Our First Day in China

We arrived in Guangzhou around 12:30 AM this morning, Saturday, January 3rd.  It’s crazy that it’s still today.  Wow.  We really have no idea what day or time it is right now.  We met our guide, Helen, after we left immigration, and she rode with us back to our hotel.  She was very peppy and chatty at one in the morning.   We talked about the details of the next few days, including Abby’s two Chinese names (one in Mandarin and one in Cantonese), neither of which I can pronounce correctly.

We all slept a bunch on the flight from Seoul, so it was hard for us to go to sleep again after we were all checked in and settled.  We skyped with Pearl and Finn and left a message for Milo.  Celine walked around and played.  We discovered that the “baby mattress” for Celine smelled like a barn.  It seems to be made of some kind of compressed material.  Hay?  Grass?  Who knows.  It was as hard as a rock, but I think a rock would have been more comfortable.  I chucked it out of the crib, and Mike and I used a baby comforter and wrapped the crib sheet we brought around that and the crib bottom.  All our work was for nothing since Celine screamed and would have none of it, even though she’s usually a really good sleeper at home.  She ended up in the bed with me and initially fell asleep, but then I made the mistake of trying to transfer her back to the crib.  That was the end of the sleep for both of us.  I spent the next three hours trying to succumb to the effects of the painkiller I had taken while Celine spent the next three hours whining, trying to stand up, then laying back down and scooting around the bed.  I think she finally fell asleep around 6 this morning.  We both got only an hour or so of sleep before we were up again.

Before I went to bed, I also discovered that our toilet seat was heated.  Toasty buns.  Interesting.  Not sure what to think of that one.

Everyone was thrilled about breakfast, except Celine, who picked at her food, whined, and then drummed on the table with two spoons.  We figured out later that she had pooped and was leaking through all her clothes.  But, she was still happy with her spoons.

Ely ate three plates at breakfast. Bacon, ham, donuts, dumplings, fruit, raisin bread, and lots more.   Three plate proved to be too much later.  I immediately thought of Pearl when I saw the watermelon.  She ate watermelon every morning for breakfast in China.  Sweet girl.  I miss her so much.

After breakfast, we walked around the grounds of the Garden.  It is so beautiful here. Koi ponds, waterfalls, gardens, and walking paths everywhere.  The weather is beautiful, too.  It was in the sixties yesterday, and we were soon ditching our outer layers.   Most Chinese people still were wearing winter jackets and fur-lined boots, though.  We even saw a baby or two in a snow suit. Crazy, I know.

We ventured across the street to the mall and wandered around the H&M store.  They have a lower level that is for kids 0-10 years of age.  There were very few people there.  I was thinking it would be a good place to bring Abby to let her pick out an outfit.  Not very crowded and not tons of choices, which are both ideal for a newly adopted child.

We walked a few blocks to the Aeon grocery store and had a great time perusing all the different kinds of foods.  Ely got to experience all kinds of new foods and smells.  We recognized some of the snacks and drinks we came to enjoy last time we were in China, so we picked up a bunch.  Most of the drinks we bought were for Celine, since she won’t drink orange, grapefruit, or kiwi juice (the three drinks that are offered here for breakfast).  Kiwi juice…it’s kind of weird drinking green liquid, but it’s actually very good!

Many people stared and pointed and talked about us as we wandered around.  We’ve come to expect as much, although at times, it is still unnerving, especially for me.  Mike doesn’t seem to care.  We will really get stares once we add another toddler and another nine-year-old to our crew tomorrow!

Our afternoon was uneventful since we all slept.  Our bodies thought it was nighttime, so it was really hard to drag ourselves out of bed at 5:00.  Celine was really upset about waking up.  We had to try to get up and eat so we could beat the jetlag!  None of us really felt like eating (well, except for Mike, who said he was starving and wanted to eat at lunch even though we skipped it), but we set out to find somewhere to eat anyway.  After walking down a street that was very obviously non-food related, we turned around and went the other way instead.  We found lots of different options, although the first few had nothing on their very large picture menus that appeared even remotely safe to us.  Since all of our stomachs were eh, we decided upon the Irish pub so we could eat something kind of American.  Just so you know, even an Irish pub in China is still very “Chinese.”

Most people seem to like the Paddy Field, but we weren’t fans.  The waitresses were very nice and friendly.  One even gave Celine a candy bar.  LOL.  We tried to order what we thought was Orange soda.  The waitress said, “no Sunkist, orange.”  We said okay, thinking we were still getting orange soda.  She came back with orange juice.  I ordered fish and chips, which was the best meal out of all our meals.  The fish, fries, and tartar sauce were all good.  The “coleslaw” tasted like pickled fish.  Mike wanted to know why I even tried it.  Sometimes, I like to be adventurous. 😉  Celine’s and Ely’s burgers tasted like meatloaf, and Mike’s chicken tasted only of garlic – really strong garlic.  In China, there’s really no sending a meal back or asking them to take it off the bill, so we ended up spending way too much for food we didn’t eat.  Oh, well.  Next time, we’ll just eat noodles.

We stayed up as late as we possibly could, skyped with Milo, and gave Celine a bath.  She played hard and then crashed hard, and so did we.  I wasn’t even coherent enough to finish my blog post.  It’s getting finished right now, on Sunday morning instead.  :)

Here are some photos from our day.

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