Travel day to Taiyuan (Shangxi Province)

We have been wondering when this trip would start to feel a little less comfortable and a little more adventurous. Beijing was just too easy. The city is huge and incredibly modern. We had a very nice hotel and many of the comforts of home. Additionally, Emma came everywhere with our group, so she could navigate the culture, translate, tell us where to eat and be sure that all things were flowing smoothly. Sadly though, yesterday we had to leave Beijing and Emma to fly to Taiyuan in the Shangxi Province. So we headed back to the airport to catch another flight, this time on the in-country airline China Eastern. 

Tauiyan is proving to be a bit different then Beijing. It is the capital city of this province and still fairly large at three million people. It also isn't too far from Beijing, so the weather remains very cold. It has a more industrial feel, and the buildings and apartments look a tad more weary and run-down. The smog was bad as we arrived yesterday as well, so that added to the overwhelmingly gray and less cheery ambiance. Our hotel is still very nice, but definitely more Chinese feeling and less westernized. While Emma worked for Great Wall, our new guide is more of a travel agent who acts like a subcontractor and she has been a bit underwhelming. She is incredibly nice, but not nearly as helpful or knowledgeable. There is very little English here and we were quite entertaining as we tried to explain our food needs at dinner last night. So much food in China is cooked in peanut oil (which makes one ask why they have no peanut allergies - hmmmm?) that many times Luke and Emmy end up with just steamed rice and then they have snacks in our room.  Many of the lights aren't on in this hotel, while others are on motion detectors, so it generally feels dark. There are a few other quirky things as well such as the full-sized mirrors in the shower (no thank you) and the window in our bathroom that looks out into our bedroom and is covered only by a sheer curtain (no thank you again).  While this is still nowhere close to our experiences in Africa, this trip has definitely taken on the more adventurous tone one expects when traveling overseas. We will be here about four more days and then we are headed to Guangzhou, which we have heard is amazing...and much warmer.

Patrick and I have both commented that to this point it doesn't feel as though we are here to meet our child. I'm not sure why this is or what exactly it is supposed to "feel" like, but I think some of this disconnect is because our experience in Ethiopia was completely different. With Caleb, we arrived in Addis Ababa around midnight one evening and the next morning at 8:00am we boarded the van to travel only minutes away to get him. We were bleary eyed and exhausted (my luggage was missing and I was still in my travel clothes), we picked him up and he was with us for the remainder of our trip. In Ethiopia, we were not allowed to travel to different areas and we were discouraged from going out with the baby, so we spent very little of our time there exploring. Other than a few planned group excursions, we were mostly holed up in the guest house trying to amuse ourselves. China has been the opposite of that thus far and these first few days have felt much more like a vacation. However, when we walked into the hotel room yesterday in Taiyuan...there was a crib. So if it didn't seem real yet, it is now starting to feel so. When we leave this hotel, we will be a family of seven. We talked to the kids last night reminding them about all that Lexi is losing in the next few days and the many things that will be different for her. We have been fun and loud and crazy, but as we welcome this new little one who has never known a family, we are all going to need to quiet down and pour into her as she begins to grieve some tremendous losses.

It is Monday morning in China. We were actually supposed to be meeting Lexi today, but since it is a government holiday, her "Gotcha Day" has been postponed until tomorrow. We are thrilled,  but also know that there is much work ahead. It leaves me with mixed emotions, both excitement and fear. Some days we are so spent as parents that we wonder what we will have left for a fifth child, but we are trusting God to provide for each day and to fill us when we are weary. Please pray for us all as we make this transition and add another one to the brood, but especially for Alexis as she loses everything she has ever known.


Kelley said...

Thank you so much for documenting your adoption experiences. I am so happy for your family, and praying for this huge transition for you all. Much love from the Phillips family :)

Unknown said...

I am so thrilled to see the kid's mind opening up to another world. Traveling will allow them to grow so much wiser, humble and patient! its an experience that will last them a lifetime. That mix of emotions is life! and i'm sure you're embracing every moment and every minute. I am enjoying your blog more than ever! Can't wait to see what the next couple of days bring. :)

Martha said...

Oh so real...crib by bed...one more sleep for you two ;). So thankful y'all r all together!