Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10, 2006- Church, touring, and flight to Hunan!!

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Well its about 6:42am here. I got up from my table, I mean bed about an hour ago. The beds are just as bad as people say they are. LOL! Well, just wanted to add the rest of yesterdays pictures. Enjoy! Thanks for all the emails, we LOVE reading them. We tried to respond to everyone, but sorry if we missed someone... Keep them up! Oh and this might be the only post of the day because we are going straight from touring to the airport. I'm going to try to post later tonight depending on how hard it is to get internet.

Love to all,
and the rest of the Hs

Drew, we love you so much. We wish you could be here with us. We can't wait to see you on the 20th and for you to meet AnnaClaire!!! We haven't met her yet, but we know you'll love her so much! We thought of you when we went to Starbucks!!!
Love you,
Emily, Mom, Dad, and Will

Today was a great day!!! The morning started off early with a Chinese breakfast buffet in the hotel. Today they had french fries! They also had pancakes, called muffins. They weren’t very good. They sort of tasted like lemon! We went back to the room and had to finish packing. We checked emails too. We were down in the lobby by 8:30 to leave by 9 for the Church service. The Church was so awesome. You have to show your passports to get in and Chinese natives aren’t aloud in. The service is in English. It was a very cool Church, not like our normal church in NC. First the guy introduced all the newcomers. Our TG and another family, I think with AHH, were the only new people. Mr. McDavid introduced our groups to the Church and when he said we were here to adopt our children, we got a standing ovation! It was cool. Most of the service was singing and sharing. After Church we went to the gift shop upstairs to get Mandarin/English children’s Bibles. There was only 1 left and the Ds got it for Bekah. We did get a Philip Hayden Foundation calendar that is really cute!

After Church, we went to the pearl factory. It was a fairly long drive. It was sort of in the middle of no where! We were ushered into a small room and the lady told Olivia to pick an oyster. She picked one and the lady asked everyone to guess how many pearls were in that oyster. Mom was the closest with the guess of 12. There were 10. The pearls were beautiful! After that, she showed us what the “reject” pearls went to. They are made into hand creams! She showed us how to tell fake pearls from real ones. If they are real, you can rub them together and a powder will come off of them. She showed us the golden pearl. It is beautiful. Mrs. D was the gold pearl model. Gold pearls symbolize that you are very in love with someone! They are also the most expensive pearl. We were then free to shop! It was pretty overwhelming. There were so many shapes, sizes, colors, different types of jewelry, etc. I had really wanted some pearl earrings. I found some really pretty white ones that are a great size for me. I LOVE them. We also got a little white pearl bracelet made for AnnaClaire. We are getting 18 gifts to give her for each gotcha day anniversary. The pearl bracelet will be one of them! As we got on the bus, all the people came to try and sell there stuff. They all had their bundled up kids with them! They were SO cute!

After the pearl factory, we headed to lunch. It was a Chinese-American lunch… Not the greatest. The french fries were soggy, the spaghetti was interesting, the hot dogs looked gross, etc. Mom and Mrs. T had been giving up soda and gave in because the sodas were refrigerated! They are BAD! Walter B and I braved the gelato. It was yummy!!!!!! Oh and guess what? The place was pretty cheapo, but they had western toilets PLUS toilet paper in the stalls!!!!!! WOOHOO! LOL, nothing like a good ol normal toilet and paper in the stall! (the bathroom was pretty gross though..)

We went from lunch to the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was the Emperors summer home. It was so big! I think we were all so excited about tomorrow that no one really paid attention, but it was a beautiful walk!!! When we got there, there was a man with this little face thingy. It was glasses, a nose, and a mustache. The mustache had the little party blowers and they would squeak and blow. He would not leave us alone! He was just squeaking and not leaving. It was so annoying but very funny at the same time! The guy was attracted to poor Michael T!!! It was so beautiful! The lake (Lake Kunming, where the pearls from the pearl factory we went to came from), was frozen. It was beautiful. There was also a man doing calligraphy on the sidewalks. It was really neat! There was an Olympic store there, so a lot of us for the Olympic mascot dolls and t-shirts. We got AC the smaller dolls to give her for her gotcha anniversary in 2008! Creative, huh? As we walked through, we were all gooing and gahing over all the little kids. They are so precious. Blow the sights, I’d rather see the cute kids! LOL! They are all so bundled up and there cheeks are bright red. They are precious. I even witnessed my first split pant child… interesting! LOL. As we were leaving, we got hot chocolate. Nasty! Nothing like yesterdays Starbucks… We met back up with the rest of the group, and there was an elderly lady showing all of us the beautiful postcards. Dad started buying them and then kept buying until he had all 4 of the 4 places we had gone. The Ms and the Hs got them all too. The lady was so nice and wasn’t annoying. She wasn’t budging us to buy it! She let me take my picture with her . As we left the Summer Palace, we had our leeches come try to sell us stuff… We just had to walk through saying “NO! NO! NO!” Will did buy a 2nd North Face coat for $25. When we get on the bus, the people still hold their items in the window and try to get us to buy them!

