Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So.... um...there's a tree on my house.

     So... um... there's a tree on my house.  Apparently, in Ohio, there are hurricanes.... without water.  Within a very large radius of our house, I guess there is mass destruction from Ike! Schools are closed, stores are closed, etc..  It's great when your in CHINA and someone writes on your blog and tells you a tree fell on your house!:-)
     The good news... no one was hurt.  We'll deal with the carnage when we get home.  That's something to look forward to after a 25 hour trip home!  WELCOME HOME!
     I forgot to mention that when we were driving onto the island on Saturday, I saw a glorious sight.  STARBUCKS!!  After the worst coffee ever to be had in Nanning, I was afraid the Starbucks was a mirage, but it's real and it is one of the most beautiful Starbucks I have ever seen.  It looks like it should be sitting in Charleston, SC.  It has a massive porch with comfortable seating... if comfortable is 90 degrees and 100% humidity.  Anyway, the coffee is important thing.  Guess how many cups I have had??  None.
     The hotel coffee is great and I only drink about one cup anyway.  But, Starbucks is there.  It's like a security blanket.
     Well, here's precious Emme!  For some reason we always have taken our kids shirts off, left them on their head like that and then taken pictures.  She's looking a little cross-eyed, but she's not.
     Funny, funny story.  
     Once, a friend came to visit Paul.  Paul hadn't seen this friend for a long time.  For some reason, we all met at Paul's parents house.  His friend, Jon, was dating a girl who had a child. They were there too.
     This little girl was very obviously cross-eyed.
     We are sitting in the family room for a long time talking, the little girl playing.  All of a sudden Paul's dad says to the girlfriend, "Has anyone ever told you she might be cross-eyed??"
    Our eyes about popped out of our head when he said this.
     It's a running joke.  I am dying laughing as I type this.  Paul too!
     Monday morning began with Emme getting her picture taken for her visa.  Then it was a little jog down the road to the doctor.  
     Check out that sign.  Keep quiet!!  Haha!  Picture many children taken away from everything they've ever know.  Give them to people who talk different and look different.  Then take them all to another stranger so he/she can poke at them.  JUST MAKE SURE YOU'RE QUIET!!
       See our doctor.  Socks and sandals.  And, does he have anything under that white coat??  We think he moonlights as a flasher.

     Everybody, "QUIET!!!!!!!!!"
     Our guide was smart.  We were one of the first people there.  That was the line minutes after we arrived.
     Emme passed, I guess.  I am not even really sure what they were checking for.  They hit a key on a toy piano.  I guess that was the hearing test??  The "flasher", he sat at the desk for a long time.  He wrote for awhile, said who knows what to our guide, Helen, then, opened her diaper for a peek!  Done!  He told us she was small.  Really!??
     The final step was weighing and measuring.  She weighs 12 pounds and is 25.5 inches long.
     After the medical exam, we went to a Buddhist temple.  I was not very excited about this.  I was even less excited once there.  I decided if I ever came back to China, I would never go back.
     It was interesting, I guess.  I was just uncomfortable.  While Helen was buying the tickets, yes, buying the tickets to get into a church, I was very quietly, out loud worshipping and praising Jesus.  I was so nervous.
     When we first walked in, there were 3 different statues.  I don't know who or what  they all were, one was a happy buddha.  The rest, I don't know.  Anyway, the people had a whole bunch of incense in their hands and they would hold three up to there heads and bow.  3 are for their (the people's) 3 lives, the past, the present and the future.
     Next, there was the tall copper pagoda/urn.  The people tried to throw money in the holes to make a wish.
     The next building was the temple that held 3 different Buddhas.  They were all holding their hands different ways and the different ways represented the past, the present and the future. Outside the entrance to the 3 Buddhas,  people would put 3 of their incense sticks in those silver cages.  On the long granite table, the people would offer 3 pieces of fruit to Buddha.  Buddha does not eat it though, the monks that live at the temple eat what is offered.
     If you look to the left of the Buddha, you can see a man kneeling down bowing.
     It's one thing to read about it or hear about it.  It's something else to see it.  I was so sad.
     When went in that actual area and our guide told us we could pray.  We said, "Well, we will pray to God the Father of Jesus, but not to Buddha."  She said that was fine.  Then she told us to kneel down.
     We said, "We will not bow to any other God other than our God."  She said, "That's fine, just kneel and pray."  We said, "We'll pray to our Father, but we will not kneel."  So, that's what we did.  
     After that, I was ready to bolt!  I hated being there.  It was peaceful (quiet) and beautiful (the landscape, the buildings) and old (1,400 years old), but it was no place I wanted to be.  And, to be honest, if I had to do over again, I wouldn't have gone.

    Next, we went to a museum... now that's more my speed.  Outside the entrance to the museum, which was a museum but also a palace, was a park.  You all know how I love parks:-)!
These people were playing hacky sac with a badmittion birdie... very well I might add!
     The women here were dancing but they were dancing with those paddles in their hands.  Again, pretty, but not something we'd find in one of our parks.  
    They would whip the paddles around their heads and around their backs.  As I was watching, all of a sudden I saw balls go flying in the air.  (If you look closely, you can see the balls.)  In other words, when the balls aren't flying, they are staying on the paddles,
       What in the world?  That would be exercise for me!  You know why??  Cuz every 5 seconds I'd be running and chasing that ball!  Maybe I'll try it when I get home?!

