Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trainwreck and other Home Issues

Last Night, I got to see the movie Trainwreck.  It is a great adult comedy.  I loved how Amy Schumer reversed the guy with relationship issues into a woman with relationship issues.  The cameos are hilarious.  If you want to see a funny adult comedy, do so.  The more it makes in the box office, the more Hollywood will make.

I returned home to find Elana asleep on the floor and Michelle watching a TV show.  At bedtime, I had her pick up Elana.  When I do, she want me to stay with her until she falls asleep.  She picks her up and no crying.  This is a great sign.  She even manages to lay her down.  Then I see an issue.  There is a gap between the mattress and the wall that we need to fix.  I know the extra movement risks waking Elana.  We manage to move it and sure enough she begins to stir.  I have to have Michelle rub her back/stomach.  Things only get worse.  Angie comes in and calms her down.

Things went great until about 3:00am.  She wet her diaper and that woke her up screaming.  I had to bring her into bed and try to get her back to sleep.  She did calm down.  When I woke, I tried putting a pillow between her and the edge of the bed.  It worked for about a minute.  She started rolling towards the edge.  Angie brought her into the living room.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Musical Beds

Elana is still trying to find out where she wants to sleep.  She started with the floor.  I have had her on the couch.  She has slept on Michelle's futon.  I thought this would be a great place for her.  Last night, Michelle slept with her sister.  I did not hear much crying.  I thought the night went great.  Angie told me she cried out twice.  She said that Elana had become turned around.  As I was leaving today, I went to Michelle's room to check on them.  I did not have to go far.  Elana was asleep at the doorway to Michelle's room.  Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Walking Dead: Convention

Michelle and I are big fans of the show.  We decided to surprise her.  With our trip to China, we did not have a lot of money.  We were able to get a ticket half off.  Michelle was free due to age.

This morning, we drove to the convention center.  Michelle thought we were going to a road race.  She figured it our as we got closer.

At the center, we were half an hour early.  We had to wait.  As we did, the line grew.  At 10:30, they opened the doors.  People flocked to the actors and booths.  We went to the show area.  We were treated to a conversation with two actresses from the show.

We then walked the hall.  We saw actors from The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Lost, and Gotham.  When we could, we would take pictures.  They had people that watched for it.  If you wanted a picture and or autograph, you had to pay for it.  Prices were around $20 to over $100.  Suffice it to say, we did not have the money for the extras. We even left the building for lunch.  The convention center was expensive.

Overall, it was fun.  Michelle might say differently.  I don't think she will want to go back.

Sleep Success!

I went to bed early last night.  I had mowed our backyard and it wiped me out.  At 11:00p, I heard Elana crying.  That was my cue to wake up.  I went into the living room.  I was going to stay in there on the couch, but Michelle was already asleep on a chair.  That gave me an idea.  Michelle has a futon in her room.  I thought that I could give it a try with Elana.  It worked.  Michelle did come in there around 4:00am.  Elana got a good sleep, with no crying.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Loss of my Computer: Vista Microsoft's failed Operating System

Years ago, I was able to get a laptop as a consultation prize after being let go from AT&T.  I went to the store and got a Toshiba.  It has been a great computer.  That is, except for the Vista operating system.  For me, it has been more of a nuisance.  When you add programs or try to fix something, Vista gets in the way.  Now, it does not recognize my router.  I can not get on the web or upload pictures.  Once I can find a fix, I will  be adding pictures to the posts.

Another Night

I slept on the couch last night.  I was trying to give Angie some rest.  Elana was asleep by about 7 or 8.  She slept pretty good last night.  I think she whimpered once or twice.  She woke around 5am.  This morning, I tried to sit her in a high chair to eat.  She blew up in a tantrum.  Eventually she calmed down.  She ate two or three pancakes.  At least we know eating is not an issue.

Friday, June 26, 2015

6 Weeks until first Report is Due

When you adopt from China, you agree to do follow up reports.  This gives them an idea how the child is progressing in your house.  It used to be one post placement visit.  Now it is 6 weeks, 6 months, one year, two years, three years, and four years.  I think that this came about after children had been killed or seriously injured by the families that adopted them.  I think its a great idea.  Some may not like it, but if it protects the child, I don't see a problem with it.  We just need to get our house in order before the visit.  It looks like a disaster area.  Most of the things in our great room are suitcases.

Another Day, Another Discovery

Elana had another restless night.  She was in and out of sleep.  I think we may have found out why.  She is not getting enough food.  The problem is that she tends to stop at a certain time when we are feeding her.  Since she does not talk, we have to guess what she wants.  At times, it is drink.  Who know if she still wants food after that drink.  Last night, we offered her some more to eat in the middle of the night.  She ate it.  I don't want to get into the habit of feeding her in the middle of the night.  We will try harder to make sure she is finished.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Movie Theater in China

As you might have guessed, I am a movie fan.  I watch them every chance I get.  This trip, I actually went into a movie theater.  The theaters we visited were inside buildings.  Usually on the top floor.  One even had an Imax theater.  I would have loved to have seen a movie, but that would have been difficult.

When we entered the theaters, they had a set up similar to the US.  There is a box office and then ropes to the theaters and concessions.  My biggest problem is that it would have been really hard to get a ticket.  None of the titles were in English.  They did not even have posters close enough to point them out.  I could have asked the ticket person to walk with me as I pointed out the movie.  Not only that, but I think most of them would have been in Mandarin.  If it had been Jurassic World, I think it would have been in English with Pinyin subtitles.

I did see that concessions had some decent deals.  It would have been interesting to experience a movie in China.  Maybe next time.

Any Regrets: A look back at our last trip

As I look back, I wish I had done better research for food.  I love Chinese food.  I really wanted to try different things.  Or, just experience good meals.  Since I did not do the research, we stuck to more fast food places.  Of course, they were not all American.  Fast food is fast food.  The next trip I go on, I want to look up many dishes and where to find them.  I will also try and print out there titles in Pinyin.  I guess I thought our guides would do more.  It seems when you are a pro, they don't do as much.  

I think we did pretty well on our site seeing.  We did miss the Unit 731 Museum.  Looking at a map, we were not even close to it.  I need to make sure things are closer to our hotel.  As for Guangzhou, I think we are running out of places to visit.  It is becoming like Beijing.  We'll just have to see.  I don't know when our next visit will be.  If it is a heritage tour, then they will have most of our travel and meals planned out.  We'd really need to save.  I look forward to it, but with a family our size, it will be expensive.  

The Good, The Bad, and The Tired

Yesterday was a good day for Elana.  When she came into our lives, she did not seem to know how to drink.  She would not take a bottle and if you poured liquid in her mouth, it would come right out.  She did not seem to know how to drink.  We ended up buying an eye dropper to squirt liquid in her mouth.

When we got home, we started using a bottle that Mia used to learn how to drink.  In about a three day period, Elana is now drinking out of a straw.  That is a big accomplishment.  We can probably transition her into a cup with a straw.

