Monday, June 3, 2013

China Day Nineteen - First Full Day in Guangzhou

We are in another ridiculously opulent five star hotel.  I just have to say a few words about this place, because it begs for commentary.  Many of the hotels we stay at have been near shopping malls.  This one is on top of its own shopping mall and that is on top of a subway station.  I say, “it’s own mall” because all of the walls in this hotel are marble and the walls of the adjoining mall are matching marble.  Plus, there are advertisements and signs pointing to the different stores/restaurants between the mall and the hotel.  This place is so fancy, it’s laughable.  It’s like some wealthy benefactor had nothing better to do with his money so he stopped by one day and vomited opulence twenty stories high.  Everything is either marble, or glass, or mirrored or carved. 

The best part is the hotel room itself.  The bathroom has NO WALLS.  It’s all glass windows.  I can stand at my bed and look through a glass window into the bathtub/shower, through another glass wall into the sink/toilet area (am I the only person in China who feels a need for bran cereal and a little bit of drywall?) .  Even better, there is a blind that comes down (remote control) on the outside of the glass window—the bedroom side.  It took my kids five minutes to figure out how to lower the blinds and three milliseconds to figure out how to push the blinds aside and void any thought of privacy for the next week. 

Saturday morning, we took the clan down to the second floor for the plethora of breakfast items in the next buffet.  This one covers about twice the square feet of last weeks buffet, but I couldn’t see too much of it because I was covered in children.  QingBei now insists on sitting next to me at meals and ZiXuan is in my lap almost all the time.  I realize this is ridiculous, but everything in their little lives is so unstable right now, there is no way I am going to add to their stress.  This is the third hotel we have been in with QingBei and the second with ZiXuan.  The upshot was that I sat with the girls and my other kids brought us breakfast items and tried to describe, with wild eyes, the choices they were forced to make that morning (we make them finish their plates, so they have to be prudent). 

After breakfast, we met three other adoptive families to get our Chinese babies a medical checkup for the American Consulate.  Every Saturday, at this same medical center, they have a sort of all-day clinic for adoptive parents.  There must have been fifty families there, all hugging terrified Chinese toddlers and going from station to station to get their babies checked out.  It was essentially un-eventful, except that both QingBei and ZiXuan wanted me to hold them, which was a little tricky, and the last station required a blood sample.    
Of course, the Chinese would not let the parents go into the room while they took the sample, so we had to hand them off to perfect strangers and stand outside a closed, locked door and listen to the screams.  It was awful.  We had to wait in line for about thirty minutes and each child that went in that room came out traumatized and crying.  My girls were terrified and the closer we got to the door, the closer they wanted to be held.   I finally just sat down on the floor for the last ten minutes while I drilled my tour guide about all the different ways/reasons they might let me go in that room with my babies so I wouldn’t have to send them in alone.  This was pointless.  There was no way they were going to let me in that room.  ZiXuan came out crying and QingBei was just hysterical. 

After the clinic, the rest of our tour group went to Wal Mart, but I took the girls back to our hotel for a nap. 

The morning was awful, but the evening was wonderful.  A few years ago, we were a host family for a Chinese college student named Luyi.  She didn’t live with us, but we met her often throughout the year and we love her!  At the end of the year, she moved back to China and is now married and working in Hong Kong.  She and her husband, Lu, came to visit and we had a wonderful time!   After three weeks being surrounded by strangers, I was surprised at how comforting it was to see a familiar face!  They showered us with traditional Chinese presents.  They brought a bunch of traditional toys for the kids, a beautiful set of celadon bowls from their wedding and some traditional Chinese snack food.  ZiXuan went right for the dried shredded squid and QingBei was right behind her. 

We were all sitting in our hotel room, enjoying each-others company, when QingBei suddenly took a good look at them, realized they were Chinese and had a total melt down.  She has no “roof” to her mouth and her mouth/lip muscles are not really functional, so it is hard to understand her speech, but Lu was able to glean that she was saying, “I want to stay.”  Poor Baby, somehow she had the idea that because they are Chinese, they were here to take her away.  I was glad that she was sad at the thought of leaving us, but it did make the evening a little tricky, because she had me in an unrelenting vice grip for the next five hours.  Luckily, ZiXuan, who will not go anywhere near Bill or Matt, went right over to Lu!  So, he carried ZiXuan and I carried QingBei for the rest of the evening. 

We hung out with them for as long as we could, but they had to leave at 9am the next morning to catch the train back to Hong Kong.  It’s so nice to see the people I love happily married and thriving.  We will miss them!

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