Guangzhou: A City of Firsts

Ian and Li in the Nanchong airportSorry for the delay between posts. Between being busy and being exhausted by the time evening rolls around, it has been hard to find both time and and energy to even think about writing. The good news is that we are all surviving and adjusting and growing and adapting. And there is no bad news…

On Saturday, we flew from Nanchang to Guangzhou. We’ve finished all of the paperwork, and have just one appointment left here in Guangzhou — at the US Consulate tomorrow afternoon — to get Li’s travel visa so that she can enter the US with us. We finished the paperwork on Sunday, and then had a bit of a sightseeing tour and another checkup as part of the adoption process on Monday. Officially, Li is 23.4 pounds — making her the heaviest baby in the group by more than a pound, 30 inches tall, and has a head circumference of 18 inches (and from everything we’ve seen so far, that head is packed with brains!). We took it easy this morning, and then went to the pearl market here in Guangzhou this afternoon, which is near Li Wan plaza, sort of a combination of a huge mall, a huge pedestrian shopping district, and hundreds of jewelry and pearl stores. It has to be seen to be believed.

Red Couch PhotoSunday afternoon, we also did the traditional “red couch” photo of all of the girls in the adoption group. What a riot! Li is third from right, in the back row, staring intently at the photographer. About 3 seconds after this was taken, all 13 girls were screaming at the tops of the lungs.

Guangzhou has definitely been a city of firsts for Li:

  • Li’s first airplane flight brought her here from Nanchang, and her first flight delay had us an hour late leaving Nanchang. They held the plane on the runway for almost an hour once we had boarded. Despite the delay, she did just fine.
  • Li’s first ice cream was mango ice cream with lunch on Sunday. Every bite brought a scrunched up face and then a request (demand?) for more.  She has also tried green tea and taro flavors and loved them.
  • Li’s first stroller rideLi’s first stroller ride was Monday afternoon, and started as a white-knuckle sort of affair (probably until she decided I wasn’t going to dump her out going around corners) and ended up pretty relaxed, as you can see.
  • Li got her first pair of “squeaky” shoes this afternoon. These have to be seen (and heard) to be believed: they have little squeakers in the soles under the heels to get kids to plant their heels as they are learning to walk. Every step results in a squeak. They’re a hoot, but I don’t think she’ll be wearing them on our plane rides home.
  • Li’s first bedtime without screaming was Monday evening, but tonight the screaming was back, but not for as long. Some progress there, at least.

Guangzhou is an interesting city, but the area where our hotel is located (Shamian Island) is way too touristy for our tastes. The hotel is great aside from the beds (I’ve slept on softer sidewalks), but it is so large that our group is all spread out and it feels a little impersonal compared to our hotel in Nanchang. We are ready to be home; it hit Deb and me today and it hit Ian a day or two ago. This has been an incredible experience, but we are ready to be home.

We travel home on Thursday, which will be a very long day between the early start, all of the flights (Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to LA, LA to Salt Lake, and finally Salt Lake to Idaho Falls), and the time change. All together, it will work out to something like a 28 hour day by the time we make it home. We can definitely use your prayers as we head home, and we are grateful for all of them these past two weeks.

3 thoughts on “Guangzhou: A City of Firsts”

  1. I just returned from Mexico City where I met all my in-laws including Temo’s 8 year old daughter Citlali…a surprise that we did not anticipate happening until much later this year. Thanks for all the wonderful photos and updates. I continue to pray for you all and rejoice in the blessings of family…ours both have grown so much lately! I wish for you an uneventful commute back to the states. One question…have you decided to use Li Zhong instead of Grace or will that change happen in the states? Love and best wishes to you all. -Cyn

  2. @Michalene: Thank you!

    @Cynthia: As far as the name goes, for right now, she’s Li or Li Zhong. She responds to that name, so we’ll keep using it for a while until we decide whether to call her Li or Grace…

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