Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trip to Silk Street

Today we grabbed our guide books and ventured out into Beijing alone.  We really weren't too nervous about getting around but more nervous about Claire's reaction to the subway and if her motion sickness reappeared.  We gave her the Dramamine just before leaving, which we have learned is not enough time, and she didn't handle the first ride very well.  She did the same thing she does in the car- gets very quiet, eyes closing and the overall "I'm about to barf on your shoes" look. 
We had to change subway lines one time and in during that transfer something made her start crying.  We're not sure if it was something that triggered her memories of her foster family or just the fact that she wanted to get out and we passed by what she thought was the elevator.  It's hard to pick out any mandarin words when she's crying but I think I may have heard 'nai nai' which is grandmother so we just stopped right there in the pedestrian tunnels, held onto her and told her we loved her.  Thankfully it only lasted a couple of minutes and then we were on our way.
We walked quite a distance after getting off the subway to visit a famous silk market here in Beijing.  It was completely overwhelming; every 5-10 feet we had people yelling "do you want to buy (insert object here), I give you good price."  We did buy a few things and I must proudly say I love to haggle.  The cards we brought say to offer 30% less than their first price.  In every case, I paid 50% less than their original price and one even less than the original price for 2 of them.  I still may have paid too much but I guess we'll only be here once.  It was 6 floors of tiny little flea market type booths selling every thing from Polo shirts to jade bracelets.  I'm fairly certain this jade was fake and mixed with glass so we didn't buy any there. 
We've only bought a few things, none of which have been for us.  While we want to bring home souvenirs for all, we most likely won't.  It isn't because your're not thought about or loved but simply because we have 5 pounds left on our luggage allowance and most things here that we could bring home are breakable.  We're even avoiding the things we'd like to get for our family because of those two reasons.  Our biggest commitment right now is to bring home things that will help Claire understand and appreciate her Chinese culture as she grows up.  This will be very important as she gets older and really questions her identity growing up in the US.
Other things about the day:
*We're working on the English words for colors and she's already got pink, white and yellow.  She gets those right every time now.
*She can count from 1-10 in English but skips 7 a lot of times; we think it's hard for her to say.
*She sings ALL the time and really has a beautiful voice.
*She told a lady at the market today "My mom speaks English" and "my dad speaks English" when we went into a shop.  She didn't even give us a chance to say ni hao (hello) before she told the lady.  The girl cracked up and then told us what she said.
*Two people today asked where Claire was from (as in where in China) and were surprised when we told them Beijing.  J has thought she looks more like western Chinese people and one girl said she looked and sounded like she was from somewhere else.  We've been trying to remember the place all day so we can look it up.
*When walking away from a booth today someone yelled "why do you have a Chinese daughter?"  We just kept walking but it really made us wonder how much of the general population here knows about international adoption. 
*We're fairly certain Claire thinks we live in this hotel.  We think she believes this is our home, or our apartment.  She knows which floor we're staying on and which room is ours.  We pack up and make the trip to Guangzhou this Friday and I think we'll probably encounter a break down when she realizes she really is leaving and we're not staying here.
We've looked up the dosage recommendation for children taking Dramamine and found we can give her more than we have been.  We're quite worried about the plane rides coming up and plan to ask for an abundant amount of barf bags.  I thought I'd read all I could to prepare on what we might face with older child adoption and I can honestly tell you that motion sickness was no where on the radar prior to getting here.  But, after being here it makes perfect sense.  For seven years she probably traveled by car very infrequently so she is simply not used to the motion of cars, or subways and definitely planes.  We plan on a trip to the doctor to get some prescription relief for her once we get home because we drive somewhere every day.
Tomorrow we're leaving the hotel fairly early and heading to the Beijing aquarium.  It's gotten a lot colder than the first few days we were here so the zoo would be fairly miserable after a short while.  We're also going to visit the place she was found so we can take pictures of that for her later. 
The weather forecast is calling for snow flurries on Friday and we need to pray hard that the snow doesn't come.  This city shuts down with any amount of snow and we are due to fly out that day.  Our schedule in Guangzhou hinges on our arrival on Friday. Every thing for her US visa starts on Saturday so we can't be late.

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