Guangzhou is a breath of fresh air – literally and figuratively – after Zhengzhou. It has its downsides, too (i.e. the prostitutes outside our hotel at night, feeling somewhat overwhelmed by everything being so much bigger), but the air is much cleaner, the weather is much nicer, and we’re that much closer to home.
Yesterday was a free day. A lot of the families traveling with us went shopping, my mom went with a couple other families from our agency’s group on the optional tour of the city, and Matt and I and the girls took a cab over to Shamian Island to attend a Mandarin and English worship service at Christ Church.
My primary take-away from that experience was that I need to adjust my expectations a bit regarding my life as mom to two kiddos under the age of 3. I was envisioning this deep, powerful experience of worship in my daughter’s birth country, our first time at church together as a family of four. However…Miranda did not want to be there, did not appreciate people gawking at and talking to her (as an adorable little white girl, she’s treated like something of a celebrity here – virtually everywhere we go, random people want to take her picture, have their picture taken with her, stroke her face, and pick her up), and was rather vocal about her desire to be otherwise entertained and have drinks, snacks, etc.
Matt took her outside for a little while before the service started, and she was calmer when she came back in, but then CaiQun decided that the opening time during which the pastor shared the Gospel and offered free Bibles to people attending the service would be an optimal time to practice her screeching and squealing. She wasn’t upset, just enjoys yelling, and we haven’t quite reached the point in our language development to explain to her which times might be most appropriate (or not) for that and expect her to understand and obey. So…we almost left, but Matt discovered an overflow room that was much less crowded, had more small children, and seemed to be much more our speed, so we spent the rest of the service there. We were glad we went, even if it didn’t go quite as expected 🙂
We walked around Shamian Island for a bit after that and then caught a cab and headed back to our hotel. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful – oatmeal and China’s equivalent of ramen noodles in our room for lunch, a good nap for the girls, completing some paperwork with the rest of our group in preparation for CaiQun’s medical exam today and our consulate appointment later in the week, doing some more laundry in the afternoon, and then Papa John’s delivery for dinner. We’re loving the Chinese food here, but we’re also trying to live on a budget, and since we’ll have some bigger dinners out the next few nights, we figured we could handle one evening of Papa John’s.
This morning Miranda and my mom had a Grandma-and-Miranda date at the hotel while Matt and I took CaiQun for her medical exam. CaiQun had a great time while we were waiting – she’d run the length of the waiting area while I chased her and then scooped her up at the end, and then I’d turn her around and say, “Where’s Baba? Go find Baba!” and she’d take off running back toward Matt, weave her way through the rest of the people in our group until she found him, and then squeal with delight as he tickled her.
She was not a huge fan of the medical exam itself. Most of it was fine – the ENT check-up took about 2 minutes, the nurse’s station to get her height, weight, and temperature was similar. The general exam where they looked at her referral paperwork and asked us some questions and wanted to examine her with her clothes off was not something she was particularly interested in, but the blood draw for the TB test was the worst – they take her into a room (without us – we’re not allowed in), and she screams while they take some blood, and then they return her with a tear-streaked face. We’re glad to have that behind us. And assuming that test comes back negative (we’ll know tomorrow), we’re all set with medical stuff.
My mom and Miranda seem to have had a much more fun time here at the hotel. They went to the play area in the hotel for a while and had a good time playing store here, too.
Looking at that picture…my precious little Miranda girl looks so grown up now in comparison to little CaiQun. Wow. She’s such a blessing. She and CaiQun really are doing great together. They each want to know where the other is, they keep track of and return each others’ drinks and snack cups, and they’re generally doing well sharing toys together. Miranda has had a few behavioral hiccups – not directed toward CaiQun specifically, but I expect somewhat related to the fact that we’ve brought her halfway around the world and added a new sister to the family and totally thrown off her schedule…plus the fact that she is a sinner in need of grace. Please pray that we can shepherd her through all of this! For the most part she has been very sweet, though, and she really is doing so well with CaiQun and sharing us with her!
And CaiQun continues to grow daily. We are seeing many smiles and much laughter. She clearly understands more and more of what we say. She seems to know at some level that we are now “her people,” though I’m sure she doesn’t understand what that really means. We’re growing together and looking forward to more time and more growth 🙂