Sunday, March 16, 2014

Back to China: 7 Years Later

I can't believe we have just returned from 7 days in Guangzhou China.  It's been 7 years since we were in China receiving God's blessing of family.  
We were all excited to return to Guangzhou.  This was our last stop when we were in China the first time.  Lily Grace was beside herself with excitement and we were all curious about how it would feel to be back there.  I can say, there were mixed emotions and tons of memories revisited.  
The people were just as kind and sometimes curious.  The city was bustling and congested which made taxi rides interesting and scary at times.  The parks are still just as beautiful and while it was rainy all but one day, it was still warmer than Indiana and the flowers were in bloom.  
Matt and I were excited and very much looked forward to taking Lily Grace to spots we had visited with her before and share stories of those times.  She was was anxious to visit Shaman Island in particular.  The park there is filled with statues of people and children doing various things and she had seen pictures from our first visit.  There is a statue in particular that she was most excited about visiting.  It's a line of children following a teacher who is playing the violin.  When she was a baby, Matt held her in line with the children and I took a picture.  She couldn't wait to go and see that.  I must say, it was a little emotional watching her stand in line with the children on her own, as a seven year old.  
On this visit we also got in a trip to Hong Kong.  Hong Kong is only a two hour train ride from Guangzhou.  Lily Grace enjoyed riding the double decker high speed train.  We visited Stanley Hong Kong at the southern tip and it was really pretty.  It was very mountainous and tropical feeling. The weather was beautiful.  We enjoyed a quick bite at a place called The Cave.  It was the coolest place and the food was great too!
During our stay, we watched a couple of families united in our hotel.  It was quite special and stirred a lot of emotion.  One morning in particular, a couple stopped Lily Grace and I in the elevator and asked if we were there to adopt.  Lily Grace and I smiled and replied that while we were there just for a visit this time, we had done so seven years earlier.  They then shared that they were adopting for the first time.  I could see the fear on their faces, and I'm guessing that's how Matt and I must have looked.  We congratulated them and as we stepped off the elevator, I was reminded that the time flies by from that moment on.  
Lily Grace took the whole trip in stride.  First of all, let me just say that Lily Grace is a traveling pro.  The girl is amazing!  She also kept us laughing. (along with several people she encountered from airport security to, to shop workers, to taxi drivers)  One of our funniest moments happened at dinner.  Lily Grace had been trying out her limited Chinese on everyone, saying hello and in particular thank you in Chinese.  Well, at dinner one night she told the waitress thank you in Chinese to which the waitress replied back several sentences in Mandarin believing that Lily Grace could speak Chinese.  The look on Lily's face was priceless and then to hear her explain to the girl that she doesn't speak Chinese, she's just practicing what she does know was so funny.  I will say, that this happened in the airport too with a security officer and even the Chinese officer thought it was funny, especially considering that the officer could speak both Chinese and English.  
All and all, we had an amazing and memorable trip.  Being back in China was quite different this time and meaningful in different ways.  The one thing about both trips that still remains my favorite part, is the time that we shared alone, halfway around the world as a family.  This trip also reminded us of how blessed we are.  We are blessed to be a family, to live in a free country and to have the abundant natural resources that make our lives easier.  God is certainly good!!
Enjoy the pics! Below you will find a post by Lily Grace.  She loves to type and write and so I let her do her own post while we were away, sharing her take on China. 
I'm telling you, this girl is a traveler.

About to board our flight to Guangzhou China

Lily Grace thought it was so cool that she could watch movies and play games of her choosing on the screen in the back of the seat in front of her.

Yes, she drug Molly Baby all over China.  The Chinese people were a little intrigued with Molly Baby.

She also loved that she had her meals on the plane.  Let's be honest there is nothing to love about those meals. 

The first meal we fed her as a baby in China was congee.  On her agenda was to try Congee on day one for breakfast as her first taste of China. She did just that!  

By the Pearl River

Beautiful parks on Shaman Island

The statute on Shamn Island that she couldn't wait to visit. 

Seven years ago, we took her here as a baby for health examination to leave the country and come home.  

Another beautiful park on Ersha- look at all those flowers


You have never seen a southern girl so happy!! One day on the buffet at the hotel, they had boiled (steamed there) peanuts for lunch.  Gracie and I put down three bowls y'all.  For a girl who was making it on rice an potatoes, I couldn't have been happier. 

This is Edward.  He was so sweet and showed us around Guangzhou. He and Lily Grace hit it off.  Here he was trying to teach her to use chopsticks and believe it or not, she told him how to use a fork.  He had never used one before this meal with us.  

Hong Kong

Popular market in Hong Kong: Lily Grace loved this place

Beautiful area and day in Hong Kong

Eating at The Cave: yummy

After a day in Hong Kong, we were back on the train to Guangzhou.

This Catholic Cathedral in Guangzhou was beautiful, both inside and out.

The stain glass inside the cathedral was amazing.  I especially loved the round windows.

I love this sweet statue outside the Catholic church on Shaman Island.

Getting some exercise in Shaman Park

In China, weddings aren't reserved just for Saturdays.  This was on Friday and we counted 5 bridal couples in the park on Shaman Island.

As you all know, Lily Grace isn't shy and here she is joining right  in with the locals. 

In front of the famous Canton Tower

The business district, also where you will find the opera house and Guangzhou library

Relaxing before dinner on our last day

Guest Post: In China with Lily Grace

Blogging from China

Mommy, Daddy & I took three planes to get here in China.  One plane I even had to sleep on!  Well, I pretty much slept on all of the planes.  On the long plane, there was a computer on the back of the seat in front of us.  I played on it the whole ride.
 When we got to the hotel, Mommy told me that I couldn’t drink the water because the water wasn’t filtered properly. I loved the room because it was a suite. The sleeping spot is separated by the TV.  There also was a desk for me to do my work.
 The day after we arrived, we went to Shaman Island first.  Then we went to Ersha Island.  In Sharman Island, we went into a one shop. 
 My experience is very good because on Sharman Island there were many parks & shops.  I loved it there.  Ersha Island was prettier than Sharman Island, but on both of them you can see the water.  The water was very pretty on both though. 
 What its like to be visiting here after being adopted feels great!  Mommy & Daddy have told me a story they haven’t told me before.  It was about me sleeping in Mommy & Daddy’s bed in the hotel. This place is awesome!

 Selfie by the Pearl River on Ersha Island