Friday, July 31st, was our travel day. Before we were picked up, we had a gloriously slow morning of packing, venturing out to try a noodle place nearby, then going up to the top of our hotel to admire the view.
We still had to pick up Mei Mei's passport from the Civil Affairs office, so on our way there we stopped at a museum gift store, so I could quickly bring something home for Mei Mei from her home province (I bought a little jewelry box and miniature Wuhan bells).
All was in order, and we were dropped off at the airport.
It was a fairly short flight, only about three hours, but I was getting pretty nervous about flight home - all Mei Mei wanted to do was kick the seat in front of us!!!!! (Maybe she understood the rude things that were said to us in Chinese and wanted to pay back??? A lady mimed to us something that wasn't very nice at all...)
We got to our China Marriott hotel pretty late Friday night. So our night was short as we needed to have Mei Mei's medical examination early on Saturday morning. This is something the U.S. Immigration requires, I had to do it too, back in 1993 when applying for my green card. Her exam was pretty smooth, except for the last part: Mei Mei did not want to go into the examination room to have her blood drawn for the TB test without mama. But it was over soon, and she was distracted by a rice cracker:)
Nothing else was scheduled for Saturday, so we had an easy lunch of Starbucks, then took a nap in the room, before venturing out. Grace, our guide, recommended Macau Street Restaurant nearby, so we walked there. The menu was pretty
After dinner we went swimming. A lot of adoptive families at this hotel, and every time we went swimming there were always at least another family there. We saw the three families we met at our hotel in Beijing, too. So neat to see everyone with their new children! The other families were such a great resource, too, we could all compare notes and share recommendations on eating places, etc.
Sunday our guide and driver picked us up to go to Shamian Island. Shopping and sightseeing was on the agenda, but our guide was flexible when I asked if we could go to church. We had enough time to stop by one store, and I am so glad we did, as we never had a chance to return to Shamian Island.
Shamian Island is where we stayed the entire time (except two days in Beijing) when we adopted Little Miss. We stayed at the famous White Swan hotel, and loved the entire island, all the parks, restaurants and shopping there.
White Swan was just reopened after being remodeled for three years, and while it was closed, a lot of the shops had to close, too. Our favorite restaurant Cow and Bridge was turned into a vegetarian restaurant! We were so sad.
Christ Church was still there, and packed. We attended a Mandarin/English service, and every seat was taken, and people were standing and listening outside, too. The sermon may have lost something in translation, but gospel was still preached, which was so neat. And our guide stayed with us and listened for most of it!!!!
Our guide Grace took us to a western restaurant on the island for lunch, Lucy's. When we adopted Little Miss we ate there once, I think. The food was very good, but like the Captain and I 8.5 years ago, Mr A and I were not tired of the Chinese food, yet. But it was a good place for Little Miss and Mei Mei, and we did enjoy our food very much.
Only a few minutes in the park, and it was time to go....! So sad. We would have loved to explore the island much longer, but time was not our own. We decided we'd come later in the week by taxi (which we couldn't, because of getting sick).
Late afternoon on Sunday we met with another photographer and her family, who were there to adopt a little girl, and swapped short sessions at the hotel. While scouting out the location we saw this cool Chinese lady doing tai chi with her sword! She was so graceful. We didn't get too close, or too obvious with the camera....
Here are our photos with beth V photography! Thank you so much for these lovely images!!!
PS. When we left Mei Mei's province on Friday, I had anticipated it to be more emotional that it actually was... She was now calling me Mama, and we were thrilled at how well she was doing. But the thought did occur to me about the significance of the day. Another loss, leaving her home province. But her new life was starting... While there were such changes and pain already in her short life, God had a beautiful plan for Mei Mei's life, and He was at work...