Let’s see .. things here have been busy and Mama is tired!!
The first week was all about this passport and I was so happy to see this and finally have it in my possession! Mary said that she had to beg the people at the passport office to finish them early (they typically wouldn’t be ready until after we had already left).
We left Nanchang, Jiangxi, around 11 yesterday morning. We drove to the train station where we boarded a high speed train to Guangzhou, Guangdong. It was very crowded getting on the train and standing/moving/turn taking in line is not exactly a Chinese specialty. Mary managed to get us at the front of the line so we could board quickly. However, by the time we got down to the platform on the escalator and figured out where we were to board, everyone else was already getting to the platform as well.
Michelle managed to get herself and our luggage on while I waited for the crowd to get on so Ari and I could be last. It was difficult to get to our seats because Ari was still in his stroller and we rushed to get him out and break the stroller down … I was for sure sweating by the time we sat down. It was a 4.5 hour train ride and I had Ari on my lap the whole time. Holding him was not easy. He slept most of the way, but was dead weight. He has no ability to hold up his head or trunk and giving him all that support and finding a comfortable position to sit (with multiple bags and a stroller at our feet) … let’s just say I was SUPER ready when they announced that our stop was next.
Once we got off the train, we found our next guide .. Jack! He is a very Tall guy whose 1 step equals like 4 of mine! We joined 2 other Gladney families and the 4 families got in our mini-Bus to head to the Garden Hotel.This building is in the shape of a Chinese coin and Jack said it is a business building.
By the time we got to the hotel (traffic was WHOAH!), it was 7:00. We were all tired and I knew Ari was going to be wanting food asap. We got to the counter to check in a low and behold we had been upgraded to the executive floor!! So awesome and so unexpected! (The executive floors have their own lounge area for breakfast and a happy hour in the evenings) I’m so grateful for the little extras .. making life just a bit easier!
Even though it was so late, Ari was happy and so we decided to go out for dinner. I was just ready for some “regular” food .. well, we ended up at Pizza Hut again .. yea … oh well. This time we ordered spaghetti for Ari …
He LOVED it!!! He ate SO much that he finished over 1/2 of an adult portion! By the time we got back to the hotel and got him settled, it was 10:00!! While getting him changed, he decided that there was something to pout about .. he has learned how to pout with that lower lip and I have to say it is quite adorable (but doesn’t really win him anything).
He really is an amazing kid! He is largely unaffected by schedule changes and just goes with the flow. Last night he slept 10-2:30 and then decided it was play time. He woke up with giggles and belly laughs and kept on for over 1.5 hours when I gave in and took him into the living room and closed the bedroom door so he didn’t keep Michelle up. He just laid on the floor and played until 5:45 when his eyes got heavy again. We went back to bed and he slept until 8:00.
Today we had to be in the lobby by 9:30, so I got him dressed and we headed up to the 30th floor for breakfast. This was the first American type breakfast we have had since we have arrived in China. They had doughnuts! (Trust me, it’s a BIG deal!!). Ari had some eggs, yogurt and some chicken & rice congee. While Michelle and I had normal eggs, bacon, etc.
After eating, we headed down to the lobby to meet with Jack and the rest of our group. By 9:35 we were headed to the medical check.
The medical check was in a building that doesn’t turn the air conditioning on during the weekend .. it was sweltering in there!! During the medical check they look at the child’s height and weight, looks at their hearing and vision, a doctor strips them down and looks them over head to toe and then they are taken (without their new parents) into a room to have blood drawn to check for TB (if the kiddo is over 2 years old). The kids were upset, traumatized and miserable. Within our group, we had a running guess on which child would cry the hardest/longest. I was very intrigued to see how Ari would do … well, he didn’t shed one single tear. I think the paci helped, but it was amazing how he just took everything in stride.
Once the medical appointment was finished, we headed downstairs and outside to wait for the rest of our group. I was so ready to get out of the sweltering, stuffy medical floor that the minute breeze outside seemed like gale force wind! Once everyone was done, we headed back to our hotel. Along the way, Jack pointed out some restaurants and shopping areas. Michelle and I headed to the room to get Ari changed and then we went out to explore Aeon (the closest mall) and go on the musical bunny hunt. We searched and searched, but the only thing we could find was a bear with light up ears and a screen on its belly that told you the next song. Ari didn’t seem to mind it, but we’re going to stay on the bunny hunt. For him, the bunny ears are easy to grab (but I will get a bear if no bunnies are to be found).
We grabbed lunch while at Aeon – a rice bowl with chicken, cabbage and carrots, 2 small chicken on a stick type things and a drink – all for $4. Ari and I ended up splitting mine … $2 per person. .. my kind of deal!
Once done with lunch, we headed back to our hotel. Ari went down for a nap and I rested with him. While we were resting, Michelle went to explore the hotel. She found some neat things and took these pictures along the way:
Once Ari woke up, we spent some time doing some therapy … because, well .. that is just what happens when you have a Mom who is a PT.
At 6:00 we met up with 2 other families and headed out to eat dinner at the Noodle restaurant behind the hotel. We all seemed to have similar tastes as we ordered very similar dishes. They had a kids meal that came with 5 dumplings, 2 chicken wings, a bowl of steamed eggs, fruit and a cup full of some kind of sweet bean something (I really have no idea what it was, but Ari loved it). For all 3 of us – $9 for dinner. Man I wish I could only spend that much on food at a restaurant in the US and still get as much as we did ..
Once we were finished eating, Michelle, Ari and I stopped by a 7-Eleven to see what there was. I ended up getting a slurpee and a lollipop for Ari (figured we could try it). It was 8:00 by the time we got back to the hotel, but Ari was still going strong. So, I decided to give him a bath.
The tubs here at this hotel are considerably deeper than those in the last hotel … he had so much fun splashing with his legs while in the bath. He was laughing so incredibly hard .. it was hysterical.
After the bath, I got Ari dressed and settled. He fell asleep around 8:45 and I’m really hoping he sleeps through the night (as much as possible).
Tomorrow we are planning on going to the international church service at 10 and then meeting our group on Shamian Island after that. Tentative plans as of now are to have an Easter Egg hunt at 5/5:30 tomorrow at the playground in our hotel. I can’t wait to meet other families and it was be so fun to see all the kids first Easter Egg hunt!
And here is something extra special to end the post on:
Ari’s Firsts: – First High Speed Train ride – First time in Guangzhou – First time eating Spaghetti -First time trying a lollipop – First time having a passport
What I have Learned about Ari: -He is starting to be more vocal in the last few days – He WILL eat rice, but it has to have some kind of sauce on it (soy, sesame, etc) – He loves splashing in the bathtub – He likes eating cooked carrots and spinach