Thursday was another good day in Nanning, although we are ready for a change of scenery and to get home to our kids. We begin and end each day FaceTiming our parents and the kids. We are so thankful that every time we call the kids seem happy and to be having lots of fun. Hannah is a little quiet in the mornings as she is slow to wake up, but overall everyone is doing great. I'm sure our parents are tired! We could not be more grateful for their help while we are here getting Samuel.
On this particular call, Hannah introduced Sam to Sophie :)
This picture is very blurry but gives you an idea of what we are up against in the sleep department. Bryan woke up first this morning and documented multiple ninja moves. In this particular move, Sam spins wildly while kicking and ends with his feet on the pillow.
After breakfast at the buffet (rice, noodles, fruit, yogurt... same story different day!) our guide picked us up to go to the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities. There are many different ethnic groups in China, and Sam's province has a larger percentage of minorities than some other provinces. It was about a 15 minute drive from our hotel to this museum which opened in 2008.
The center of the museum is designed to look like the shape of a traditional copper drum. Many of the ethnic groups play these large drums for celebrations.
Inside the museum - it was very beautiful!
Today was Chinese Valentine's Day. Our tickets both had 7's on them so we won a prize (???) and got to hit the gong with the big mallet. The museum had a stroller we could borrow for Sam which was GREAT.
Beautiful flower display in the main corridor of the museum
There were various exhibits about the different Chinese minority groups: drums they used, their type of housing, food, marriage customs, etc. It was very interesting. Our guide even sang a traditional marriage/courting song from the ethnic group that he belongs to!
This sweet little buddy had amazing behavior. It is hard to be 2 and be at a museum in a stroller but he was awesome! We have noticed he loves to point at animals, and our guide tells us that he is saying the names of the animals in Cantonese. At one point he was yelling out "There's a chicken!" in Cantonese. Oh how I wish we could understand all the cute things he is saying!
Riding the elevator- a favorite 2 year old pastime.
On our way out there were several school field trips coming in. These students were all around 13 years old and were giggling and smiling at us, wanting to take a picture. They were thrilled when we agreed. I had our guide take a picture of our moment of fame in the museum! Most of them have not seen many (or any) Americans, especially one as tall as Bryan.
Sam fell asleep in the van on the way back to the hotel. He stayed asleep when we laid him on the bed and took a nice little nap while we enjoyed snacks in the room and some quiet time. When he woke up, we decided to have some adventures downstairs and outside to pass the time. The hotel room is starting to feel smaller and smaller after so many days here! We are ready for a change of scenery and different things to do.
Riding the escalator with Daddy
Next we went outside to a grassy area in front of our hotel. We found a shady spot to blow bubbles. Sam loved it and was fast and furious, blowing bubbles all on his own!
Love this pic that Bryan took. We only brought one pair of shoes for Sam and he came to us wearing a very cute pair of sandals. We have been giving him the choice between 2 outfits each day and letting him choose his shoes. He seems to prefer the new ones we brought as they fit a little better, and we think he looks precious!! :)
Let's all stop for a minute and enjoy just how adorable and delicious his cheeks are. He has the cutest, pudgiest little body! He is solid as a rock, a huge eater and goes full speed most of the time in our room-- yet walks as slow as a tortoise when we are out in public!
While we were outside we noticed this man using a very long stick to get dead leaves and branches out of the other trees. These pictures are not edited at all-- it is so green and lush here!
A beautiful tree in front of the hotel
After playing outside we met up with the other American family who is here to adopt. Our guide wrote down the address of Pizza Hut in the city center so we could show it to a cab driver. We piled into a tiny cab with Bryan in the front seat and 3 adults and 2 babies in the back. This car is probably the size of a Honda Civic at best. It was nice and cozy!! :) I just tried not to look as we drove through the crazy traffic and held onto Sam as tight as I could. Pizza Hut here is more like a nice restaurant with a full menu, like Chili's or something similar at home. We ordered several dishes by pointing and gesturing and nodding our heads and smiling! It was a huge victory that we got coke without ice. The food was decent and we enjoyed spending time with the Davis family. Afterwards we walked several blocks trying to figure out how to hail a cab. There is a large, very crowded lane of Mopeds in between the curb and the cars so we didn't know how to hail one. I was praying over and over, Lord please help us find a cab! as we walked through the streets of Nanning. Thankfully we finally spotted one that was not occupied (it was rush hour) and we piled in and made the trek home. It was a great Nanning adventure!
The sunset last night in Nanning - our last night here
This morning (Friday) we woke up not feeling as rested. Some joker next door to us was talking so loud well past midnight. I tried to call the front desk several times to tell them but I am pretty sure something did not translate. This morning I stayed in the room to shower and rest while Bryan took Sam down for the breakfast buffet.
After breakfast we FaceTimed the kids who were about to go to bed at Gran Jan and Pop Pop's. Sam started to be a little wild in the room and also seemed sad/worried when I started to pack up his clothes. Bryan decided to take Sam downstairs for a walk and more bubbles in case the packing upset him. We realize he does not understand what is happening. Will he think we are taking him back when we get on the same train he came here on?
Downstairs Bryan & Sam took a walk by the lake and saw a man giving haircuts. You know, because that's totally normal.
Pictures from their walk by the lake
Last night we sent out some of our dirty, sweaty clothes to be washed. They came back neatly folded by a local man that our guide hires to do laundry. Much cheaper than having the hotel do it, and nice to not pack stinky clothes right next to the clean ones on our way to Guangzhou!
We are planning on an early lunch in our room and a nap for Sam. At 2:00pm we check out of our hotel and will meet our guide and head to pick up Samuel's passport. From there, we go to the Nanning train station where we already have tickets and reserved seats on the bullet train. We will ride for about 4-4.5 hours from Nanning to Guangzhou. It will take about the same time total that it would take us to fly by the time you add in arriving early at the airport to go through security, etc. We have never been on a bullet train so we are excited for a new experience. Apparently there is a restaurant car and toilets so we will be able to get up and move around some if Sam is restless. The best thing is that the train will go through Wuzhou, the city where Samuel is from. It is very far east in this province, almost before you go into Guangdong (province where Guangzhou is located).
At this point, we will have completed all the Chinese requirements for the adoption here in Sam's province. The next week spent in Guangzhou allows us to finish all the US requirements for him to come to America: his medical appointment and visa appointment. We look forward to a new location, new things to see and do and most of all seeing more families in Guangzhou, especially our friends the McDonalds from home.
Thank you for following along our journey here in China with Sam. Please pray that our travel to Guangzhou is safe and smooth, and that he would feel confident as he boards that train with us that he is staying with us forever and not going back.