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10.29.2008

Laundry, shopping and another dinner disaster

After over two hours of quiet (nap time) I suddenly heard rustling on the bed and then a loud, “Ma!” I turned from what I was doing to see that priceless grin. He started squealing when I smiled at him and that roused our princess from her slumber as well. We spent a few moments in going potty, putting on shoes, gathering jackets and then headed downstairs. In another attempt to win the coveted “parenting of the year” award, we decided that the bag of chips we had eaten, a package of fruit gummies, one fruit bar and a snack at the cafe in the hotel lobby would count for lunch because it was already 3:30 when the children woke up from naps.

At least the OJ for the kids was healthy...

At 4:03 Zoey rushed in and apologized for being late. She was to have been there at 4, so we assured her that we were not upset. We had asked earlier in the day if she knew of anywhere that we could get laundry done (one of the bummers about packing so light...) because the hotel laundry service was so expensive. She had placed a few calls and found a service in an alley “village” about a ten minute walk from the hotel. This village was somewhat fascinating ~ it had it's own hospital, shops, and playground all tucked in an alley way. The man that ran the laundry was elderly and had few teeth left, but he had a grandfatherly smile and decided to give us a discount and wash our 9 garments for the price of 8. The total was 40 yuan, less than the cost of having one pair of jeans washed here at the hotel, and when we looked surprised I think he was going to bargain down with us to keep our business. We assured him that the price was very good and then when we left he wanted to shake all of our hands and practice his few English phrases on us. The entire exchange made me smile and I look forward to going back on Friday to pick up our clothing.
A quiet oasis tucked away in an alley off of the busy city streets.

After dropping off the laundry we headed with Zoey to the RT Mart to pick up some things for Caleb's social welfare institute (SWI). (The reason they are called welfare institutes instead of orphanages is that they house children who are orphans in one section, but also elderly people with no one to care for them in another). She made a call to Director Lu to see if he would be more specific on things the SWI could use on the phone because he was very vague yesterday. I guess the phone call made it easier for him to admit that they could use certain items more than others and we had fun choosing some clothing for the children for winter and some basic non-perishable food items.

After dropping our purchases off in the room we headed out for an early dinner. We tried a restaurant that Zoey recommended. The good news is that there were pictures on the menu, the bad news is that none of the writing was in English. Let's just say that you can't always identify the type of meat or the spiciness of a food by a picture, but overall we enjoyed what we ate and to feed the five of us it cost less than $10! Caleb again ate with gusto and while I know that we'll be working on table manners for a while after we get home, we did find great humor in his ability to slurp noodles.

(for some reason I can't get blogger to behave and let me put the video of Caleb slurping noodles right here, so scroll down to the bottom to watch and then come back ~ sometime I'll get it in the right place, but I'm too tired tonight!)

You'd be amazed at how much of the noodle pot that kid packed away! Kylie also got into the noodle action and ate the best dinner she's had since we've been in Wuhan. She even tore into some of the mystery vegetable ~ resembled a cross between celery and broccoli stems, tasty I may add ~ that the waitress couldn't translate for us. (It's not that she doesn't like Chinese food, it's just that she isn't used to it for a week solid. I've been so glad that I packed the Jif to go cups and can't recommend it enough to folks who may be bringing young children to China with them! Believe me, you will probably be glad you found room in the suitcase for some and a bag of mini bagels)!
It also didn't hurt Kylie's appetite any that we promised her she could ride on the little helicopter ride in the children's play area that we've passed each time we're in the RT Mart. We made a deal with her that she had to eat ½ of her bagel with peanut butter, a pile of noodles and at least try the vegetable. She consumed like crazy as did Caleb (who wanted to feed himself) and let me say that there was one heck of a mess all over the table and floor. It didn't help any that there were no napkins. One strange thing about this country is that they don't use regular napkins. I'm at a restaurant eating noodles and rice with chopsticks with two toddlers and all I have to wipe their faces, their hands, and the table where they drag their shirt sleeves is about five little tissue sized (and thickness) napkin thingies. We left such a huge mess ~ and Caleb was getting so loud ~ that we felt bad and threw in and extra 10 yuan as a peace offering. We walk out of the place, leaving a trail of rice behind us (yes, I'm serious about that ~ we all had rice stuck to us!) and were about 50 yards away when the waitress comes running up behind us and insisted that we take our money. As if we weren't already a walking freak show...

I say freak show rather light heartedly, but we really have noticed so many more second glances and blatantly obvious stares on this trip. Perhaps it is the city, perhaps it is because we have a son, perhaps it is because we are two Westerners with TWO Chinese children. I don't know, but I do know that we are studied in public. And even other Westerners are taking our pictures! Some try to be discreet, but others pretty much do a double take and then pull out their cameras in one fell swoop. We've decided that we are going to make up funds for the trip by smiling at people, holding out our hands and telling them that the photo will cost them $1. Trust me, we'd have a pocket full of money by now! At any rate, we feel like at least 90% of the second glances are friendly and so many people stop to smile and comment on how lovely our children are. I do have to agree that we have two absolutely beautiful kids! And for the most part they are well behaved...

