Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday: More Sightseeing in Beijing

Spending a few days sightseeing is supposed to help us acclimate to the time zone and climate, as well as help us have a better understanding of Madeleine's heritage, but it's also left us exhausted.  Once we arrive in Madeleine's province and officially start to finish the adoption process, we'll have more appointments and some opportunities for additional sightseeing, but there is a lot more downtime to allow us all to make an easier transition (as much as possible).  Here's hoping our kid likes naps.

Saturday...The Great Wall.  Oh, the Great Wall...  This has been CJ's favorite part of the trip so far, and mine too, but for completely different reasons.  I knew that there wasn't going to be an escalator to the top, but I also wasn't fully prepared for the arduous hike either.  We started off with a few stairs... Then there was a ramp, that from a distance, didn't look steep at all.  Looks are deceiving.  The ramp also angled to the right.  Then there are more stairs.  Some stairs had a steep step of around 16" maybe?  Maybe more?  Then your next one might be 10" and then the one after that 3" and then the one after that 17".  Of course, coming back down was also a challenge, especially since we had to dodge selfie takers every few feet. There's a time and a place, and that wasn't it.

Anyway, I made it up to the next to the last ramp from the top.  CJ ended up going to the top.  I do kind of regret not going to the top after all, but if I had, I would have missed out on my favorite part -- a conversation with an older Chinese man named Han and his wife, Betty (See, Dad?  I made a new friend.).  He asked me where I was from and when I replied Indiana, he said, "Oh!  Indiana Jones!!"  He then proceeded to tell me (twice, actually) about traveling with his wife and mother to Disneyland where there is an Indiana Jones ride and how his elderly mother didn't understand that they paid admission and could ride on unlimited rides in the park.  Then he asked me what I did for a living.  Of course, most of my friends and family probably have no idea what economic development is, but when I told him, his eyes lit up and he said, "Business and marketing!  You must be very rich!"  Something like that, Han.

Next step -- picking up Madeleine!  We're not sure what time we will meet her, but it will likely be between Sunday evening and Monday morning Indiana time.

Of course, we will try to post as soon as possible, but we will probably be delayed, so if you don't hear from either of us during this time frame, don't worry.  Internet accessibility will play a role.  After we pick her up, we will need to make a run to Walmart.  (Sidebar - You all know my feelings for Walmart.  But I'm actually really excited to experience it here!) We'll need to pick up formula, perhaps clothes (if none of those that we brought fit), and shoes (her first pair, the start of a long love affair with shoes!).  Most importantly, everything depends on Madeleine.  While we know that a family is much preferable to life in an orphanage, we are taking her away from everything and everyone she has known her entire life.  We don't look the same -- there aren't blonde women here, nor are there men with beards.  We don't talk the same and we don't smell the same.  We're exchanging short-term pain for long-term gain.  We get it, but she doesn't.  She could shut down entirely and regress.  She may be fine.  Or she may completely freak out -- and I wouldn't blame her in the least. So, patience with us over these next few weeks!

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