Thursday, January 23, 2014

China Day 13 – Visas and Cultural Observations

Today is going to be the last blog until we get home Saturday morning.  Tomorrow will be about making sure everything is packed and ready to go, including my computer.  Today we received Primrose’s visa!  Now she can legally enter the US and once she does, she is a US citizen!  I am so excited that the paper trail has ended.  What started out as an application for adoption in March of 2012 has turned into a princess named Primrose.  As she is in the bath, April and I are both just ready to step off of that plane in Memphis.  We are ready to see and love on Belle as well as just sit in our house and be home.  This has been an amazing journey and we are grateful for those of you who have followed along.  As I was looking at our blog stats I was amazed that on Gotcha Day we had over 900 blog views.  Considering all that was taking place in our world during this time, I was so encouraged and overwhelmed at the response.  We are truly grateful for your prayers during our time here in China and ask you pray for our travel and our adjustment at home.  Neither Belle nor Primrose has had to share the spotlight with us just yet, so this could get interesting.  I am going to post some videos and pictures from our adventures here as well as some cultural observations to close out this post.

Before I move to the cultural observations, I want to mention how incredible many of the people we met who were also adopting are.  We have met so many families from our Holt group as well as other groups who are now connected with us for life.  Like I said in a previous blog post, it is amazing how you instantly connect with strangers through adoption and form a bond.  It is a community unlike any other.  Below are just a couple of pictures of some of the people we have met.

 This is the Weiler Family from Alaska.  They were here adopting the little boy, Jinzi.  The little girl who you rally cannot see was adopted from China as well.  One of the shop keepers on Shamian Island called Fred the "Happy Buddha."  He is a lot of fun.

 The couple on the left is the Lyle family from Hawaii, next to them is the Marburger family (who I mentioned in an earlier post) who adopted the girl in the purple top on the right, the man in the background is with the Cheung family, and the lady on the right is the incomparable Catherine.  She is an amazing lady who takes care of things for Holt.

I didn’t know what to truly expect coming to China, but after spending 13 days here I have a great love and admiration for the Chinese people.  As an American we get accustomed to life the way we live it and when taken out of our home country, some growth should be expected.  The first thing I noticed is the driving.  It is insane but organized.  I have never seen more congested traffic and crazy lane changes with as much courtesy as witnessed here.  Seriously, the lines on the road are more about suggested places to drive as opposed to required places to drive.  The cars/buses/taxis change lanes on a whim, with signal, and the cars let them merge.  No flipping off, no cussing, just the occasional horn honk if you are going too slowly.  It was crazy and scared us half to death the first few days, but today riding in the taxi it didn’t even phase us.
 Here is us on one of our bus rides to the civil affairs office.

Another thing that I didn’t expect is elevator etiquette.  In the US it is common to move to the back so that others can get on the elevator.  And when waiting for the elevator stand back to that anyone who needs to get off can before you get on it.  Not in China!  The first time I was on the elevator and the doors opened for me to get off I was shocked to see about 3 people standing almost nose to the door waiting for it to open, and then immediately jump on as I was trying to get off.  And when you are getting on the elevator with other people you better move fast because someone will be hitting that “door close” button like there is no tomorrow.  In fact, April about got shut out of the elevator one time because a man was hitting the button as soon as the doors opened and I barely got on as they were closing.  It makes for a fun experience.

The people of China are super helpful and we have many experiences of their courtesy toward us as we have been out checking out the city.  My favorite thing is how many of them just love to see an American.  We have had so many people get our attention to just say in English, “Hello!” and the smile so big when we say it back.  Kids are the best about this, we had an entire class of 8 or 9 year old girls yelling “Hello” or “Ni Hao” to us as we were walking around Shamian Island, and it made their day when we yelled “Ni Hao” back at them.  The Chinese have been a very welcoming people.  They are very curious when it comes to seeing us with Primrose or seeing her cleft lip, but due to language barriers they do not approach and ask questions.  You can see it on their face that they really want to know.

A few more:

  • Chinese food in America is NOT the same as Chinese food in China

  •  Porcelain toilets with seats are WAY better than the Chinese alternative

  • The Chinese have an incredible respect for the elderly and people with children (a lady tried to give up her seat on the Metro so I could sit down with Primrose but I refused, this is what they do)

  •   If you want to cross the street on foot, do it carefully

  •  Watch out for bike riders on the sidewalks and the streets

  •  Insane work ethic

  • You do not tip in restaurants, they work hard because they are supposed to not to earn tips

All in all, I have to say that I have loved my time here except for the few hiccups we experienced with Primrose the first few days.  I am ready to be home, but I will miss being here.  I cannot wait to come back in a few years with Belle and Primrose to visit again.

Just so you know, mommy and Primrose are doing GREAT!!

Again, thank you all for reading and taking this journey with us.  There will be more blogs as we get home and experience life as a family of four.  Stay Tuned!

Prim did not nap today while we were running around, but as she was playing in front of the TV this happened.  I moved her so she would not fall and she went into tantrum pose and before she could get wound up fake crying she fell asleep.

 This is tantrum pose.  She is super flexible and literally puts her head on the floor between her legs.

Here is our little princess not getting her way and throwing a tantrum, when she is done there aren't any tears!  This is all for show.  Cute and pitiful at the same time.

No comments:

Post a Comment