We're home!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

After 32 hours of travel door to door, we finally arrived home late this afternoon.  We were greeted at the airport by a dear friend of ours and her two daughters.  Since we landed early, we beat my sister and crew to baggage claim. (They helped to drive our minivan to the airport for us so we could drive home.)  We ate a little dinner, unpacked, started laundry, showered up and hit the hay.  Well, that is everyone but me because I just wanted to pop on here and give a quickie update.  Anyway, my sister snapped a few photos.  So I will try to get those from her soon.  I also have to wrap up our time in Hong Kong, which I will pick back up with tomorrow.

Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes.  We are so blessed to have you all follow along as Havi joined our family.  It was so so wonderful to see her playing with Caleb and Madeline and her cousins, Leah and Josh, tonight.  Be still my heart!  She's finally home!

Hello Hong Kong!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Can I just say that I love this place?

Ok, thanks.  Now I'll back up a bit.  

Tuesday afternoon our guide Elvin, who by the way ROCKS, dropped us and another sweet family off at the train station.  Then he went back to the consulate to pick up our children's Visas.  Patty and Mark, with their daughter Abigail, had already spent a few days in Hong Kong before they adopted their son Samuel. So it was great to hear about their experience.  We sat next to each other on the train and then had dinner together at the train station before going our separate ways.

Prior to traveling we were not able to book one room with 5 occupants.  So we ended up having to book two rooms.  The wonderful people at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford were able to put us in two rooms next to each that first (and second) night prior to a suite becoming a available (more on that in another post.)

Anyway, we woke up a bit late and finally decided to hit one of the beaches here in Hong Kong.  So around lunch time we finally managed to board a bus to Stanley Beach on Hong Kong Island.  It was a 7-10 minute walk to the bus stop.  The dumplings were ecstatic to be riding on top of a double decker bus...in the very front row.  And I have to say that the view from up there was pretty awesome indeed.

After about an hour and a half bus ride along the west side of the island, we finally made it to Stanley Place, a great little market area.  We refreshed ourselves with some expensive gelato, as in $6USD for that tiny cup.  Yup.  But when it's 104 degrees with the heat index, ya gotta stay cool somehow.  So we treated ourselves.
Then we were told we could go swimming if we walked in a certain direction for about 10-15 minutes. This took us past Stanley Main Street, a very charming area.

We couldn't wait to dip our feet in the water.

We walked along this narrow street, climbed up a bunch of steps...
...and walked along a mostly shaded narrow road with a beautiful backdrop.
It was hot, I'm not gonna lie.  The dumplings were big troopers.

Then we climbed down a bunch of steps and finally made it to the water's edge.  This was not Stanley Beach, though we didn't know it at the time.  It was a more secluded beach called St. Stephen's Beach. It was a small stretch of beach and not very populated.  We rented an umbrella and bought 2 mats.

Then Baba got in the water with all three dumplings!  And yes, those are shark nets out there in the water.

Havi loved the water.  In fact, she was none too pleased when Baba went back out in the water without her.  A few snacks kept her busy though...salted dried peas, with a touch of sand thrown in.

Havi had fun playing with the straws and sodas while the bigger dumplings got changed.
Then we headed back toward Stanley Main Street for dinner at Pizza Express.  It was affordable, cheap, and tasty....it's hard to put those three adjectives in the same sentence here in Hong Kong!

The best part of dinner was the view.  Dining al fresco while looking out at Stanley Bay was simply surreal.  It might have been warm out, but it was wonderful.
Then we headed back to the bus stop for the 75 minute bus ride back toward the hotel.  Of course all three dumplings fell asleep during the ride.  That was fun trying to wake them all up so we could get off.  Then I hand carried Havi for the 10 minute walk back to the hotel so Patrick could wear Madeline in the carrier. Oy!

Anyway, it was a fabulous first day in Hong Kong.  The subsequent days did not disappoint either.  I am going to do my best to get those posts up before we leave.  Tomorrow is our last day here.  We actually fly out at 12:45am Sunday morning.  So we will still have most of the day to enjoy.  We'll see how much time I have to post. lol.  We have truly loved our little Hong Kong trip.  I'm kicking myself that we didn't fly out of Hong Kong for our first two adoptions.  Thankfully we got to do it this time around.  Stay tuned for more Hong Kong fun!

I'm back...and so are the dumplings!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sorry for being MIA....I was really, REALLY sick.  Sick as in requiring a visit to the international health clinic for IV fluids and medication because I was unable to eat or drink anything, including water, for 3 days.  It was awful and scary to say the least.  

So here's the reader's digest version of our stay in Guangzhou.

Patrick put on his Superdad cape last Friday.  He packed us up in Taiyuan single-handedly and got us down to Guangzhou and checked into our hotel.  Then on Saturday morning, he headed off to the medical exam with all three kids in tow.  I made him take my camera so he could take photos.

Didn't he do a great job?  I set the camera to Aperture Priority for him, picked a few settings, and let him go.  So proud of my budding photographer hubby (and son.)

Saturday afternoon was when I managed to make it over to the health clinic for some treatment.  And on Sunday, I was finally able to eat.  It felt great.  We decided to keep it a low key day and spent a little time by the pool.

Havi seemed unsure at first, and I can't blame her.  Up to that point, we had only given her one real bath.  But she splashed around a bit while in my arms and seemed pleased.  Then she and I got out while her ge ge and jie jie swam with Baba, and she munched on snacks.

Then we just chilled some more in the room.

I find the photo above hilarious.  Caleb is trying to get Havi to look at the camera and not the cartoon playing on the TV.  However, that's exactly what he's looking at himself. lol. Saturday night we joined a few other adoptive families for dinner at the Banana Leaf, a restaurant right across the street from our hotel.  The food was good and the entertain was fun.  Madeline and I did some dancing with the wait staff.  We will share those videos here on the blog once we get home.  Havi was even clapping along.  It was a great night.

Then this morning, we headed over to the Consulate for Havi's immigration interview.  I tried to take a photo of Baba with his two girls.  One of them wasn't interested in looking at my camera.  So she needed a little help.

We came back to the hotel and then headed out for some lunch.  The grown ups and Havi ate at Pizza Hut, which is not like the Pizza Huts at home in the U.S.  They serve a variety of food here, not just pizza.  Then we grabbed Happy Meals for the two bigger dumplings to eat back in the room.  They couldn't wait to get a "Chinese" toy in their Happy Meals.  It was pretty cute.  It was a sticker dispenser that we still don't know quite how to work.

After lunch and a nap for Havi, we ventured down to the pool again...this time with some drizzle.  It has actually been raining all day here, but we decided to hit the pool anyway.  To say that Havi enjoyed it would be an understatement.  She couldn't wait to get back in.  She was splashing around and having fun.  Her face went under a few times, and she came up laughing.  So future lessons with Ms. Carmen are looking good and so are the rest of our summer days.

Well, tomorrow wraps up our very short stay in Guangzhou.  We're only here 4 nights and 3.5 days.  We will take a train from here to Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon after we pick up Havi's Chinese passport with her immigration visa inside.  We still haven't quite nailed down our itinerary in Hong Kong because, frankly, we thought we were going to have to cancel our stay there and come home early (yes, I was that sick.) 

Anyway, we'll be signing off from our very horrible internet connection and VPN in Guangzhou, and we'll be posting again from Hong Kong!  Oh, and I can't forget to  thank you all for hanging in there and all your prayers.  They are much appreciated.  See you then!

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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