It's about 5:30pm as I type up this blog. Believe it or not, I'm here in the room with Tian, Travis and Kenzie and all is well. Ken and Hannah ran to the store to get some things for the boys to have on the plane ride tomorrow. TJ is in the other room watching TV and playing with bubbles.
A few of you have been amazed that I'm able to keep up a blog. I normally write in the afternoon when both boys are napping and the older Brownies are chilling out watching TV. I'll often type up a few notes so I don't forget what happened, then will put it all together in the afternoon or late evening.
We truly are grateful for our time here. With all the sympathy I got after my last post, I'm afraid I may have made it sound like we're miserable here. That's not the case at all. The "misery" or homesickness comes in waves and are short-lived. That emotional episode I had in the van yesterday was one of only two since we've been in China, so we can truly say that the vast majority of the time, all is well. The boys DO take their turns throwing fits and we are looking forward to going home, but we are enjoying our truly short time here in China. We get out and have fun. As the kids are now sick of hearing me say, we "go with the flow."
This morning after our usual breakfast buffet, we met our guide and headed out in the sweltering humidity to the Fuzhou Zoo, just about 5 miles from here. The scenery was gorgeous! This is a tropical climate and all of the greenery made me think of what the Garden of Eden might have looked like. Huge palm branches, thick bamboo and other lush plants. All of this was set with green rolling mountains in the background.
Ken, who had planned to stay home with Travis, decided to join us after all, but was ready to go back after about 5 minutes. He endured a long climb up many steps (we knew better this time and took our carriers and NOT strollers) and a peek at some giraffes before we headed over to the sea lion show. Two of the Brownies got their photo made with a sea lion! After the show, Ken and Travis headed back to the hotel with our oldest while I stayed back with the others and our guide. While we were walking, a group of teens motioned excitedly for us to come let them take our picture. I quickly realized they were Deaf. We were able to communicate enough for them to learn we were from America and that I was hearing, but my husband (who had already left) was Deaf. They were even more excited to see us, but they didn't try to say much. After we walked away, I remembered what our Deaf friends in Beijing had said. The Deaf people in China never ever see a hearing wife of a Deaf husband who can sign. Even more, they can't imagine hearing kids who can sign. I wonder if they assumed I didn't sign. I wish I had visited more, but it was so hot, we seriously thought we would pass out.
Regardless of our brief communication, our guide was pretty impressed with what we could communicate with each other. She had lots of questions after that. I love it! I pray the Chinese people continue to open their minds to the abilities of Deaf people.
We headed a little further up the hill to see a tiger and lion show then peek at leopard before heading back down to the entrance. We picked up some much-needed drinks, as we had sucked through all of our water fairly quickly, and then waited a few minutes for our driver.
When we climbed into the van, it was sweltering. The driver messed around with the fans for a few minutes, then announced that the AC was not working. Even the fan wouldn't turn, so there was no air. I told our guide that I was glad that happened with us and not with Ken, because he might have lost it! I let her know we could deal with it as long as the windows were down. Oh? The windows don't go down? Well, I think we just might die then. Fortunately, that was even too much for the driver and guide, so they got us swiftly to a taxi for the 15-minute ride home. Whew!
Once back at the hotel, we quickly changed into our swim suits and hit the pool to cool off. Tian LOVES the pool and enjoys jumping in from the edge. Travis, on the other hand, hates it with a passion. Ken kept him in for a torturous 10 minutes and his screaming never let up. (We were the only ones at the pool or else we wouldn't have kept him there so long.)
After a brief swim and some delivered McDonald's for lunch, Ken and Hannah made a quick taxi ride to the store. (They could have walked, but it was pouring and plus they were coming back with a couple of bags.) Travis wasn't happy to see Ken leave, but ended up doing great with me. We put on lotion, looked at books, played with little brother, and watched TJ make giant bubbles. TJ had concocted a bubble-maker out of hotel shampoo, water, and a plastic rod from a toy the boys have. It was a huge hit!
3 hours have passed, we've eaten dinner, had lots of laughs with all 5 of our kids, and are now going to try to wind down for the evening. We will spend tomorrow morning packing. Travis' paperwork should be completed by 3:30pm, then we will head out to the airport to fly to Guangzhou in the evening. Ready to be in a new city to get the boys' immigration papers processed. Exciting stuff!