pretty much like Amazing Race.

What a difference some sleep makes!  We checked into our hotel at midnight last night and fell into bed – after of course checking out the pillow menu, the three-headed shower, the completely automated window coverings, and figuring out the internet.  We were able to sleep the whole night until we received our wake-up call at 6:30am.  The idea was that we were all going to be up at 5:00 in the morning anyway so we would start our sightseeing day at 8:00am.  Good idea turned really bad idea when we were sleeping soundly at 6:30!  But…hopped into my three-headed all marble shower room (I can’t really call it a stall…it’s a room) and got ready for our first day!  Enjoyed breakfast at the hotel – amazing buffet of anything you could ever imagine.  All I could think of was Josiah who would have been in heaven with all of the sausage!  (normal sausage, not cow lung sausage…more on that later).  We were joking last night that there is always someone in the group who makes everyone late…that would be me this morning.  Everyone waiting on the bus for Ashleigh – nothing like making a great first impression!

Speaking of ‘everyone’, we are travelling with a group of families who are adopting from our same agency.  Right now there are 7 families total but we will be meeting up with 14 more.  It is sort of funny, we definitely don’t really fit in.  Several of them are significantly older than us, several getting their first child, and all of them from the su-owth (you have to pronounce BOTH syllables).  Not so much the citified beachy young family with 3 kids who often resemble an Old Navy commercial.  They are all sweet people but I am not thinking we will get life-long friends out of the deal.  Which is TOTALLY fine with this introvert!  My circle of friends is plenty full.  Now I just have to figure out how to not look like a total snob when I just want to be by myself!

This morning our first stop was the Summer Palace which is the ancient summer home of the Emperors.  It was nice – got some good pictures of the architecture.  Beautiful day – very overcast but really cool so that was a bonus.  We were expecting hot and humid.  Sightseeing isn’t really my ball of wax but it is good to learn more about Lydia’s heritage and the country of China.  I kept thinking today what a different world she will grow up in and how do we raise her to have an appreciation for what is so completely different than anything she will ever be exposed to in the US?  We think Williamsburg is old, this place had buildings that were build in the 1200’s!  Original buildings.  It is such a completely different culture, and thus a very different worldview.

Our second stop was a Hudong tour which was a walking and rickshaw tour of the traditional Chinese neighborhood.  80% of them have been torn down by the government to build high rises but there are a few which have now been preserved (as in they can’t tear them down, not that they actually are nicely kept and ‘preserved’).  It was a very typical Asian experience – dirty, smelly, people crammed together.  If I hadn’t of visited and lived in Southeast Asia I would have been completely freaking out.  Again, I kept thinking – this would have been Lydia’s life, how different her road will be.  We went to the local market – tons of fruit, lots of meat guts hanging around (including cow lungs), and THEN, it happened.  We went to a local Chinese house for lunch.  Ack.  I was hoping to avoid this!  We were served a meal, pretty much just like P.F. Changs except without the forks and sweet tea and a little different in the atmosphere category.  Lots of options, everyone share.  I chose to partake of the rice.  Eric was a little more adventurous and said it was quite good.  I think rice and the Oreos in my suitcase suit me just fine.  Of course, their “houses” are these itty bitty hole in the wall places that in the US we would consider disgusting and practically uninhabitable.  And get this, in these ‘hudongs’ there are 30-50 families who share one bathroom!  Talk about a wait!

Then it was off on the rickshaw again – I felt like I was in Amazing Race.  And had we been, we would have won because our driver was a little crazy, a bit aggressive shall we say.    This afternoon we are just hanging out.  Eric is napping right now for a little bit.  Neither of us feels great which we are hoping will change in the next couple of days before we get Lydia.  I started on the antibiotic for strep this morning since I was feeling pretty rotten.  Since we are now both on drugs, I am hoping a good night’s sleep will bring us up to speed.

Our list of observations for today…

  1. The mullet is a very popular hairstyle in China – particularly with the women.
  2. Almost no one wears open-toed shoes.
  3. Chinese people are really small – and no one is overweight.
  4. There are a noticeably larger number of little boys than little girls.
  5. Coca-Cola is God’s gift to not-so-into China food travelers.


Lots of love,



**we have pictures that I will upload but I haven’t figured that out yet!  Stay tuned…






Mommy said...

Emma just looked at your blog and saw Lydia's picture and yelled, "EMMA!" I think she thinks a picture of any Asian child is her at this point! We're praying for you!!! Justin and Lisa