color! It said that her foster family calls her “Mei Mei”. I hope that sticks as a nickname. Super cute! So this is us with the book our agency put together for us with all things Eliza.So, our first stop of the morning was The Great Wall. I wish I could adequately describe the beauty of this place, but I can’t do it justice. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The terrain of the mountains and the shear length of the wall – it is just breathtaking. We were so lucky. The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday. We had been worried about smog. There was no smog whatsoever. The sun was shining bright and their were blue skies. It was truly just a dream come true. I just kept saying to Daniel, “I can’t believe we’re here.” So, here are some pictures of our adventures at The Great Wall. Daniel made it up to the third tower and he said his thighs were majorly burning. ha! I didn’t make it far. I found out I am not great at really tall heights, especially when I look down and there isn’t much to hold on to. So, I came on down and just enjoyed the scenery and took a ton of pictures. I am so in love with this place and these people.
After The Great Wall we went to a jade market. The jade was so pretty. We got to watch the craftsmen create the jade pieces. It is a skill passed down from generation to generation here. I didn’t realize that jade came in so many different colors, but they had jades that were purple, blue, yellow, green and translucent. It was very neat. Then we went upstairs where we had a really nice family-style lunch. We ate with another family from our same adoption agency. We enjoyed Kung-pao chicken, cabbage, mixed vegetables, tomato soup, red bean paste spring rolls and sweet and sour pork. It was a very nice meal. Next we were off to Huotang Lane. This is Daniel and I exploring the older parts of Beijing on a Rickshaw. Our driver was super sweet. He had a big smile on his face the whole time and seemed to love driving us around. We got to see a supermarket where they had fresh vegetables (the carrots were giant), fruits, all kinds of meats (including chicken feet and liver and intestines) and fresh fish alive in the buckets. Really neat to see how they shop here.
We got to visit a home in the Hutong Lane area of Beijing. This home was super expensive. They said $30k US per square meter. She had beautiful furniture. The sofa we were sitting on was inlaid with jade. The chair was from the Ming Dynasty. The home was 200 years old and had passed down in her husbands family for years and years. She was very sweet. The kitchen was outside and so was the bathroom. They also had a neat courtyard where they ate outside. This is a VERY expensive house here. Most of the houses around don’t have bathrooms but they walked down the road to go to a public restroom. The wait in line each morning to use the bathroom. I was so glad we got to see this. The lady on the left is who owns the home.
Ok, after Hutang Lane we got to go to a Tea House where they let us taste all different types of Chinese teas. We tried Ginseng tea, black tea, green tea, jasmine tea and a really fruity one as well. I loved tasting all of these. Very fun!
Shortly after the tea ceremony, our guided took us to a theatre in Beijing where we got to see an acrobat show. It was the coolest EVER! Those girls could bend their bodies in ways I didn’t know was humanly possible. They did many circus type things. The coolest of all of them was a motorcycle show where 8 motorcycles were all in a big huge cage at once. They turned the lights out and the motorcycles and drivers had on lights. The motorcycles did loops all around each other. I kept covering my eyes in fear they would kill themselves, but they all lived. Whooh! That was intense. After the show, Lily took us to eat roasted duck, which only Daniel ate. ha! I just can’t do it. I just kept hearing a little duck quacking at me with each bite he took. Anyways, dinner was great. I had fried rice again. It is my go-to meal.
Well, that was a long, amazing day. We learned so much and just fell so in love with this beautiful place. I’m so glad we did this. We will have so much to share with Eliza about the beautiful people and country. We slept like babies last night. I think we were really worn out.
Tomorrow, is the big day. We meet Eliza tomorrow. I can hardly believe I’m typing that, but I pinch myself and I am really here…and this is really still happening. Please pray for her little heart. She is going to be so sad when she realizes that she is no longer with her foster family. The only people who have cared for her since she was born. Please pray for us that we will know how to comfort her and love her through the deep grief that she will more than likely experience. She is so precious and yet she has already been through so much. I guess the next time you hear from us we will be holding and loving our sweet angel. Thank you for the love, the prayers and well wishes. You guys are amazing. We could never have done this without all of you guys. You are our pray warriors and the best friends and family anybody could ever hope for.