  I have no idea!
      That's our guide, Helen.  As she was explaining things about the Buddhists temple before our arrival, we were asking her if she was a Buddhists.  She said she was not, but she did incorporate some of the Buddhists type things.  She prays to her ancestors.  She went on to say that 30% of China is Buddhists, 30 % Taoism and 40% other-Christian, Catholic, etc...
     This guy was painting pictures of mountains and waterfalls, the Great Wall, pandas and other Chinesey things- all with the side of his hand, his fingers and his fingernails.  They are magnificent!  We bought two for our house.
     We were trying so hard to keep Emme awake on the way home!  Didn't work!
     After the medical exam, the temple and the museum,  Emme slept, but Paul and I thought we buy ourselves a little relaxation.
     We had a 90 minute foot massage.  In China, a foot massage also means that the neck, back, arms, hands, and legs AS WELL AS the feet.  90 MINUTES!!  Guess how much it costs??  68 RMB.... translation $10.04!  I felt guilty when I left because this poor girl worked hard for 90 minutes and it cost me $10.
     This morning after that amazing breakfast, we went shopping and sightseeing on the island.  We stopped when we saw these school children because we thought we were going to see something amazing.  I mean old men and old women have all kinds of hidden talents.  These young kids were surely going to do something to knock our socks off.
     They marched.
     As we were watching this exciting production, we noticed that the children at our end were younger and as the lines progressed, the children were older.  We also noticed that the ratio was 80% boys.
      Oh, and there's Emme loving on her dad.  So cute and peaceful!

    Ah... there's me and Emme, so happy together!!  If you could look closely at the picture, you could see some scratches filled with dried blood around my one eye.  You would also see one of those marks on the other eye and one on my nose.
     If you'd hung around until after this picture, you could have seen the scratches on both side of my neck, and on my chin.
     She loves me so much!

      EVERY STORE on this island offers laundry service!  They are in cahoots with the airlines.  In China domestic travel, one bag, 44 pounds max. So, people have to have their laundry done if they are coming to the tropical climates of China were you sweat of you bat an eyelash.
      Thanks to all the competition, guess how much it cost to have our laundry washed and pressed and folded... even the underwear??   107 RMB!  That's $15 American dollars.  
     I am moving to Guangzhou!
     The book that Emme is so intently looking at in Marley and Me.  If you haven't read it, you should!  It's so funny!!  (Thanks Donna!)
     We wanted to capture her intent look as she flips through the book.  I can't even begin to tell you how long she will sit and do this AND how mad she will get when we take it away.
     2 more sleeps in Guangzhou!  Good night!


Chubby Baby Designs said...

WOW, I am blown away by your experience at the temple. wow! I just read this to Whit, her response was "Shadrack, Meshack & Abednigo" (if it's spelled wrong, it would be Whit's fault, she told me how to spell them) :)
Funny about the doc! Crazy that she's just a hand full of inches longer than your kids at birth! So, guess what we just did... and I know this is going to be a shocker to you...we painted Whit's kitchen cotton candy pink...with GLITTER! Whit's in love! Thought you would get a kick out of that.
Nate & Tyler will be over w/ thier chainsaws I'm sure as soon as you make the call :) ~Amber

The Straight's said...

Emme will come to love her mommy soon-hang in there! Sorry to hear about your house, but as you said no one was hurt :) Really enjoying your detailed blogging. Thanks for sharing the trip!

Jodi said...

You will have to print all of your blogs and pictures off and make a book out of them for Emme to read one day! She will love it! You are a great writer and I feel like I have been there to read it! I am with you on the temple. My friends who adopted last year didn't go - and glad of it! Keep up the wonderful posts!

darja said...

i just have one question:
is paul wearing a fanny pack in that last picture??

Rachael said...

Ok, just so you know... I am at the library so I can read your blog. I haven't read it since Sunday and I was pleased to see I was only one blog behind. :) You should be thankful you are in China. SERIOUSLY!! Try to find a stinking bag of ice, or gas for that matter in Centerville. I should start my own blog on just the past 50 hours of no power. Still no power to say the least. Great family bonding however. :)

I loved all the pictures and info on her examination. I was wondering what the final weight would be for her. What a sweet little peanut. I swear she looks happier and happier with each photo. There HAS to be some reason why she crys with you. It isn't you... it must be that women have been very mean to her. She will soon learn how wonderful you are.

Have Paul give Greg a call when you get home if you need help with your tree. We had roof damage and get a new roof from insurance. GOD IS GOOD!!! :)

Love all three of you tonz and tonz.

Sharla said...

Hi April,

I can SO relate to the mommy/daddy thing... I have a photo of Abby cuddled in her daddy's lap and another photo of her sitting almost on my head... She cuddled with him and I guess she conquered me! LOL!! Hang in there...it will get better (always hoping).

I'm sorry you have to go home to a mess...hurricanes in Ohio...who would have thought!


Tony and Rett said...

We skipped the temple experience. Same reasons.

SO glad you're loving GZ!

Almost home with your baby girl!! Surreal right?