Olivia and I tried getting pictures of the coliseum they are building for the Olympics. I got a few good ones. It was really cool to actually drive by it! Right now it’s just a ton of billboards in front of a construction site, but there is a form peeping out from behind.

We went straight from the Palace to the airport. We got all our bags down and waited to see where to go. We followed the Ms and Fontana (their Guizhou guide) because our terminals were next to each other. There was a really long walk to where we checked our luggage. The people were very strict about being over. We had to pay about $68 and the Martins had to pay over $90 for being over on luggage! UGH! Ours was cheaper because our flight was shorter, even though we were over about the same amount. I thought that was strange! We then went through security. It is not as big of a deal as it is in the US. We didn’t even have to take off our shoes. Of course, Mr. M’s gum wrapper (a tiny piece of it!) set the alarm thingy off… that’s pretty sensitive! They were not strict at all about how many carry ons we had! They didn’t confiscate our water bottles, but had to smell them to make sure they were okay. Right before security, we had passed a KFC and Starbucks which sounded really good to both the Ms and us. But we had to walk on. We got to our terminal and there was no good food nearby. Mrs. M and Mom got a crazy idea to go to KFC and get food and bringing it back, through security and all. We ended up all going except Dad (who watched everything) They let us go backwards through security instead of going to baggage claim and then back up! We got to KFC and pretty much had to order with pictures. They still didn’t understand us, so Fontana helped translate. Mashed potatoes, chicken, and ice cream with chocolate sauce! YUM! Did I mention how hot it was in there? We had to wait for our chicken to be ready, but the rest of our food stayed very hot because the whole restaurant felt like an oven!!!!!!!!! It’s so funny, they put all the food in bags! Even the cups (with drink in them!) How strange! We started back and had to go through security with our food. That was interesting! All the security people were laughing at us! LOL. We got back to the terminals. We were terminal C16 and the Ms were C15 but our seating area was in between both, so we sat together and enjoyed our KFC. That time at the airport was one of the best parts of the trip so far! I was so glad we had the Martins to be with while we waited for 2 hours! Our flights were only 10 minutes apart! It’s also funny because AnnaClaire and Claire are both Oct. babies (1 year apart though), and Claire was ALMOST named Anna Claire!!! Fontana told the Martins they were getting Claire at 8AM tomorrow, and Fontana told us that she wasn’t sure, but she thought we were getting AnnaClaire around 9AM tomorrow! I HOPE SHE IS RIGHT! Wouldn’t that be AWESOME?

We are now on our flight to Changsha! (I’m writing this on Microsoft Word so I can easily add it when we get to the hotel.) Can you believe it? I’m so excited! I can’t wait until tomorrow, oh, how am I going to sleep???

Love to all,
Mom, Dad, and Will (and REALLY soon to be AnnaClaire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

P.S. Mom wanted me to warn all of you coming soon, it is VERY cold out. But, every indoor place is extremely hot. I would recommend wearing something that can easily be taken off in case of a hot place. Like it’s so hot, we can barely stand to stand there with coats on just for 5 or so minutes! Oh and the in-China planes are much shakeier than ours, and I’ve already felt fairly dizzy… Just warning you about hotness and dizziness.

We are now in Changsha! The flight was so short compared to the one to China! We all slept most of the time. Our luggage made it (we were worried for a bit). Amy is very sweet! We get AnnaClaire at 4PM tomorrow!!! There are a few other families who we'll have "gotcha day" with!!! That's exciting!

Pictures and more tomorrow. We're going to bed!