Last night, Elana woke up at about 12:30am.  When she wakes up, the whole house wakes up with her.  She may be small, but she has some big lungs.  We changed her diaper and I decided to try and get her back to sleep.  She laid on my chest for a couple of hours.  Finally, I decided to drop to the floor.  At this point, I was able to scoot her to the floor.  She whimpered at first.  I slowly tried to get up.  At this point, she burst out in another crying fit.  Angie took my place.  She was able to get her back to sleep.

I am tired, but not any more than usual.  This might be the best way of getting her back to sleep until she is used to everything.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Halftime at Work

First day back.  Been greeted by most of my coworkers.  Some have even asked about my adventures and how my daughter is doing.  For some, it was like how was your vacation.  At least, I did not come back to a ton of things to do.  We left at the right time.  Next time, I'd prefer to do it during a cooler time of the year.

Elana is also getting used to the house without me in it.  Angie said she was crying.  She could be tired from waking so early.  The girls are assisting Angie with her.  Mia went back to school today for the summer.  I don't think it will be a long time.  She missed some of the days when we were gone.

I am ready for the weekend.  Now that Elana is here, I have a better idea of how we need to clean and arrange things.  I don't think we will get much done this weekend.  Next weekend will be better.  We get an extra day off for fourth of July.

Back To Work

I got to bed early last night.  I was trying to be rested up for my first day back.  Elana had other things on her mind.  At 2:30am, she woke up crying.  We changed her diaper and tried to lay her back down.  She would not go with that.  I eventually brought her on to our bed.  She stayed on my chest for a while, then shifted towards the center of the bed.  I thought she finally was going to sleep.  That is until I felt her head with my foot.  Angie took her out to the living room where she stayed up playing with a flashlight.  I did get some rest.  Hopefully, today will go by quickly.  At least, I did not have a ton of emails to go through.  I did that while I was out.  I hate having to go through a million emails, especially when most of them have already been taken care of.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Hot Spot

A hot spot is a place were one can achieve a wifi connection.  It also can be a popular place to visit.  Literally, it can be a warm place.  In our room in Harbin, we had all three.  As you walk into the room, there is an inner room before the bedroom.  I guess this would qualify as a suite.  It is old by other hotels we have stayed in in China.

This room is the only place we could pick up the wifi.  Not only that, but this room was extremely hot.  Our air did not make it into this room.  There were no windows in the hot spot.  Every time we needed access to the Internet, we were in that room.  I did a lot of posts from there.

Meeting Sister Kayla

Today, we brought Elana to meet her sister Kayla.  At first, she did not want to go near her.  I think it is because she was not used to her.  As our meeting progressed, she took a liking to her sister.  This will help her on Sunday when they meet again.  Kayla liked the gifts we got her on the trip.  I just hope her room mates respect her things.  Sometimes, things either disappear or get damaged.

What's next?

Our next stop on this adoption is the doctor's office.  Elana will get a full checkup.  We will see what can be done with her eyes.  Angie will also be setting up organizations that assist children with sering issues.  We will also be Elana proofing the house.  In 6 weeks, we have a report that will be due to the agency.

VPN in China

When in China, I hear VPN is the way to go.  If we had added that to our devices, we could have done everything we do at home.  I only found out after we were in China.  At that point, it was too late.  I tried, but it just did like most sites blocked in China.  Maybe next time.

Elana's First Night in Her Room

I would have said bed, but she would not stay in her bed.  This morning I went to check on the girls.  Elana was where she started the night.

She woke up in a pretty good mood.  I fed he some formula and some apple juice.  Then she ate a whole donut.  We are now headed to see Kayla.

Monday, June 22, 2015

All is Quiet at the Fahey Household

We finally made it home.  When we pulled up to the house, I noticed that a jungle had grown around the house.  I knew what I had to do.  I got out and helped to unload the van.  Then, I got on the earphones, IPod, and pulled out the mower.  At one point, it looked like rain.  We even heard thunder, but no rain.

Lean transitioned really fast.  At first, it scared her.  But later, she was climbing on the furniture.  Bedtime arrived and she did not want to lay in the crib.  I had her lay on my chest.  When I felt she was asleep, I tried to lay her in the crib.  I decided to try and let her start on the floor.  We can transition her to a bed.  At first, she did not want to lay there.  Sleep came over her quickly.

Now it is quiet.  Tomorrow she gets to meet her sister Kayla.

Driving in Jacksonville, FL

Driving in China is not something I would want to do.  Well today Angie had me take over in Georgia.  I got us through to Florida. The first big city is Jacksonville.  Driving through that stretch was like driving in China.  I think they do it better in China.  It was crowded and the lanes seem small.  Not only that, but you have semis and slow people in the same vicinity.

Music Buying in China

Buying music in China can be an experience.  On our first adoption, I was all about US music.  I would not even give music from other countries a chance.

After Kiersten, things changed.  I walked into a shop next to the hotel.  One thing you will find out is that you have to do the research.  What do people listen to.  Of that, what appeals to your tastes.  China house different styles of music.  You have instrumental, old style with lyrics, pop, rock, and rap.

When I walked in, I started to look.  The store was divided by English music, Chinese music, and DVD's.  I went over to Chinese.  The woman tells me that western music is in another section.  I tell her that I want Chinese, but I don't know what is good.  She picks out two singers: Janice and Soulboy.  This is where I gained my appreciation for foreign music.

Then, I discovered Psy.  That led to other K-Pop groups.  Upon arriving for our last adoption, I had to find music.  I ended up buying Jay Chou.  It was a DVD of a lot of his videos.  I think I got a CD.  Sony has a deal with the Orange County Library System.  People in Orlando van download music for free.  Jay Chou's music was available.  I also discovered other singers.

On this adoption, I was going to find more music and DVD's for Pleasant Goat.  I asked our guide.  She first thought I meant classical.  I said I wanted current.  She told us that people mainly download.  I did find one place.  I was able to find a K-Pop CD.

I guess I will have to find ways to download the music I want.

SOB: South of the Border

We made it to South Carolina.  We passed Pedro about 10 minutes ago.  Angie would not stop.  She did actual cars in thier parking lot.  Maybe they are only busy in the summer.  South Carolina is boring as usual.  Georgia will go by quick. Time t watch a movie on the Kindle.

Take Your Child with a Grain of Salt

When adopting, you will get information about your child. It may not be complete.  I think we accept that.  You can ask quistions and they might give you some answers.  How much do they know and how much might be coming from a foster parent.  If it does come from a foster parent, what is their vested interest?  Does the orphansge give them shelter and food for services rendered?

Elana has been great.  We are starting to see signs of things that could have happened.  When you give her a bath, she freaks out.  There might be scarring.  As for eating, she will chew her foods.  She does not seem to know how to drink.  It looks like some of Mia's feeding skiils are going to come in handy.  It's okay though.  I don't think anyone is trying to deceive us.  We just have to get used to each other.

The Long Voyage Home

Today ends part of our adoption journey. I eoke about 5:00am.  I took my shower and shaved.  I will never skip shaving on a journey like that again.  I felt like Rip Van Winkle by the time we got to China.

We gathered the loose belongings.  Angie had packed the suitcases the night before.  I was hit by a spell of jet lag.

The girls stirred early, but did not move very quickly.  When Angie came out with Elana, I assisted.  I changed her and fed her.  Then I did a check on Mia.  She said she was not going.  Eventually she stumbled out of the room.

