Today was mostly a travel day. After our usual breakfast buffet at the hotel, we headed upstairs to pack for our trip to Fuzhou <FOO-joe>. Everyone else in our group is going to Guangzhou <GWANG-jo>, where we will be next week.
Now that we've had 5 full days with Tian, here are some things we can say about him:
He's smart. Really smart. He figures things out quickly. I'm thinking he has an engineer's mind. He is fascinated with cranes (of which there were many in Zhengzhou <JUNG-joe>) and enjoys building things and seeing how things work. At breakfast, I had given him some chopped melons. He began stacking them, one on top of the other, to build a tower. If one was too slanted, he would remove it, and add a different piece that made the tower more straight.
He doesn't always respond to us, whether we are speaking or tapping him. We can sign/talk right in front of his face and he seems to just be zoned on to whatever is interesting HIM at the moment. However, if HE wants to know something or is curious to have an answer, he will pay attention with lightning speed.
On the airplane, he crawled into Ken's lap and watched out the window with interest. Ken was explaining things to him and each time Ken tapped him, he turned his head so fast, I thought he'd get whiplash. He's smart. And ornery!
Speaking of ornery, he really showed this side of himself today. First of all, on the bus ride to the hotel, he cried and cried, wanting to get off the bus. He seemed upset every time he saw our second bus in front of us. Apple, one of our guides, spoke to him in Chinese (which he can totally understand) to tell him we would get off the bus in a few minutes. Then she began counting 1-10 with him. He was very interested and it seemed to help calm him down. He was fine the minute we got off the bus.
In the airport, he was super-clingy. When we went through security (after a long wait for the other 13 families to get through), he did this "freak-out" thing he does when he gets nervous. He begins to laugh and laugh, all while scratching my face, hugging my neck to the point of choking me, and pulling my hair. When I get on to him, he just laughs more. It's frustrating, because I have no way to communicate with him other than "bu" (no) and using my facial expression. I'm signing it, saying "bu" and "no" and shaking my head and waving my hand. This only adds to the reasons why Chinese people want to stop and stare. It's lots of fun.
We got through security (way better than US, I must say) and went to eat lunch. Another family sat down at the table next to us. The mom (someone I've been communicating with via email for quite some time) also looked a little frustrated. We began talking and her daughter was doing the exact same thing. Scratching, pulling hair, pinching, and laughing the entire time. We're wondering if they were taught to do that, allowed to do that, or if it's just a product of their stress. Either way, it was a great comfort to know Tian wasn't the only one doing that. Even though we have read all the books, talked to our social worker and other adoptive families, it's still hurtful when they act "mean" and we can't really communicate enough to get them to stop nor do we understand what they are thinking. So glad to not be alone.
Before the flight, I had prayed and prayed that Tian would be calm. God answered our prayer in a major way. First of all, Tian chose to sit with Ken, which he has not been doing for the past day or so. Secondly, he loved takeoff. He was glued to the window and payed attention to every word Ken said to him. And the best part? He fell fast (and I mean fast) asleep the minute after we set to the sky. We woke him as we were landing so that he would understand what flying meant.
I should mention that, on the very full airplane, we were the only non-Asian people. Needless to say, we got lots of attention. Our photo was taken with phone cameras as we made our way down the aisle. A lady sitting in front of the kids enjoyed practicing her English and visting with the kids. They enjoyed chatting with her.
Just before landing, a short exercise video was shown. The kids had a great time following along and doing the exercises. Not a bad idea, I must say!
Fuzhou is humid, but cooler than Zhengzhou. It's been raining, as it's monsoon season. It's so nice to see lush greenery, blue sky, white clouds, and rolling mountains. It's still very crowded here, but nothing like the other two cities. We still get lots of stares and are still pretty over it. Oh well, that's more of "going with the flow." We just smile and stare back. If we want to get a lot of laughs out of the group, we just say "ni hao." We never knew we were such comedians.
Our hotel, the Lakeside, is nice. It's not as fancy as Crowne, but it's still very nice and, Ken and I agree, more comfortable. The rooms are large and the feel is homey. Good thing, because this will be "home" for the entire week!