Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Adoption Story - Part 6

The next day dawned bright and clear. I stood on the balcony of our friends’ house and watched the sun rise over the ocean, completely in awe of the fact that we were IN CHINA. We were halfway around the world from our home. In less than a week, we would be holding L; her pictures that we had been staring out for months would become a reality in a small child standing in front of us. It was overwhelming.

Our friends were the perfect hosts. Like us, they were Americans who had one daughter and adopted a second from China. Unlike us, they had spent most of the following years living and working in China. The first day, we went to a local Muslim noodle shop for lunch and laughed as K learned to use chopsticks. We’d practiced some at home, but now it was crunch time because there weren’t any forks available at the places we ate. In the afternoon, Jennifer and her daughters entertained K while John took Mr. at Home and I to have a look around at the city. Mr. at Home had been there before to visit, but I had not, so I was in awe of everything. The jet lag actually wasn’t too bad even though we were a full 12 hours off from our normal schedule. I was just fine trotting all over the city until John would remind us that, “Hey! It’s 2am back in NC!” Then I would get tired. Thanks, John.

I’m so glad we took the time and extra expense of going to visit our friends before we met up with our adoption travel group. We got to see the “real” China, not just the “cleaned up for tourists” spots that we visited after we joined up with our group. With our friends, we visited a school, a university, some small shops, the post office and a bank, a Buddhist temple, and tiny restaurants that would give a health inspector a heart attack, but the food was delicious!

The highest praise we now give a restaurant is that it's "frog-slapping good". The last night we were there, we walked to a tiny village that still held much of it's small town feel. As in there were goats roaming the streets where people gathered each morning to fill their milk bottles. Our friends took us to a restaurant and I swear we went in through the back door because there wasn't anything outside to indicate it was an eating establishment. As we walked in, there was a woman kneeling on the pavement with a tub of frogs beside her. She would pull out a frog and throw it on the floor as hard as she could. Fresh frog legs, anyone?

On Saturday morning, we packed up our bags and headed back to the airport for the flight to Beijing to meet up with our adoption travel group.

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