Once the car was packed, we hit the road.  Breakfast was BoJangle's.  We used to eat there a lot when we lived in North Carolina.  We have them in Florida, but don't go there as much.

Elana is doing great.  She is babbling more.  She is also letting others hold her.  That is a relief to my back.  On to Florida!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Burrito in Gungzhou

On our first day in Guangzhou, Michelle and I went in search of stores.  We thought there was a big mall next to the hotel.  It turned out to be a fancy mall that had about five stores in it.  While in the mall, it started to rain.  We had left the umbrellas in the room.

When we got a break, we walked down one side.  It did not turn up much.  We doubled back and went down another side.  The first thing that caught our eye was a burrito shop.

We kept on walking.  We were hoping for something Chinese.  That did not pan out.  We ended up at a chicken place.  The storm was slowing us down. A woman invited us to sit under shelter while we looked at a menu.  She asked us about Elana, who was also with us.

In the end, we ended up at Mr. Pancho's to get burritos.  The cost was about $5 each.  They turned out to be really good.  We even wanted one before we left.  But the business remained closed.  Maybe next trip.

Elana's First Car Ride in a Babyseat

On arriving to the US, I did not even bother with a baby seat.  I did not want to hear Elana cry.  Yesterday, we had rested enough to leave the house. Elana's seat had to be adfed to the van. Once it was, I braced myself for the screams.  She shocked me.  She did not cry. Hopefully, she will enjoy it for 8 hours on Monday.

We visited relatives in the area.  It was a long day, but she lasted for a good part of the day.  In the end, she had a meltdown. It even lasted into the night.  I had to sleep with her.  If I was not nearby, she was crying.

Today has started on a good foot.  I will tell you, she is very independent and is not afraid to explore.  Don't even try and block her.

A Visit to an Asian Market in the US

Yesterday, we visited an Asian market in NC.  We were looking for some of the things that we tried and liked in China.  I was looking for whole lychee's.  Angie was looking for some drinks and snacks.

The market was extremely busy.  The first thing I saw was a solar powered Geisha.  In Japan, they were charging $13.00.  At the market, it was $5.99.  You have to gauge your pricing if buying out side of your country.

Although I did not find lychee's, I did find Dragonfruit.  Elana loved this one.  They also had other Asian fruits and vegetables.  I will say they looked better in China.  I don't know if that is because they shipped it from China.

Angie was able to find a pear drink she liked.  We also found some butter, coconut crackers.  I am hoping they are similar to a snack found on Japan Air.

Michelle was looking for chips.  She liked steak flavor that came from a Chinese company.  She also was looking for onion ring chips.  She settled on some onion ring chips.  In the end, she did not like them.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Foodie Guide

I was watching a food show on Netflix.  The host went to Hong Kong.  He was lucky enough to have friends or guides give him suggestions of places and things to eat.

We had some of that on our first two adoptions.  These last two we did not have that.  This adoption was just looking at pictures and hoping for some English.  For the most part it worked, but I wanted to be wowed by something good and new,  that did not happen.  Maybe one day we can afford a guide to bring us for food places.

The Durian: Friend or Foe?

When you enter a grocery store in China, you will be greeted with a sweet smell.  I kind of think of it like the sweet smell of garbage.  That smell comes from a fruit called the Durian.  Every produce section serms to have one.  Sometimes, you will see signs banning the fruit.

When we brought Kiersten home, we bought her some durian wafers.  I tried one.  It tasted better than it smelled.  Her teacher even made her eat outside of the class during snack.  We had to seal it in airtight bag.

If you ever make it over to China and see a spiky looking yellowish fruit, give it a smell.  If you can get past the smell rat some.  Then, make your own judgement.

The Songhua River: a Blast from the Past

When we were adopting Michelle in 2005, we heard about an explosion in Northern China.  They had reported that Benzine had gotten into the drinking water and was causing issues.  We were concerned, but did not see the affects.

I find it interesting that ten years later, this is the province we got to adopt from.  I exercised on every morning.  We eve saw people swimming and fishing in it.  When we look at our daughter, we wonder if environment had something to do with her disorder.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Souvenir Buying in China

In the past, or guide would have informed us not to buy things in our province and just wait till Guangzhou.  I think if she were still our guide, she would have told us to buy in our province.  I am glad Angie did.  Not only that, but it seems like they have the same things. Harbin was more Russian influenced.  Those things could not be found  in Guangzhou.

One example I can give is a doll Angie wanted.  It was the Fan Bingbing Barbie.  I kept my eyes open for it.  Finally, in Guangzhou I found it at a department store.  It had a price tag of $450 MEN.  That equals about $80 US. today, I found it for $35US.  You'd think it would be cheaper in China.  It is directed towards a Chinese market.

I had hoped to find DVD and music.  They could not be found.  We asked the guide and she said people could not make money selling them.  I did see one person selling current movies on DVD.  I did find one store in a mall.  The prices were reasonable.  I tried asking about Jay Chou and Pleasant Goat.  She smiled and shook her head.  She did not understand English.  I looked around.  I did find one CD.  It was a K-pop group called Bing Bang.  It was $50 RMB.  Roughly $9.00 US.  That was for three albums.

Air Japan

We did not know what to expect from this flight.  It would be our biggest and longest of the plane rides.  Things were looking up at the airport.  Elana was happy.  She was crawling around the floor.  Before getting on the plane, we talked with a man who was living in Japan as a missionary.  We talked about our adoptions.  In the end, he prayed for us to have a good journey.

Elana got on the plane with no crying.  That was a first.  Next to Angie was a family with a child. They warned us she might cry.  We told her we have the same issue.

Elana stayed in my arms while we took off and reached our flying altitude.  Then she wanted to get down.  Slowly, she got to the floor.  Next thing I know, she was asleep.  She remained this way for most of the flight.

The airplane was very comfortable.  If a person reclined in front of someone, they were not in your lap.  The food and snacks were better than expected.  The final meal was a hamburger.  It was one of the best I have had on an airplane.

Unlike other flights, I did not see people getting sick and passing out.  They did a really good job keeping people hydrated.  Overall, we would fly Japan Air again.  I feel that Cathay Pacific would be on that list also.  I just did not get to enjoy thar flight as much.

Wrong side of Town?

When we went to Baiyun Mountain, our guide had a discussion with our driver about the area.  She tells us that we have to be careful.  The driver has told her it is not a nice part of town.

We have gone around a lot of China without our guides.  Most areas would scare the hell out of other adoptive parents.  Especially ones that complain about not getting first class tickets on some form of travel.

We arrived at the station. Slowly we emerged on the road.  It was like the groundhog looking for its shadow or a rabbit looking for predators.

What we saw, it is hard to put into words.  It looked like everywhere else we have gone through.  I'd say more working class.  They had lots of car garages.  We did not see anything that looked shifty.  We
even received help from others.  I even ate ate at one of the eateries.  I guess the driver mistook us from other parents he encounters.

Bird Flu, Swine Flu, H1M1, and now MERS

I have written about past contagions.  It seems everytime we go over, they are on the lookout for another.  This time it was Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome or MERS.

