Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sunday..Day One...

We all slept fairly well. Grace and I until 6am and, and Beth was up at 3am wandering the apartment and checking things out. She had breakfast and figured out the TV and how to view the large DVD collection here. By 7am we decided to head down to breakfast just to see what was on offer. We have the option of taking meals in the canteen.....8-11-5pm or in our flat.
The girls are a little shy today but will soon feel at home. They enjoyed the bread and pickled lotus root breakfast but passed on the congee. I would like them to try to experience it all while here. The nannies and the children are used to westerners and very friendly.

While I am up near the office enjoying the wifi they are down playing with the children. There is a wee 5 year old named Jade they have fallen for and a small boy named Gabriel. So many sweethearts.

Today we will go to Church with Robin, Joyce, Katie and some friends and then to lunch. It will be a quiet day of settling in and tomorrow, Rose, one of the nurse here will give us some suggestions for helping. It is a very well run home and I expect our main
job will to entertain the kids.


After getting up at 3am to shuttle to the airport, then a short flight to San Francisco and a two hour wait, it was all aboard for Beijing. We took off at 11am and landed 12 hours later. I am ok with the long long flight and Beth was antsy but managed to sleep some. Grace was fine, kept herself busy and all and all it was fine.

Beijing airport is lovely and things look brand spanking new here thanks to Olympic upgrades. Robing and his 9 year old daughter, Katie, met us and we hit the supermarket for some staples on our way to Hope. The girls are getting lots of attention and doing actually quite well using their Chinese. I knew it would pay off eventually. I am proud of them.

The area that we shopped in is a western area so it was a pretty fine store with all the western foods we have at home and then some...........British, American and Australian. Lots of organics which was a surprize.

Robin took us to Hope from there. It is a very large complex in the countryside and a fairly remote area on the edge of Beijing.
We are in the big apartment and very comfortable. We had a tour of the place and began to fall in love with all of the sweet little children. There are many more than at Starfish and it will be hard to get to know them all. I had the opportunity to meet Joyce who is a little under the weather. There are other volunteers here but we haven't met them yet.

By 8pm we had had it and were off to bed. Ah, the lovely slab like Chinese beds. I meant to bring an air mattress.

Isabel.......I sent an email........reply and we will see if things are working as they should.
Love you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Departure Day, Part 1...........

The girls in the van in our driveway at home. Don't they look happy? We will miss big sister but am pretty sure she and Daddy will have a great time together. Beth got her hair cut short....cute,eh?

We were 20 minutes off schedule and we missed the 1pm ferry. That meant we got on the 3pm ferry. Bummer.
By the time we were dropped off by Dad and Isabel it was after five. It was a quick drop and dash because we were parked in the hotel's driveway blocking any other traffic. Derek.....we never said goodbye. Bye. I love you. Give Isabel another big hug and kiss. I hate quick goodbyes......that quick anyway.

All of us were suffering from a little travel anxiety and stress so we made a truce and decided from here on out we would remind each other to take a big breath and relax. This is the adventure of a lifetime for my little girls and I want it to be an uplifting experience.

We are having some lovely room service and in our pj's.

Not looking forward to the 330am wake up call........assuming we sleep at all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Trying to edit the yucky adverts...............and I did.
We can't actually see our blog in China. Their infamous Great Fire Wall blocks it.
You have to be creative to post and I am just reviewing how to do it so
I can keep everyone up to date on our adventure via the blog.

Think I have it now.

Oh My Gosh........

Why am I not packing?

Today has got to be the day or I will be doing carry on only. Not a bad idea but then if I do any shopping
you have to worry about where to put it or buy another suitcase to get it home. Half the case is "just in case" things......medications and food stuff. We always anticipate illness and hunger. Must speak to our culture.

My ears are all blocked up due to a recurring sinus thing and last night Beth wasn't feeling up to par. Oh no!!!
Am praying for both to resolve.

We leave on Thursday for the mainland, specificaly the 1pm ferry. Have opted to keep the girls out of school that day so we aren't as stressed and can do last minute tweaking of our bags in the morning.

We are over nighting, as mentioned, at a hotel near the airport.
Probably won't sleep. I always think I will sleep in and miss the plane.
Being a night shift worker lack of sleep is no problem for me but the girls are another story.
They are pretty excited.

