Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday 8/25: Consulate Appointment

Today was our consulate appointment the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  We left the hotel at 9am for our 10am consulate appointment.  Our guide had meticulously prepared our paperwork ahead of time so all we needed to do was show up and follow instructions!  

Outside of the consulate there are hundreds of Chinese people waiting in line so they can try to get a visa to come to the US.  As American citizens, we immediately go to the front of the line and walk straight in for our appointment.  The privilege of being an American and living in our amazing nation is not lost on us as we are abroad in China.  Once inside the consulate we could not bring in any electronics so we don't have any pictures.  During the appointment, each family takes an oath that the information they have provided on their child's visa application is truthful.  Then each family is called up one by one to be interviewed by the officer.  The female officer that interviewed us recognized Samuel's Chinese name.  She is the same officer I spoke with on the phone at midnight in Texas one night, trying to find out if our paperwork had been expedited and was ready for pick up.  I was able to thank her personally for the work she did to help Samuel join our family so quickly.  

Ready to head to the US Consulate!

Standing outside the US Consulate in Guangzhou.  Many families dress their children in red, white and blue for this appointment.  Samuel got lots of compliments on his shorts with a belt! He looked like a little man :)

They had a little tikes playhouse and some small toys in the waiting area.  Samuel played nicely with the other kids while we waited our turn at the appointment.  He was not happy when we picked him up to leave, and even more unhappy that Mama was carrying him instead of Baba.  He turned into total limp dead weight and yelled for Daddy while I carried him out.  I walked on out of there with the hundreds of chinese people lined up outside staring as our son yelled for his Daddy who was walking right beside me.  It would have made less of a scene to hand him to Bryan but we are trying to help him learn that a) Mama and Baba are both good and b) Mama and Baba run the show!

We met up with our guide in the lobby of the medical building (the guides/drivers cannot park in front of the consulate).  Bryan took Samuel to the bathroom.  When they were done, Bryan wanted Samuel to walk out into the lobby but Samuel was not having it.  He wanted to be carried.  Cue the temper tantrum in the lobby of the medical building.  Our guide had to come over and explain to Samuel in Cantonese that sometimes he needs to walk and it was time to stand up and go.  He then proceeded to do the slowest, most deliberate process of going from laying down to standing that I have ever seen.  Classic toddler move.  Somethings are just universal, ya know??  It was actually really hard not to laugh!!!  We've continued to have those kinds of moments throughout the day (and have had them consistently for about 5-6 days now).  The fits are over horrible injustices like getting out of the bathtub, not being allowed to lay on the floor of a restaurant under the table, and being asked to put on pants.  Luckily these instances really aren't frustrating us-- we are just trying to be consistent, pick our battles and set some boundaries.

Back at the hotel, our guide took us to a shop to buy an inexpensive stroller.  I am glad she showed us how to get there since it was a few blocks back in a Chinese neighborhood.  There's no way we could have found it on our own.  Unfortunately I started to get a migraine at this point.  We grabbed a quick lunch and came back to the hotel so I could nap.  Bryan played with Samuel and eventually took him down to the kiddie pool to swim while I rested and started packing our stuff.  

Tonight we went to dinner at the same noodle house with the McDonalds again.  Bryan and I ordered pork dumplings, bok choy, a large noodle bowl with vegetables and meat, a pork dish and 2 cokes.  Our total was less than $20!  The restaurant makes the noodles and dumplings fresh in an open kitchen that you can see from your seat.  The boys ate a TON just like the night before.  We continue to be impressed with Samuel's attempt at using chopsticks!

On the way back from dinner we saw this bike.  The little seat in the front is meant for your small child to sit on.

The boys were jabbering about a dog they saw on the street and were not amused with my photo shoot.  They were also not amused by the moon cakes we bought from a bakery on the way back.  Can't say that I blame them-- we tasted them and thought they were kinda yucky. 

At this point all of our paperwork is finished.  We are just waiting on Samuel's visa which should be in our hands by 4:30 pm tomorrow.  We plan to go to Shamian Island tomorrow and may try to find our way to the toy market also.  We stay here on Wednesday night then take a train to Hong Kong on Thursday morning.  Our flights leave Hong Kong a little after midnight on Thursday night (so basically Friday morning here).  We are really on the home stretch now and can't wait to bring Samuel home to meet the rest of his family!  

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