Ryan seemed to have a great first night. After tossing a bit, he settled down and slept soundly through the night. (Last night was his second night, and he half-woke-up twice, perched himself on his elbow, and said something clearly but quietly in Mandarin, then went right off back to sleep. That was at about 2:30 AM, I know this because I was near his bed trying to get Ashley back to sleep after a bad wake-up, which sometimes happens for her.) He also was talking very softly to his little Mickey Mouse.
Yesterday was our Interview Day and Notary Day for the Adoption paperwork. We caught our AM ride with Lily again, in a HUGE VAN / COACH, even larger that the second Van Robert was able to get for us! We went back to the same Civil Affairs building, and back to the same room as yesterday. I watched for Ryan’s reaction, and he went with it – no problem.
Lisa, Ryan and I were called upstairs to another waiting room – this one was much warmer than the room downstairs – no AC and not even any circulation of the warm air (so think maybe 110 degrees! As we waited, we saw several other adoptive families and children, and spoke with a couple of them. Everyone seemed very nice. As we waited, I showed Ryan my phone and we did a handful of things where he knew his numbers and English letters. This is while Katy Perry was blasting in the back off the iphone until Lisa told me to turn it off. He was very engaged and eager to learn and play, despite his visual challenge of seeing the screen. After 4 hours – well, actually, it was only about 45 minutes – but it sure felt like 4 hours, we were called to the First Notary Room.
We answered all of the gentleman’s questions as he filled out more forms. We promised again never to abandon Ryan, and to provide a home for him, he stamped the forms, we signed our names, and it was done. The notary was a bit taken back when Lisa answered his question about our other children with “THREE”, Ryan would be our fourth. He was genuinely appreciative and seemed to understand the commitment involved with four; then he just looked at us and said “done.” We were done much faster than the other families, so maybe he decided no further questions after that. He also couldn’t stop smiling and shaking his head when we had to say “N/A” under my employment meant “stay at home Dad.” He seemed to like that answer very much. He smiled, we all shook hands, then we shuffled back downstairs to gather the rest of the troops. They were well behaved for AR – Thanks for that.
Next stop – WalMart, of course, where it was only 125 degrees (they don’t seem to air condition any buildings but hotels here!) We spun through and picked up some new sneakers for Ryan as the new sandals that he came in were filled with red ink after they inked his foot on Monday for the paperwork (that doesn’t work too well with white rugs in our apartment here), several pairs of boys underwear to donate to the orphanage on Friday (poor Ryan was sent to us in very large girls’ or women’s underwear so they must have been running low on the boy styles), and some coloring books and a larger set of crayons. Yes, Wal-Mart in China is about the same as Wal-Mart here – except you pay for the plastic shopping bags and there are boxes of dried fish and octopus for your eating enjoyment. Lily gave the kids a new snack choice (a corn-flavored churro-shaped sort of thing) which Ryan and Dylan seemed to enjoy. K & A had no interest, and Mom nearly tossed when she got close to one!
We made our way back to the hotel, where Lily helped Lisa decipher the washer/dryer (by that I mean, the ONE appliance in the laundry room that apparently does BOTH). Lily gave Lisa a run through, and in about 10 minutes Load #1 was in! Seems to work fine, although it washes and dries close to 3 hrs and doesn’t like more than about 7 articles of clothing at any one time! We were thankful that our substitute room has the washer/dryer. We only packed for a few days, based on being able to do laundry, so we’re good to go.
Speaking of the washer/dryer, we didn’t mention yet that we are staying in a 3 bed/4 bathroom apartment (part of the hotel) with kitchen, laundry room, dining/living areas. The smell of mildew and circa 1980s furniture adds a “homey” touch but the rooms are HUGE so we have lots of space which is nice. We also added the 2 roll-away beds to the middle of the living room for a nice “finishing” touch. That is Ashley and Ryan’s bedroom. We must be “mini” VIP clientele as there is only one other occupied room on this floor and it has huge Chinese decorations outside of it, so some top dog must be living there temporarily. We are on the 20th floor, so we have a nice view of the area outside of the hotel.