When. We arrived in China, we were greeted with people monitoring temperatures.  This seemed to be at most airports in China.  Not only that, but when we went from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, we were checked at the border.  Wonder what the next ailment will be?

Celebrity Sighting

When travelling in a national airport, like Chicago.  You should watch your fellow passengers.  Not only can it be entertaining, like the crazy woman going rudely through everyone loudly saying excuse me, you might see a celebrity or sport's figure.

Michelle and I were looking for food.  The choices were limited and expensive.  My main goal was a Chicago dog.  I could not find a place.  Plus, it seems like this airport is a breeding ground for celebrity chef restaurants.  In these places, you pay for their name.

As we were heading back, I see an older man with spiky hair.  I instantly recognize him.  It was Brian Grazer.  Now, you are probably going, who!.  He is an award winning producer.  He has produced some of Ron Howard's films.  He was walking with family and an airport employee was leading them to their flight.  Looking back, the could have been in town for the hockey game.

Morning Time Jetlag

Elana woke early today.  She was up at 3:00am.  Michelle was also up.  They will need to get used to the time change.  I wish I was in Harbin.  I would get dressed and we'd get or morning exercise.

Getting back to the morning.  I finally got up after hearing Michelle and Kiersten trying to feed Elana.  I helped get formula ready.  We fed her.  I am now sitting rocking her in a chair.  She is asleep again.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Japan Airport

This was the leg of the trip I was both looking forward to and dreading.  I knew the service would be exceptional, but I did not know how Elana would take a 14 to 15 hour flight.  This was going to be the big test.

Japan's Tokyo airport has two terminals. As we walked through it, some looked new.  We had to do a security check.  This happens every time we go through Japan.  We had arrived early, so most of the stores were just opening up.

We were in no hurry.  We had to wait a couple of hours.  Angie was hoping to get something to calm Elana down.  That did not materialize.  The stores had certain things, but certain pain relievers were not of them.

I walked to see if I could anything.  They had a lot of high end stores.  Nothing we'd be interested.  I did find some crafts, but they were high. One thing that caught my eye.  Takeshi Kitano was advertising for a Gatorade like company.  There drink was called Sweat or something Sweat.  I found that interesting, since he is not known for athletics.  He is an actor/director.  A lot of his movies have to do with Yakuza mobsters.  Maybe the ad goes like:  When I am protecting and doing the bidding of a crime boss, I work up a mighty thirst.  So I drink Sweat.  Actor takes drink and acts refreshed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Same Nightmare Different Plane

Elana does not like flying.  She had a fit as soon as we got on the plane.  I held her in my arms.  I did my best to calm her down.  It had no effect.  I could just feel the stares.  I tried to feed her, but the only thing that did was kelp her from screaming louder.

The next option was to hand her to Angie.  She still continued to cry.  After we were airborne, she asked if she could go to the middle to stand and rock her.  They said it would be fine.  She finally calmed down.  The next thing I know, a stewardess is asking me to go back to Angie.  She had to go to the bathroom.  Elana willingly got into my arms.  The only issue was she did not want to go back.

I stood and rocked her.  The stewardess asked questions about our family.  At one point, Elana let me sit her down.  I think she saw me nodding off syndrome point.  Elana crawled on the floor and found a little cubbyhole and laid down.  Eventually she fell asleep.  The stewardess said she would watch her and said I could go to sleep.

When she returned to Angie, she did not cry.  That ended the first self of this trip.

Fun in the Airport

We finally got through security.  We found somewhere to seat.  Michelle and I surveyed our surroundings.  Lots of eating places.  Everything looks expensive.  The issue is I am looking at prices that are in HK.  It is more, unless I divide it by the exchange rate.  If I don't, I save money.

Elena and I did a couple of laps around the terminal. She is still learning to walk.  She did pretty good.  It also tired her out.  We think we know why she cried the last trip.  She was hungry.  We had another meltdown at the airport. She got over it after eating.

Now we sit and wait.  Flight does not leave till 1:00am.  Angie and Elena test.  Michelle and I are at charging stations.

A Meal to Remember

In Guangzhou, there was an amazing dumpling restaurant.  This would be other than The Noodle King.  This business is an out of the way place.  Our guide from our last adoption showed us this gem.  The cost and taste could not be beat.

Since it was near our old hotel, we had to take the subway over.  After a little shopping, I walked over by myself.  I guesstimate people would not go where I did, but it was worth it.  The area is an alleyway.  People are selling things on both sides of the road/walkway.  They are mainly selling vegetables and meat.  I did see one or two little stores.  I like these, because they are not as high ad 7-11.

Once I hit a road that intersects, I turn to the right and the place is on the left.  I walk in and get the usual stares.  I go up to someone taking orders.  He offers me a table.  I explain that I want to take it out. He finally says take away.  I look through the menu.  I ordered egg fried rice, beef dumplings, and a Chinese Hamburger.  The order cost $30 Yuan.  About $6 US.

THe food was great.  It lasted through dinner.

Live From Hong Kong Airport

The radio silence is over. We are in Hong Kong.  I can blog again.  Hong Kong allows Facebook, Twiiter, and blogging.  The ride over was interesting, but the traffic remained on the other side of the road.

Once we got here, we thought we had to check in at American, but Cathay Pacific was our first carrier.  After a little wait, I walked over and asked them.  Sure enough we could check in.  It was too late to go anywhere though.  So, we stopped at McDonald's.  The choices are limited on this side.  Once we go through our water, we will go through security.  Then the options open up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Final Day in Guangzhou

We woke early to get to breakfast.  The temperature was okay when Michelle and I went around the coy pond.  Not like our first morning.  It was hot and humid.  I believe it will still be hot.    

While we were eating, an adoptive family walked in.  They looked like we did on our first adoption.  They got their daughter food and sat outside.  They acted like the food was from outer space.  We were getting eat up by mosquitoes inside, so I can only guess how it was outside.  

Upon finishing, Michelle and I walked around the coy pond.  We did not get bitten, but that pond seems to breed them.  Now, we are packing.  Then we head to Hong Kong.  

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Don't Leave Home Without it

Today we got good news.  The consulate was able to print our Visa.  We will be leaving in the morning to Hong Kong.  We are hoping to check in our bags and take a cab to Victoria Peak.  We'll have to see how things go.  I am hoping to take pictures on the way over as well.

The only pictures will be the ones from the airport.

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Baiyun Mountain: A Peak with a View

To get to the mountain, we thought we'd follow Trip Advisor.  It said to tke the train to a specificstation and the walk.  Then out guide saw this and said it would be too far to walk.  We still wanted to go, so I decided that we would take a cab.  We asked our guide write it in pinyin.  If we did not have that, we'd not be able to communicate.

We packed up our bags and took the train over to the nearest station.  When we got to the road,we did not notice any signs.  I did see the mountain.  We went up to a motorcycle cab.  He saw where we were going and shook his head.  We thought it was because we were within walking distance.  So we crossed the road.  We still did not know which way to go.  

We asked some people where to go.  They tried to adsist.  They gave us two numbers.  We found out they were for the bus.  In the end we hailed a cab.  He took us to the entrance.

