Friday, June 29, 2007

Shopping in GZ

In the lobby of White Swan. It really is a lovely hotel, despite my complaints from last night. The 1st floor buffet is to the left of this picture.

Walk out the front door of White Swan. Cross a very small street. Cars are not insane in this area and you will be just fine. Right across the street are the "Ladies Names Shops." Lucy's, Susan's, Jennifer's. That's where you can take your laundry and do some shopping. Here is a pic of us standing on that street, looking back to the White Swan Hotel. The shop behind Matt also offers those services but we did not go there yet. The White Swan is to the left of where Matt is standing.

I have never seen pics like this is any of the adoption blogs. I hope this helps future travelers. I plan on posting much more.
A typical scenario. People stop to shake Juna's hand. When they speak to her in Mandarin, she breaks into a huge grin. She misses the tones. I think all parents should learn a little Mandarin for speaking to the babies. They really do understand. What they don't "get," is made up by the familiarity and comfort of hearing a language they've heard spoken since birth. Just a few simple phrases is all you need. I often ask Chinese women to speak to her just so I can see her reaction. And react she does!
Standing in front of Jennifer's place, looking back to the White Swan hotel (not in the picture, but to the right of this picture.)

I just got an email from my friend Sam, who lives here in Guangzhou. He asked what kind of cake to order for Matt's dinner tonight.

His birthday dinner.

I sat here and went, "Oh my god. I forgot my husband's birthday!!!"

Matt was out getting us some lunch. He came in and again, I cried. I have cried so much on this trip! Wu wu wu wu wu wu wu.

He looked shocked. Huh? It's my birthday? Wu wu wu wu turned into shew shew shew shew!

I am blogging a lot today, huh! Hey, the baby naps a lot, thanks goodness.

The baby passed her medical exam, just fine. The doctor was worried about the now disappearing boil on her arm. Matt assured him, via translator, that she had it in the orphanage. He seemed relieved to hear that, as he did not want her to give it to the other babies. And then he said she needs to drink water, as her throat is very sore. Otherwise, she got the ok, health wise, to leave China.

After the medical exam, we headed out to the shops around the hotel. Everyone talks about them on the various adoption blogs. Jennifer's Place. Lucy's Place. Susan's Place. They stand outside and hand out fliers on laundry prices and try to get you into the store. Lucy has the best location. She's first on the block. Plus, she is not pushy, which I loved. I handed her my bags of laundry and said I would wander the store. She left me alone, which is amazing. Other shop keepers are very pushy here.

She got my business just based on her friendly, no hassle attitude. I bought a gorgeous Chinese silk robe for myself in blue. Going back for a red one later. Getting one for Marge, don't tell her! Got a special something for one of you reading this, but my keyboard is sealed! haha. Most of these stores carry traditional Chinese dresses for girls. Lucy's has the Chinese silk traditional top with a tutu skirt. Guess who got several of those?

In Nanchang, I had a wedding dress made for next year, as it is our ten year anniversary and we plan to renew our vows. Not sure if I mentioned it yet or not. It's brown with silver trim, very lovely. With my recent weight loss, it's already too big. I need to find a Chinese tailor in our city! So not traditional Chinese wedding dress, as it is not red and poofy, but it works for me. Today at Lucy's, I bought matching traditional red dresses for the girls for the wedding in the appropriate sizes. Next to the brown, it will be stunning.

These little shops let you borrow strollers. So we put June Buggy in the stroller and headed down to Jennifer's, where we bought a suitcase for loading up our souvenirs. You can get a suitcase for about 7 USD.

Got back to the hotel and totally confused a Chinese man. He saw Juna and said, "She looks so Chinese, how is that?" He was looking from Matt to me and back again. A lady came up to him and explained in Mandarin that we adopted her. He started laughing and then the group that had gathered exploded in laughter. The man was embarrassed. I told him thank you for thinking I was pretty enough to be an Asian beauty, hahaha. The crowd wanted to stare and comment about Juna for about ten minutes. That is normal here. If you don't like crowds or being the center of attention, stay in your room.

The people on the streets in GZ are very friendly to the Americans. In Nanchang, we confused them. They are not used to seeing us and they were so baffled. Here, they smile and wave and speak English. It's a much different scenario.

If you are an outgoing person, you won't get anything accomplished here. If you are chatty like me, and can talk to anyone, you will spend most of your time talking on the streets to so many wonderful people. From the other adoption families to the locals. And I'm not even a tall blonde. Imagine if I had that going for me. I'd never get to my room! If I had gone with Katie, as our LID dates had originally planned- oh imagine that. Katie, if you are reading this, imagine the attention we'd attract! (Katie is blonde.) And we both talk talk talk talk talk and laugh very loudly and talk with our hands and are very expressive. Tee hee, that would have been a blast.

My western burger and fries for lunch tasted awful. I am looking forward to my traditional Chinese meal and cream birthday cake tonight.

Off to the Jade market. Five stories of pearls and jade and bargaining to be done. Oh, we got some excellent deals in the local shops. A big smile and friendly attitude goes a LONG way when it comes to bargaining, I have found.

Or maybe even the Chinese cannot resist my charms.

Hey, don't be impressed by my weight loss based on the pic I posted. The camera was held up and I was tilting my head just right. I know how to pose for a camera, people. Especially if I want to look ten pounds lighter. And yes, I will get one of me and the baby. The problem is that I'm the photographer in the family.

Someone described my hair as being very Louise Brooks. With the humidity and no round brush or styling products, I would agree.

You know I'll be back with more. I am so glad you are enjoying all these details. I am having fun sharing them with you. And of course, I will love printing these pages for Junie Bug's scrapbook. Oh- she's doing this thing now where she pats my face and goes, "Ahhhh! Ahhhhh! AHHHHHHH!" Then she tries to pull my hair or take off my glasses while screeching AHHHHHHH. If I repeat it back, she will say it again. We sing song it back and forth, back and forth. She also smiles the instant she sees me. So different from the baby who wouldn't make eye contact with me on Gotcha Day. Now she stares deeply into my eyes and pats my face. Amazing that it hasn't even been one week.

I hope someone reading this blog becomes sold on the idea of adoption. If I could convince just one random person out there to consider adoption, I will feel so proud. I will feel like I am paying it forward.

Can you love an adopted child as much as a biological? Can you look into the eyes of a baby of a completely different race and see yourself looking back? Can you your heart melt from a baby that came from someone other than you and your sig other?

I hope my experience can show that the answer to all of those questions is yes. YES YES YES oh heck yes.

I'm so glad we are doing this. I'm so glad our answer was yes.


Britney and Jack said...

Happy Birthday, Matt!!!

Three, on the verge of four said...

Hi - I posted a comment last night, but I think you must have been in the midst of editing your post, as now I don't see it!

Anyway, the pic of Matt with the store behind it? That is the Home of Love shop. If you have a chance, can you just pop in there and ask for Coco (she's an adorable Asian beauty), and tell her that Kevin, Lisa, Emma, and Sophie said hello. She should remember us. If she doesn't seem to, remind her that she was going to make a silk dress for Kevin! Alas, he ended up with a custom-made jacket instead. They have the Chinese dresses in there for the girls for only 35 yuan!!! I bought a lot there! Coco was so sweet and such a good saleswoman.

Three, on the verge of four said...

Oh, and a huge Happy Birthday to your husband!!!

tubelessstl said...

Happy Birthhday to The Rev! And you getting married again with the girls there... oh so fun. I can't wait to see pictures of you all in your dresses. What will Matt wear?

Arlene said...

You have totally inspired me to start consdering adoption again. I wishI could save them all!! Ack!