So we stopped and let Kylie ride the helicopter. She was thrilled! Each time her helicopter came around Caleb would squeal with delight when he saw her face. You could tell he was watching for her and it made me smile too! We were going to let him ride (and of course let Kylie ride a second time) but the ride operator said that children had to be at least 3 to ride. I guess my little girl doesn't appear so little any more!
On our way back to the hotel we walked down an alley that must be the Wuhan flower market. This picture doesn't do it justice! The street took a sharp turn and was at least this long again full of tiny shops selling nothing but flowers. How many flowers does a city need and how could you begin to select someone to buy from? It was a nice extra walk though and the scent of some of the flowers was almost intoxicating.

We played for a few minutes upon our return to the room and then it was bath time, a tickle fest on the bed and bedtime. They are so sweet sleeping side by side! Tonight I've got the two chairs pulled up to Caleb's side to help prevent him disappearing in the night ~ we'll see how that works...

We go to Caleb's SWI in the morning to meet with his foster mother. We are scheduled to arrive around 10:30 am local time (if the time hasn't changed yet, that is 10:30 pm Wednesday night back home). Please pray along with us that this visit has a positive effect on Caleb's overall transition.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You guys are getting all the stares becuase they have probably never seen such happy parents!!
Thank you so much for sharing the
experience. I hope the trip to the SWI goes well. You will be in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless you all.
David L.

Mom of Triple As said...

Should we have chop sticks waiting in the states for you? He's adorable!

bbeatley said...

That video is tooo cute.

Our Journey said...

Your dinner stories are so entertaining!!! And that video of him -- it's great -- it seems that way we get to "see him in person" not just in pictures.

NaiNai Miller said...

I can see by the video that Caleb really is an active little guy. You were right about his mouth being a moving target. I love the dinner stories. I am glad you are taking everything with such good humor. I will be praying for you tonight as you meet with Caleb's foster mother.
Love, nainai

Nancy said...

I just love reading this, I almost feel like I'm there. Its so weird yet COOL to hear you talk about TWO kids after reading about one for so long. Love the noodle eating video!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just want to reach out and scoop him up!!! Will be praying the visit goes well with his foster mother. We so enjoyed meeting Lottie's nannies and visiting the orphanage. So glad you will get that experience this time and be able to share with him one day!! So special!!
Enjoying all the stories of the days events!!
Shannon

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! It is soooo cool to see him in the video. It makes it a little more real. It is so great to hear about every detail!
We will be praying fervently that the meeting goes well with Calebs foster parents!!!
We love you all!
Tell Kylie and Caleb Aunt Cici and Uncle Adam love them to pieces!!!
Aunt cici

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! It is soooo cool to see him in the video. It makes it a little more real. It is so great to hear about every detail!
We will be praying fervently that the meeting goes well with Calebs foster parents!!!
We love you all!
Tell Kylie and Caleb Aunt Cici and Uncle Adam love them to pieces!!!
Aunt cici

MelLynn said...

i can say enough how happy i am for you guys! you two are the most wonderful parents and i can see caleb warming up to you guys with every post. i pray that things at hi swi go well and that the transition there is easy. i cant wait to meet the little guy and see you millers again because it has been way too long!

Jenny Wheelis said...

So we have watched the noodle video at least 10 times. Too much fun. I love that he doesn't know what a fork is! Precious! Jadyn keeps looking at pictures of Kylie and thinking they are her.... "me and mommy," she says. Welcome to the world of staring... I so know how that feels! Blessings on you guys... we love following your journey!

Laurie said...

LOVED the video- so cute! Looks like you are all having a great time, even with the "issues" you're dealing with. YEAH! That is so funny that they ran after you to give you your money back at the restaurant- what a hoot! I'm loving all your stories- keep them coming! :)

Jess & Tim said...

Todays blog was so funny! You are such a wonderful family! I shared todays post with my DH and he loved it too. We will pray as you are off to meet with foster mom!

Jordan Carl said...

it's so good to hear the kids are bonding so well. I know I have said this many times, but I can't wait to really meet and bond with Caleb a little. I miss the bit of bonding Kylie and I had for those couple days too. I hope you all have a smooth transition and I will be praying for you!
Love you

Melanie said...

Hey guys! What a joy it is to read the postings and hear about all that's going on in China! The pics are priceless, especially the ones of the kids sleeping together. We can't wait to meet Caleb in person. Our love to you all.

Mel, Reid, Ella & Carly