We paid our admission to take the cable car.  Going up was hot.  We did see windows open, but we felt like we were fish in a sunlit fishbowl.  

Getting off we saw the signs for McDonad's.  They had that and a couple of other eateries.  They were expensive.  

The best part was the view from the mountain.  You could see a big part of the city.  Michelle and I wslked around a little.  There was a group of girls playing a hacky sack like game.  

As we left, a woman approached us.  She asked how we knew about the mountain.  We told her that we had been to the park below the mountain.  She asked if she could take our picture together.  

We said okay.  She tried to take a picture, but the telephoto lens was on.  She backed up.  She finally took a picture.  Then she cut the the lefy still smiling.  Angie whispers that if she takes off I have to run after her.  It felt like that scene from European Vacation, where the con man steals there video camera.  That did not happen.  

We made our way down to the cable car.  This time it was cooler.  We realized that there was a window we could have opened.

Getting the cab back was a piece of cake.  We did have to tell him where to stop.  At this stop,  there were some eateries.  I got a steamed bun. MIchelle got a ice cream.  Angie did not like the choices.  

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Monday, June 15, 2015

US Consulate Elana Starts Citizenship Process

This morning we had to wake early.  We had an early appointment.  One big question we needed answering is are we going to be leaving on timr. Other families have had to wait past their leave time.  The computers have been down or working very slowly.  I am hoping this will not happen to us.  

We stopped by the clinic for Elana's medical records.  The we walked across to the consulate.  Our guode pointed to the building and said that was it.  This was not the same building my other three daughters went to.  What had happened is that they were in a temporary building until they could build their own.  

There were a lot of people waiting to get in.  They were locals waiting for Visas to visit America.  We had our own line.  Although we had to wait, it was with other adoptive families.  

Our guide could not go inside.  So, she told us what to do.  Whrn we got onto our floor, we went straight to line 7 to get our number.  Whrn 12 families had got in the room, they told the families how things were going to work.

While Angie did this process, I tried to keep Elana happy.  I thought I had done a good job.  She was fussy, but what child would not have been.  

They did tell us that we will find out by 10:30am if we will get the Visa's on time.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.  We were not planning to stay extra days.  I did write my Senator to see if we will be reimbursed.  If not, you can still make donations to Reece's Rainbow.  

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Reconnaissance of our Surroundings

Since everything seems to br closed, Michelle and I decided to take the subway to the Marriot we stayed at three years ago.  I wanted to make sure the bargaining areas wete still open.  We jumped on the train went over one stop, transferred and went over one stop.  Then we proceeded to walk through the lobby of the Marriot.  Michelle kept asking how I knrw whete it was.  I had to remind her.

Out of the hotel, we walked down the driveway.  What I saw gave me hope.  The fronts of thr stores were still there.  Walked to the main entrance.  They did look like they were closing. The stalls were fully loaded.  As I walked by people, they kept trying to get us to look at their things.  We did go into one stall.  This stall had some meaning.  It belonged to a person Angie bargainef with on the last adoption.  She was also very reasonable.  I guess we will find out soon.

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Shamian Island Rebirth of a Culture

After the Pearl Market, we drove over to the island.  Since 2005, we have visited this island.  It once housed the US Consulate.  That moved to put it in a more secure location.  The White Swan was the main hotel for Chinese adoptipns.  It closed about four years ago.  The reason was to renovate the whole hotel from top to bottom. The hospital that does the checkups for the adoption closed recently and moved off the island.

When we were on the island for the first two adoptions, we did not see many locals.  The island has chsnged a lot since then.  We drove through thr islands and a lot of the stores had closed.  Our guide said that more locals are now coming to the island.  The stores that remain have inflated prices to survive.  

We did find out that the White Swan may reopen soon, but will it worry adout catering adoptions. Or will it sell itself as a luxurious place for the rich and locals.  Will the dtores be able to survive.  Lucy's might. They were still open.  Prices still too high.  

Angir was able to find some things.  She got to talk to some of the shop keepers.  It was sad to see, but I also liked that it had been reclaimed for the people.  

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Got a Screw Loose

Angie has to wear braces. This is to make sure her knees don't come out of place. The other day, she noticed a screw missing. She tried to find a replacement. It is a little hard to find a hardware shop in China. Today, she found that a second screw was missing. It was on the same bracket. She needed two screws. I said she should ask the hotel. At first they did not understand us. He went out of his way to find a person to help us. Once they understood, they called engineering. They specially made four screws for her. Two for her braces and two for replacements. All I can say is that this hotel has gone out of its way to help us. I do not think others would do so.

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A Trip to the Pearl Market

Our group met for an outing to the Pearl Market. It is a seven story mall dedicated to gems minerals. I have never really been a fan of the market. It has no air and tons of vendors smoke in there. Heaven forbid if you have to use the bathroom. You can smell them before you can get inside. Every adoption group ends up there. Angie and the other families went into the market. I went over to a nearby building the is similar, but is comprised of clothes and at least one DVD/CD store. I was shocked when I got in. It was identical to the other market. Evidently it was not making as much as minerals can bring in. I walked through to th walking out door mall.

I headed in a direction that we do not usually travel in. As I walked, I heard a song I knew. I walked back two steps and found that it was coming from a lingerie shop. It was Loser by the K-pop group Big Bang. If you have not heard it, look it up.
I returned to Angie and the families defeated. We walked to another shop or two before leaving for Shamian Island.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Epic Fail

We went in search of the Toilet Bowl Restaurant. We got on the 5 line to transfer to the 1 line. It was busy as it was the day before. At one point we had to push through the masses to get off the train. You have a limited amount of time before the door closes. When we got to our location, we went to where I remember the restaurant to be. I guess the concept of eating out of a toilet bowl did not catch on. So, we continued to walk through the mall. We did find an extravagant amount of restaurants in the mall. Michelle and I tried so samples and settled on popcorn chicken. My chicken was lemon chicken. Angie settled on fried rice. All of the food was good.

We went up to street level. Our next goal was The Tee or Ten Mall. Three years ago, it was a seven story mall. Granite it was expensive, but I knew where a CD store was and they had an inexpensive store on the ground floor. We look across the street and where the mall was, was a newly constructed building. It was still being worked on.

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Epic Fail

We went in search of the Toilet Bowl Restaurant. We got on the 5 line to transfer to the 1 line. It was busy as it was the day before. At one point we had to push through the masses to get off the train. You have a limited amount of time before the door closes. When we got to our location, we went to where I remember the restaurant to be. I guess the concept of eating out of a toilet bowl did not catch on. So, we continued to walk through the mall. We did find an extravagant amount of restaurants in the mall. Michelle and I tried so samples and settled on popcorn chicken. My chicken was lemon chicken. Angie settled on fried rice. All of the food was good.

We went up to street level. Our next goal was The Tee or Ten Mall. Three years ago, it was a seven story mall. Granite it was expensive, but I knew where a CD store was and they had an inexpensive store on the ground floor. We look across the street and where the mall was, was a newly constructed building. It was still being worked on.

