I want to thank everyone who has left messages either on the blog, via Facebook, or sent e-mails. I have appreciated them all. I really look forward to checking my e-mail when I wake up to see the messages that you have left. Thanks for following along and resisting the temptation to point out all the errors in my exhausted-right-before-bed blog posts. I also wanted to mention that if you like seeing the pictures of China life, I have been updating Flickr daily as well. There are usually at least 10 additional pictures that you can see by clicking through on the right to the Flickr page.
This morning Matt was left at the hotel with the four boys to wait for paperwork to arrive while Linda, Mary Evelyn, and I had a girls’ morning out shopping. I hired a local women who offers a guided shopping service. She used to work at a touristy store, and now she takes adoptive families to the wholesale shops where the touristy shops buy their wares to sell. We were completely amazed to walk into a huge multi-level mall which had nothing but jewelry stores. Linda and I really had a lot of fun looking at everything and making our purchases, but I think Mary Evelyn was regretting agreeing to come along.
Our guide asked us what sort of items we wanted to buy, and then took us to a variety of stores. She took us to all of these little back alley places. We didn’t see anyone who wasn’t Chinese, so I know we were hitting the local spots. We stopped at a store that sold traditional Chinese clothing. I was trying on a dress when the guide said that I would need to get a XXL. I said to Linda that shopping in Chinese sizes sure kept you humble. The guide asked what size I wore in America, and I said that I was usually considered a small in American sizes. She said something to the store owner and they both chuckled. But I liked my dress just fine, despite the XXL on the tag. The boys liked their outfits, too.
While I was gone shopping, Matt was finishing up some odds and ends with our agency. We got Leo’s visa in, and the “magical” brown envelope which will turn him into a citizen once the immigration officer opens it, so long as we can complete the quest of traveling home without losing it or damaging the envelope. While Matt was down in our agency’s office, I had him take a red couch photo of Leo. Back when China adoption was in full swing, pretty much everyone stayed at the same hotel on Shamian Island. The hotel had red couches in the lobby, and it became a tradition to take a picture of your child on the couch. Now the consulate and medical exam building are no longer on Shamian Island and the White Swan Hotel is closed for renovation, but our agency bought one of the red couches so that parents can keep up the tradition. It was close to Leo’s naptime, so the pictures of him by himself weren’t that great. I’ll show one with his brothers instead.
It was almost supper time by the time we were able to get Leo’s passport with visa, so we didn’t have time to go out and do anything this afternoon. We decided to get takeout from one of the many restaurants in the hotel, finish off the last half of the cake (delicious, by the way!), and go swimming one last time. Tomorrow is our last full day in China, so we need to make sure our suits are dry in time for tomorrow’s major packing party.