Isabel and Derek are going into the city to spend some time with BIL and his wife. Isabel told me last night she is happy to have Emily all to herself! Beth and Grace are a tad miffed that they will be in Vancouver and not see their beloved cousin, but I think we should just chill that evening.

I think I feel a little bubble of excitement building in me too!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


If I get all preachy on you I apologize in advance. Just my humble opinions.
Nothing each his own, et cetera, et cetera.
I welcome any comments and am open to discussion........I think.

In China I am extra cautious to not offend or cause someone to "lose face".
We are a guest in their country and we try to behave accordingly.

We are pleased to have guests to our blog travel vicariously with us.

One week tomorrow......

Tomorrow is Thursday.

One week from then we will board the ferry for the mainland, leave our beloved island behind, and head for an over nighter at a hotel close to the airport. We are up bight and early for the flight to Beijing by way of San Francisco.

So far I have a small stack of stuff in the kitchen to pack. Passports with Visas, coffee and snacky things, magazines and books. Not a heck of a lot.
The suitcases are resting comfortably in the basement. Something I plan to rectify today.
I am relatively calm. I have done this before. Four times. How lucky am I?

If I am packed by Thursday pm I can go to work on Friday for the weekend way ahead of the game.
Just need my American money for the accommodation and I am ready. That is arranged
for pickup next week. Final assembling on Wednesday and ready for blast off.

Derek and I were having a discussion this morning about Beth and Grace. Since we are
talking 2 preteens with a case of sibling rivalry I may need to pack a parachute for a hasty exit
somewhere during the 12 hour flight to China. After three weeks in country it is anybody's
guess what will transpire. It may be that they will learn something about themselves to and enjoy each other.

I wish I could have taken them individually as I did Isabel. We could have had the one on one time and the trip
would have been theirs alone. We do what we can and it is a big beautiful world out there and we only have so much
time and so much money. I think they are okay with it. Part of me wishes Isabel could have come with us also, but I
am so grateful she had last year and now it is her sisters turn.

Seriously, we are hoping this is a valuable learning curve for the girls. It would have been easier to book
one of the proliferating "homeland" tours and to have someone lead us around to all the usual tourist sites.
That it itself would have been wonderful and we would have seen a lot more than we will doing it ourselves.
But it would cost a whole lot more and the girls would have a very limited idea of what China is. I like to shop with the best of them, but dislike the frenzy some folks engage in and what the China Travel guides think is what we actually want. I have tried
to avoid the rampant consumerism that plaques our society and I don't want it for my girls. I will have a modest list of what we will purchase and try to stick to it.

I am hoping this trip makes our two stop and think and that they "get" some of what we have told them these last few years.

This will be my last trip to China, I imagine, but I am hoping they all will go back to visit, volunteer and explore and to see much more of the country than we ever have. Time will tell.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Three weeks until Beijing...........

I can hardly believe how quickly time is flying by. Last week I had our Visa photos taken and submitted the applications...tick.
This week I will lay out the suitcases in the guest room and begin to gather what we need....tick. I have done this four times now and am not anticipating any difficulties with the fifth. I feel quite cosmopolitan actually.

I had coffee a couple of weeks ago with a woman here in town who is going to China with her 13 year old son, 5 year old daughter and her husband. She had found our last China visit blog and had followed Isabel's return trip. Coincidently she is one of the sponsors of little Rose at the Starfish Foster Home where we volunteered in 2008. She and her family will incorporate a stay there on this visit. I tried to give her a few pointers to facilitate a good experience for her family.

We have arranged to meet for dinner in Beijing and will go see the acrobat show together on the 14th. I expect we will be ready for some R&R by then. What fun.

I am stealing myself to meet all these new little ones. Once you fall in love with them it is hard to say goodbye and they are always
there in your heart.

I have heard from some supporters and some adopting parents who found out we are going and have asked us to deliver packages and supplies. We are trying to arrange that.

The girls are getting excited and I am quite looking forward to the adventure. I am hoping their Chinese will be of some use and that they at least, will get some practice using it.

Wow.........21 more days.
If anyone has any inside knowledge on sights, restaurants, shopping in Beijng we would appreciate it if you would like to share.

I gather our duties at the Foster Home are assigned so we will have a schedule and it will include down time where we can do some fun things too. The girls need to get the big picture.

Stay tuned.