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The Canton Tower

One of our first Guangzhou visits has been to The Canton Tower. It is a huge tower right near the Pearl River. On the the other side is the opera house. I like interesting architecture. We head over at around 5:00pm. I feel we have a short amount of time. The only problem with the timing is that it is rush hour. That plus a stroller does not add up to a lot of fun. To buy a token, you have to pick your destination on a computerized kiosk. Then the machine shoots out a green token. This token is then waved in front of the access gate. You have to be quick. At first, we did not know how to use it. A woman came up to assist. We filed down the escalators to catch the train. At first, it was not bad. At each stop, more people came on. We had to make it to the transfer station. Everyone was courteous and mindful to Elana in her stroller. A lot of people were at the transfer. We still had to board another train. Luckily, we only had to go to one station.

The station is called The Canton Tower station. It is due to the fact that The Canton Tower is right above it. We used the escalators brought us to the surface. We were met with vendors and onlookers. Due to our timing, the tower was lit up. At night, it rotates through different color schemes. Michelle and I could not get a picture. We moved towards the river. On the river, we saw the opera house. It too is lit up with colors. We took ours photos and headed back to the hotel.
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Friday, June 12, 2015

A Visit to the doctor's

Part of the ritual of a Chinese adoption is the doctor's visit.  We had to wake bright and early to drive over there.  In the past, the hospital was on Shamian Island.  It has since moved across from the US consulate.  On arriving, we had to start by taking the passport photo.  Elana had to by held by Angie.  

Next stop was the hospital.  Our guide had already set up the appointment.  Elana had to go the a series of tests that add up to poking and proding.  They check hearing, vison, reflexes, temperature, and bloodwork.  Once done, then we wait for clearance.  Elana did not have a fun day.  There was lots of screaming.  

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T-shirts in China

Walked through stores today.  Did not see much.  I always am on the lookout for shirts with pinyin.  You'd think people in China would like shirts in their own language.  The opposite is true.  If they are wearing shirts with writing, it is in English.  I think that the Shamian area might have some shirts that we are looking for.

I was wrong.  T-shirts were not easy to find and they wanted too much for them.  I would have considered buying one if it was cheaper.  I know when I get home they will shrink.  At least we didn't waste money.

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A Flight to Remember

Our flight from Harbin was one of those experiences that I would be happy to forget.  Elana was not happy with flying.  Once on the plane, we had to wait.  One of Harbin's daily storms was passing over.  So, we had to sit on the tarmac.  Elana started freaking out.  We tried everything to calm her down.  When we looked around, you could tell the people were not happy with her.  I could even hear them talking.  I probably tell you what they were thinking.  I chose to leave it like watching a foreign film without subtitles.  

When we finally got clearance, I was hoping she would calm down.  That wss not going to happen.  She started having extreme fits and screaming. Right before taking off, this woman near us stands up.  She has the most hateful stare.  You can guess who she is staring out.  The stewardess had to make an announcement to sit down.  

When we get on the air, Elana still did not calm down.  The stewardess came up to Angie and asked if they could help.  We were shocked.  We were waiting for them to kick us off the flight.  She took Elana and went to the back.  Eventually one of the stewards cane forward to ask if we had some food.  Angie got some food. And went back with her.

When she came back, she did not have Elana.  The crew had found out our story and decided to watch her while got some rest.  

In the end, they did return her to us.  She freaked again.  As we started to land a stewardess held her and sat in theseat in front of me.  On final approach, she had give her back to me.  She was upset, but I finally got her to calm down.

If you are evrr in China and you have to fly, I recommend Shenzhen Air.  It was one one the best experiences we have ever had.  When I get home, I plan to write a letter to their compnay.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Delayed reaction

We are delayed. Of course, they don't give out announcements in English.  This lasted about an hour.  They gave us drinks while we waited.  I started walking Elana around.  She was getting restless.  Little did we know what we were in for.  Shortly after, they made the call.  We only knew because of the stampede to the gate. We all rushed on the plane only to wait again.  A bigstorm was passing over Harbin.

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Leaving Harbin

We are at the airport.  Security went smoothly.  It usually takes us awhile.  When we get to Guangzhou, we will probably miss Harbin. I Iiked Harbin, but it does get warm and humid.  That would not have been bad, but we lacked air conditioning.  The airport is nice. The only thing is that the good food places are on the other side of security.  Now we wait.  It will be about an hour.  Hopefully we will not have to wait on the plane, like Beijing.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Last day in Harbin

We are getting ready for the next leg of our.  Our flight leaves around 2:00pm.  I am sort of looking forward to it.  I just hope its not too hot.  Our guide is coming over at 10:30 to go over papers.  After that, who knows.  I would like to run by the Unit 731 Museum, but we may not have time.  We still have to pack.  Let the fun begin.

Kicked out of my Own Bed

Went to bed early last night. We do this because we are tired and we are trying to encourage Elana to go to sleep. She has been starting the night by having me hold her. When I think she is asleep, I try to put her in the crib. The minute she senses movement in that direction, she starts crying. I usually have to lay her down and put up with a little crying. In the middle of the night, she wet her diaper. She tends to cry when it is wet. That is great. It alerts us. After Angie changed the diaper, she continued crying. Angie tried to pick her up. She did not want that. She wanted daddy. I got up and picked her out of the crib. The minute she realized who it was she stopped crying. My back was hurting, so the hotel chair was not going to do. I got back onto my floor pallet. Elena was on top of my chest. This lasted for awhile. Then she slipped to my side. This was great, until she pushed me to the floor. At least it is close to exercise time.

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Kicked out of my Own Bed

Went to bed early last night. We do this because we are tired and we are trying to encourage Elana to go to sleep. She has been starting the night by having me hold her. When I think she is asleep, I try to put her in the crib. The minute she senses movement in that direction, she starts crying. I usually have to lay her down and put up with a little crying. In the middle of the night, she wet her diaper. She tends to cry when it is wet. That is great. It alerts us. After Angie changed the diaper, she continued crying. Angie tried to pick her up. She did not want that. She wanted daddy. I got up and picked her out of the crib. The minute she realized who it was she stopped crying. My back was hurting, so the hotel chair was not going to do. I got back onto my floor pallet. Elena was on top of my chest. This lasted for awhile. Then she slipped to my side. This was great, until she pushed me to the floor. At least it is close to exercise time.

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Fw: A Tiger's Tale

Today we finally got to go the Siberian Tiger Preserve. It is a large complex towards the outskirts of the city. We had planned to find a way there, but our guide and driver offered to take us. I guess I'm glad they did. It was a long distance and it was nice to have our guide assist us. Once in the park, you get into a bus. The first thing you will notice is that all vehicles going into the tiger areas have cages around the windows, doors, and tires. The best seats are nearest a window. Once we were seated and the tickets taken, went headed into the tiger areas. The park is laid out like Jurassic Park. The vehicle goes up to a gate and it opens. We drive in and the gate closes behind us. .Then they drive around looking for tigers. We got to see Siberian tigers, white tigers, lovers, etc. The breeds are in their own section. At the end, they strip us off at a walking tour. This is a caged in boardwalk. At certain areas, they have openings. This is where they drop live chickens. I guess you c as n pay for this, but we did not get to witness a feeding. For the most part, the animals stayed in the shade. It was neat to see all these animals.