Pictures are posted! The first one of the Chatty Girls 2 is missing Mrs. S because they didn't tour with us on Sunday! In order: (top) Karla S(Isaac, 13 months), Pam H (AnnaClaire, 13 months), Claire T (Mia, 14 months), Tammy H (Kenzie, 4), Keri M(Claire, 2), Dawn D (Rebekah, 13 months), (bottom) Amy C (Sarah Beth, 3), Jennifer F(Emma, 2), Maria M (Zoie, 8)

AnnaClaire were playing today when she came across our Christmas picture. She happily started pointed everyone out... "Dew, Weill, Emmame, AnnaClaire, Mommy, Daddy". I cannot believe it has almost been a year since we became a family. Wow, just wow. One of my favorite memories of China happened on that day, a year ago today. We were leaving Beijing to fly to Changsha. Our good friends, the Ms were leaving to go to Guizhou and our flights were very close to eachother and our gates were next door. So, we stayed with them and their guide the whole time. First of all we had to pay a huge fee to get our luggage checked because we maybe packed a wee too much. We got to our gates and got settled when we realized how hungry we were. Just our luck, there were no decent places near our gate, so we went back and found the KFC, which was on the other side of security. The KFC was so hot. It is amazing hot hot everywhere in China is. We ordered and our delicious food was given to us. Now we just had to get it back to our gate. You guessed it, our food went down the conveyor belt through security. We then all enjoyed a nice KFC dinner together before going our seperate ways. That is one of my favorite memories from our whole trip. I also remember going to an amazing Church service that day. Do you know how great it is to be in the middle of Beijing and be singing out praises to God?! Although it was quite upsetting that China's own people weren't allowed in this Church, going to it was one of the experiences I would not have wanted to miss out on. It was great. We toured the Summer Palace and it was so beautiful. I remember eating lunch at a gross American place. Let me tell you... China's version of American is absolutely disgusting. Of course, they probably think our Chinese is disgusting. That was the worst meal we ate the whole trip. I remember at the Summer Palace, there was a Chinese man walking around with these goofy glasses with a red squeaky nose and a mustache. He was trying to sell them to us and would not leave us! It was so funny and we all got lots lots of laughs out of "mustache man". There was a Chinese man doing calligraphy there, and it was amazing. The Summer Palace was just gorgeous. They also have the best store for olympic gear there, and we got some olympic memorabilia. Oh what an unforgettable day. That night we arrived in Changsha. We were the only Americans there and everyone around us was speaking Chinese. We had a major scare when we were the last people awaiting our luggage, but thankfully it showed up last. It was pitch black and pretty late when we found our wonderful guide Amy and arrived at the Grand Sun City Hotel. I cannot believe all this happened a year ago. I remember everything like it was just yesterday. Time goes by so fast. Here we are, a year later. I am reflecting on our trip, a year ago. I remember the emotions we were feeling a year ago. Nervous, excited, anxious, EXCITED, tired... but most of all excited. For the next day, our sweet Hui Hui would be placed in our arms forever. As we laid down to go to bed for the last night without our Chinese princess, we reflected on the fact that God is SO good!!!

AnnaClaire Hui Hui, I cannot believe it's been a year since we were in Beijing. It was our last day in Beijing and it was amazing. We visited lots of fun spots, went to a Church service, had a blast with our friends/travel group, and spend one last day without you, anxious to hold you in our arms. I remember all the feelings I felt that day, a year ago. I couldn't believe the time was almost there. Now I can't believe all this time has passed and it's almost been one year! How great is our God? He has the perfect timeline for us. He picked for us to be in China getting you Dec 7-Dec 20. He picked for us to go to Beijing a year ago and to see the pearl factory, Summer Palace, visit a Church, eat KFC with the Ms, fly to Changsha... He picked all of this. He knows the plans he has for us and they are perfect plans for us! I love you so much sweet pea. I cannot imagine life without you. You have brought me so much and I am thankful forever. Last year on this day, we spent our last day without you. Now we celebrate as we celebrate having you for 364 days. I love you so much, AnnaClaire. Love always, Sissy


Tina said...

I just wanted to tell you, happy Gotcha Day!! I cant believe we have had Sophie year. I just now saw you all are adopting again!! Congrats!!

Keri said...

I am enjoying reading your posts from last year so much! I just had to say that the food that night at KFC never tasted soooo good! I think we may have scared Fontana a little bit though! (Crazy Americans!) She was great about everything as always though. I can't believe it has been a year now and these girls are so beautiful and wonderful. Last year that night in the airport we could not have even imagined the year we had in store for us! How wonderful God is!