Yesterday afternoon, we headed for the swimming pool!! There were TWO Pools, one for the little children and only about 3 feet deep and a much larger pool for better swimmers. Ryan seemed very comfortable in the water, and had a LOT of fun jumping and splashing around with his brothers and sister; he laughed and laughed especially when we splashed water right on his head. (We suspected that he would be, since his Host family had told us of how he’d enjoyed the pool at their house last summer – we’re thankful that he still likes to swim. He’ll need to, since K/D/A like it so much. We also hope that he will like the beach, since our family enjoys summer daytrips to the beach, too.) We had the chance to chat with some of the other families at the pool (since the grown ups were generally on the side of the pool, due to the frigid temperature of the water).
As it turns out, Lisa was talking to a woman and man who thought they recognized Ryan. As it turned out, their adopted children were also part of the Host Program that Ryan participated in last summer. (We talked about this in a previous post earlier in this story.). She knew Ryan’s Host Family and spent time with him at the airport during the very stressful couple of days when he departed to go back to China.
After Pool time, it was Chow Time. We wandered off the reservation and into the neighborhood surrounding the hotel. We walked for a few blocks and found “The Brew” – a good place for Western food and perhaps other Western customers. Unbeknownst to us, it was under renovation! Luckily, on the way to The Brew, we noticed a nice little Pizza & Pasta shop for Plan B. (ALWAYS have a Plan B and always eat Italian food while in China!). After a short game of musical chairs (“I want to sit next to Ryan! You sat next to him at breakfast. Yeah but you held his hand longer than I did!”) we settled in for a nice meal. And, it was actually a nice meal, we had soup, pizza, pasta, Hot Dogs, and drinks. We may be visiting there again. The staff was very international from Chinese to Turkish (the one guy looked like he spent time as a foreign spy/hit man), and possible American.
Throughout the trip, the boys have been noticing a LOT of car logos that they’ve never seen before, (They’re getting more & more into cars recently.) I am at a loss, so I told them to take pictures of them so we can look them up later. There seem to more unknown logos than ones we recognize…lots of Audi, Mercedes, GM, Range Rover, BMW. I hope we can find the logos we don’t know!
Apple iPhones are very popular here – EXPENSIVE, but very popular. The younger generation will seemingly do anything to get the money for a phone, including teenage girls who sell their blood to pay for an iphone 6 which costs $1000-$1200 here. Just like the states, everyone here is on a cell phone 24/7 whether walking, sitting or even driving a car! Our guide, Robert, had some crazy ring tones that we would always razz him about.
Ryan seems to love any and all kinds of food – we think that he is trying much of the new tastes and flavors for the first time, but he seems to know what he likes. Just like the rest of our kids, he loved the penne pasta w/meat sauce last night and he has probably had more Coke to drink in the last 2 days than ever before. The drink selection here is not large – water in a bottle, Coke products (no Pepsi), beer….in nice places, we will get very daring and have ice in our drinks. When we were in Beijing, our guide and driver gave us a “hot” bottle of water every day to walk around with. You don’t appreciate ice and refrigerated drinks until you can’t get them!
One last fascinating fact that Robert told us the other day — 2015 will be the last year of the Dog and Cat Festival (in terms of going to a Festival to buy and EAT dogs and cats). This year, finally (after much outcry), eating cats and dogs will be officially outlawed in 2016. We have actually seen alot of pet dogs here, especially in Guangzhou and even big dogs. We saw a cat yesterday strolling out of a shoe store.
Ryan has been playing the Dora/Diego matching tiles game on Lisa’s ipad for the last hour. He loves it. He actually knows most of the characters.
We are signing off for now — on to breakfast and then a trip to Shamian Island and then more swimming (per Ashley’s request/demand!)