If you want to see what a feeding is like, look up Siberian Tiger Preserve Harbin, China and feeding on Youtube.  Be warned, it's graphic.
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Bridge too Far

Morning came bright and early. We decided to walk to the train bridge. Since the weather was good, there were a lot of people out. We walked to a railroad bridge that crosses the Songhua River. When you get to the top of the stairs, you find that it is a narrow metal walkway. I don't know the length, but it seems to be about a mile. It would have been nice to be the only ones on the bridge, but it seems to have heavy foot and bike traffic in the morning. When a bike comes your way, you have to hug the side, so they can get by. The bridge leads to Sun Island. The section we were at was at the far end. A lot of people were fishing. We even saw some people rowing a dragon boar a a person swimming. I don't think I'd want to swim in it. We had hoped to go on the other side to go back, but there was a fence. As we looked around, we saw some guys going over and saw an opening in the fence. We crossed. One person made some comments. It was in Mandarin. While on the bridge, we saw about three trains on the upper bridge. I think I forgot to mention that there are two bridges together. One is an old style bridge and the other s more modern bridge.

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The Sound of Silence at Breakfast

Breakfast was anything but silent. Elena kept screaming in between bites of rice congee. At one point, I got up to get more congee. For some reason, the bowl tilted and scalding hot congee went onto my hand. It hurt. Elena kept fussing between bites. I finally picked her up. She managed to calm down. I hope she grows out of that soon.

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The Sound of Silence at Breakfast

Breakfast was anything but silent. Elena kept screaming in between bites of rice congee. At one point, I got up to get more congee. For some reason, the bowl tilted and scalding hot congee went onto my hand. It hurt. Elena kept fussing between bites. I finally picked her up. She managed to calm down. I hope she grows out of that soon.

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Dinner in China

We have plenty of options around our hotel. We have American, Russian, and Chinese. Sometimes we fall back on the American, but we prefer new dishes. Tonight we got to experience a noodle shop. It was the California Beef Noodle King. We made a mistake we have made in the past. We ordered two bowls of what amounted to chicken noodle soup. Our waitress brought out two huge bowls of our food. We could only eat half. We did take some back to the room. We do not have a microwave. Elena was being stubborn. She was not eating. By the time we got home, she actually ate some baby food that she had originally turned down. Our dinner hit the spot and was less than the fast food places. The next time we eat at a Chinese restaurant, we are going to order one at a time.

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Ice Cream Truck?

Michelle and I were going for a walk, when all of a sudden we here music. In America, when you here this music, it signifies the ice cream. Michelle started to get excited. She looked left, she looked right and no ice cream truck. The only thing in front of us was a mini street sweeper. That is what was playing the music. Michelle had a defeated look on her face. She tells me that I owe her, since her expectations were raised.

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The Paper Chase Begins

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I'd like to apologize for the typos. I am writing these posts from my cell phone and Kindle. It can be very tedious. By the time I release the post I am irritated with the device. The day has been dedicated to payments and signing paperwork. I think it was great that Michelle was with us. They complimented us on how happy she was. It was nice to get this part done. It lasted longer than Elana wanted it to. She was both tired and Hungary. We found out that she does not eat formula. When we got back, Michelle and I ran over to KFC. I always enjoy ordering in China. As soon as someone sees us, they bring out an order card. It was pretty painless. There was a woman passing out coupons. We tried to get some and she held up two fingers. I thought she wanted us to take two. She meant two Yuan. We passed up on that.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Breafast with Elana

Toda's breakfast has ben intersting.  Elana like scream a lot to let us know she wants food.  We are getting stares from the other patrons. She does eat.  She has been eating rice congee, steamed buns, and fruit.  We think she can see light.  She likes to wave her fingers in front of her eyes.  

We have more paperwork to do today.  We also get to meet with her doctor.  Later, we hope to go to thr tiger preserve.  Our guide and driver want to take us. They say it is too complicated for us to do it on our own.

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Russian Food

Last night, we got to eat our Russian meal. It was really good. The restaurant was on the side of our hotel. It is Katusha. I had looked up restaurants in Trip Advisor. This restaurant was mentioned. The reviews were mixed. We decided to give it a chance. I'm glad we did. On entering, we were greeted by a man who seated us. The dining hall had about 7tables. They play Russian pop and folk music. I liked it so much, I said they should sell it. The menu was a mixture of interesting foods and things that we would not eat. We settled on fruit salad, potatoes with bacon, and chicken with mushroom soup. We decided to share everything. Angie and I liked all three of the foods. Michelle did not like the chicken. I think it was because they used some sort of alcohol. Overall, we were impressed with Russian cooking. The service was excellent.

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Wal-Mart: Shopping For Goods

Shopping for your child is fun in another country. We always seem to get a fair amount of stares. Angie fills the cart. This causes people to watch us. Today was no exception. The people behind us looked like they were getting mad. Even at the end, the fun continues. Angie had asked assistance of some clerks. They handed her a $57 can of formula. So, she had to get a refund(not easy when no one speaks English), get a more reasonably priced formula, and make it through the line after upsetting some of the people. Wal-Mart in China does not really give out bags. I think you can request them, but everyone seems to bring there own.

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I present: Elana Fahey

We just got back with the newest member of our family. It started right after breakfast. We went back to the room to wait for our guide. Due to our exercise, I fell as sleep while waiting. Around 8:30am Angie woke me up and we met our guide. We jumped into the van. At the Civil Affairs office, we went up to the 21st floor. In the office, we met the director and her caretakers. This is the point where we had to sign paperwork and answer questions. While doing so, a person brought in Elena. She was quiet as she could be. They placed her in our arms. She still did not cry. She reached and played with things. When we left, we found out that the director was impressed with us and our family. Right now she is running around the room. We have to keep her from running into the things at head level, like the desk. We also found out that we do not have air conditioning. Our guide had the hotel provide us with a fan. Now, we are getting ready for Wal-Mart. She seems very healthy.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Today's the day!

It is early morning in Harbin. Went to bed early. I think I am getting close to a normal sleep pattern. After this, I plan to take my morning walk. I found a bridge to Sun Island. It may be interesting. Our guide called us last night to see if we were ready. We said we were. We told her we had visited Sophia Square and Sun Island. We still have the Unit 371 museum and the Tiger Preserve. I hope we can. We go to get Elana at 9:00am. Then we begin a 24 hour bonding session. For us, it will mean shopping for her foods and other necessities. Angie looks forward to this part.

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Sophia Square

Today, we decided to search out Sophia Square.  We were lucky.  It was a ten or so block away from the hotel.  What makes this square special is that there is an old style Orthodox Church in the square.  

To walk on the church, you have to pay $10 Yuan per adult and $5 for a child.  Mivhelle could not pas as a younger child.  Inside they had the history of the church.

The he hardest part was the walk back.  It was drizzling and windy.  We managed to survive. 

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Breakfast and a walk

The actual order should be walk and breakfast.  Michelle and I woke at 4:45am.  We went for a walk on the waterfront.  This time we headed towards the railroad bridge.  It is raining.  There were lots of people exercising and fishing.  At the brige we got to see two trains.  Then we rushed back to eat our breakfast.  Next up: Sophia Square.

