Yesterday, after resting from a somewhat busy morning and early afternoon, we met my friend Chris and her daughters Faith and Avery for dinner. Our travel buddies the Smiths came along too. Chris is here for the second time, this time adopting almost four year old Avery. She was a wonderful source of encouragement for me during the ups and downs of the adoption wait, and I am so excited to have gotten to spend some time with them. Faith is a shining example of a young Christian woman, and the fact that she just happens to be a nursing student made me like her even more. And Avery is really adorable. I had my camera in my purse and of course forgot to take pictures, but hopefully we'll get back together again before our time here is up. Jim will be shaking his head somewhere at home when he hears we went for Italian food at a restaurant on the island called La Dolce Vita. I know, I know, why are we eating Italina food in China????? Hey - it was REALLY good. And I've eaten at restaurants in Italy! This tasted much more genuine than the "Italian" food we have in the States. And we found out that Abby loves pizza. What a surprise.
Today we went with the Smiths to the pearl and jade markets. We hired Ann from redthread to help us get to the markets and bargain for some good prices. A lot of people go on their own, but Anita and I thought we could do better with a local coming along, and Ann doesn't charge very much for this service. We were glad we brought her, as we scored some great deals that we probably couldn't have done without her. I got some things I would NEVER buy back home. The girls have the jewelry for their wedding day, too!! We had taken a taxi up to the markets, but on the way back we decided to walk so that we could learn the way, in case we wanted to go back. There's a lot of other shopping there besides the pearl and jade markets. We had to weave through a lot of little local markets, like the Chinese medicine one. These back alley markets had a lot of pets for sale, things such as turtles, cats, goldfish, hamsters, and guinea pigs. We also walked through a temple which was built during the Ching dynasty. I love getting a taste of the "real" China.
I had been worried about Abby's ability to keep up with the shopping this morning, but I shouldn't have been. The girl is ALL girl and loves to shop! She loved looking at the jewelry and knowing I got some stuff for her, even though I let her know none of it is for right now. Ann is fabulous with kids and hung out with Abby the whole time. They chatted away in Chinese about EVERYTHING!! I found out that Abby is fluent in BOTH Mandarin and Cantonese - I thought she only knew Cantonese, even though I knew she was learning some Mandarin in school. Ann said she could respond to her easily in both, and was impressed with how smart she is. Abby spent most of the morning giggling, and I was glad that she had a chance to connect with someone - it must be hard to go days on end without being able to carry on an actual conversation.
After we got back on the island we wandered around a bit, made a quick stop and Starbucks, and then hit the playground. Abby loved it but you could tell she is not used to the playground equipment. She kept wanting to do the monkey bars and then chickening out. Lanie - you'll have to train her!!! She even hesitated to go down the slide, but finally did go for that and laughed the whole way down. We then stopped at one of the shops next to the hotel to get her a couple of dresses - I hadn't brought a ton of clothes because I was unsure of her size. She loves dresses and the days that I pull out leggings she tells me she wants a dress. I also bought an extra suitcase for the return trip home - everything is super cheap, plus you can bargain for an even better price. I'm excited because the rest of the families from our group are now also in Guangzhou. We ran across a few of them while out and about today, and it is so nice to see everyone with their kids. We're supposed to be going to Lucy's for a big group dinner tonight. A lot of the families who adopted from Shanghai adopted older kids, so it'll be nice to see if any of the kids make a connection. I'm also feeling very blessed, because in talking to some of the parents it seems like we're having one of the easiest transitions. One of the moms with a 9 year old girl told me today that her daughter is having a very difficult time. I prayed for months that Abby would be well prepared for this, and this was a reminder not to take that answered prayer for granted!! Please pray for this other little girl's adjustment to her new family!!!