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Night of shopping

When we finally woke from our nap, it was 6pm. It was getting dark.  We decided to do some shopping and then eat.  

Outside our room is an underground shopping area.  We walked through it.  It looks a lot like most bargaining areas China.  Also, these areaslack air conditioning.  After a couple of stores, Michelle had to use the bathroom.

That led to a big issue for her.  The dreaded squatpot.  Every toilet we ealked in had one.  We were forced to come back to the room.

We went out one last time to walk by the river.  There were a lot of people still out.  It was past 10:00pm.  After the river, we weny by the Imax theater.  One big issue surfaced.  Nothing was in English.  There were no posters.  Don't know how I can see one if I don't know what's playing.

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Today has become n a day of rest. We woke at around 4:00am. It was like being home at7:00am. We walked the river. Later we walked Wal-Mart and got supplies. When we got home, we all fell asleep. It is 7:00pm and we are going out for food. Nothing special. Tomorrow, we might go Russian. Katusha is on the side of our hotel. We also want dumplings.
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Today has become n a day of rest. We woke at around 4:00am. It was like being home at7:00am. We walked the river. Later we walked Wal-Mart and got supplies. When we got home, we all fell asleep. It is 7:00pm and we are going out for food. Nothing special. Tomorrow, we might go Russian. Katusha is on the side of our hotel. We also want dumplings.
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Fw:Harbin, We made it!

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From: Sean Fahey <>;
To: <>;
Cc: <>;
Subject: Garvin, We made it!
Sent: Sat, Jun 6, 2015 6:48:06 AM

We finally made it to Harbin. It took forever, but we survived. I am trying to come up with daily posts, but I do not know if I will be able to send it. Right now, I am testing if it could be sent. Then, I will decide how to continue. We have arrived. We are tired, but ready to get Elana.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Last call for Beijing

Getting ready to board.  Next post will be tomorrow after we arrive.  It says 2:00pm China time.  If I can't post, it will be in two weeks.t0

Everything is bigger in Texas

We made it to Dallas at 8:00am.  It was a smooth flight.  We did try to get wifi.  The plane had free movies, but it kept dropping.  No food was served.  Only drinks.  I hate getting a can of drink and then having to go to the bathroom near the end of the flight.  I had to wait to use the bathrom.

Once off the plane, we searched for our gate.  This air port is huge.  We had to take a tram to the terminal.  We went through many stops before hitting ours.  This air- port puts Orlando to shame.  Like they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

Dallas Bound

We made it to the airport.  Check in is now done by machine.  We still needed an agent for verification.  The the machine cleared our information.  We had to start again when we got the agent's attention.  We made it through. TSA was a breeze.  Not usually like that.  Now we wait.  At least we are here on time.

Journey is about to Begin!

It is 3:30am.  I am awake.  Nerves are going into overdrive.  I did get some sleep.  The movie was really great last night.  If you get a chance to see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, do it.  It is a film with comedy and emotion.  I would compare it to Better Off Dead.  The main actor was similar to John Cusack.

Getting back to travel.  We head to the airport shortly.  I will try to post again at least two times.  Once in the air towards China, I will not be able.  Time to get ready.  Good news is, I might sleep on the plane.  I do need to save time for the movies.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

1 Day and Counting!

Tomorrow is the big day!  I am getting a little nervous.  I am spending the day with Kiersten and my parents.  Angie is spending the day with Michelle, Mia and her parents.  Tonight, we are going to see Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl.  It looks like a good movie.  4:00am is going to come quick.  Yesterday was hard enough.  Now I get to do it again.  Maybe, I will actually sleep on the plane.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Journey North

Part 1 of our journey is almost done.  We have made it to North Carolina.  I can not believe that I did not even watch a movie or show on my Kindle.  When I was younger, I would have killed for a device like that.  My kids have it so easy.

Town that Time Forgot

We just got done with lunch.  We stopped at the Town of Santee.  It is an old time small town.  Wendy's was our food of choice.  That is only because we didn't want McDonald's and other places were expensive.  When we got inside, they were playing music from the 50's.  It's too bad the service was not from that period of time.  They were slow and Angie had to keep telling them things that were missing.  At least, we are back on the road.  No I an still not driving.  Angie might make the whole trip.

South Carolina and the Passage of Time

We are now in the longest part of the trip.  This is a little over 160 miles of two lane highway with lots of trees, rural housing, and police traps.  If you are looking for something to listen to, the radio has religious programming, country music and one or two pop stations.  It is not for the feint of heart.  Oh, and every couple of miles you get to see Pedro signs.  By Pedro signs, I mean the mascot of South of the Border.  It is a tourist trap near the North-South Carolina border.  I think we stopped there once.  Not much there except tacky souvenirs.

Georgia's on my mind

Driving through Georgia is the quickest part of this trip.  I think it has to do with all the open areas and many bridges we get to tranverse.  They also have many factories.  They tend to put off a bad odor.  You also have to watch out for speed traps.

2 Days and Counting!

4:00am came too quickly.  We are now on our journey to North Carolina.  The girls are fast asleep.  Mia is glued to her Ipad.  At this point, we are nearing Jacksonville.

Angie is driving.  She usually makes it to Georgia, where she will let me take the reigns of the vehicle.

We are hitting Jax at rush hour.  Rush hour moves at a snails pace.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lunchtime Break

By break, I mean my day needs to slow down.  The last couple of days at work had been slow.  Now everyone wants me to do something.  I have 2 hours to get those things done.  Then, it's vacation time.  If it is important, I will stick around until the work is done.  Now my mind is trying to think of the things I need to do before leaving the state.  I think we have most of the things covered.  Of course, we will probably get to China and discover something missing.  If it is missing, we can get it there.

3 Days and Counting!

Today is the last day of work for a couple of weeks.  I will be getting last minute things done and preparing my desk for the leave.  I think I only need to do my voicemail.  I don't get many calls, but I have to be prepared.  Angie and Michelle are at home getting our things together.  Mia and Kiersten are attending their last day of school.  When I get home, we get to celebrate an award that Kiersten has received.  We will find out what it is tonight.  I think it might be something about most improved.  Whatever it is, we are proud of her accomplishment.  I hope she will contiune to build off of this.  I always knew she was smart, she just needed to use it towards school.

4 Days and Counting!

I know it's Monday, but I did not have access to the Internet yesterday.  My computer did download some things, but is having an issue with accessing the Internet.  We had a great day.  We went to visit Kayla.  She was doing fine.  She did inform us that we would have to leave early.  They had an inflatable waterslide and she wanted to take advantage of it.  We have always told her that we will leave if other things are going on.  If her behavior is good, we want her to get rewarded as much as possible.

When we got home I ran to the store for things for the trip.  Well, both trips.  Our trip to North Carolina and the one to China.  We will be starting that endeavor on Tuesday morning.  It will be a 10 or so hour drive north.  We may be hitting some rain.  Then, we get to rest before the big flight.

After dinner, we were still putting things up and getting suitcases ready.  I think we will still be doing that on our return.  We also plan to continue selling things.  I want to get rid of things to make the house more managable.