This morning started early. Taizi is an amazing sleeper. Very awesome. We are big on good sleepers in our house ;)
When Taizi woke he seemed distressed. He took 2.5 bottles and when we went for breakfast he was very agitated. He was thrashing his head back and forth and doing his mournful singing. :( We got him another bottle (so this is 3.5!) and he settled.
We did breakfast and I'll be honest...as amazing as it is...it was getting old day in and day out :( They didn't change it up enough or...maybe I'm just simple-folk and toast is the way to go for me. ;)
We went up and packed ... no no...let me clarify...I packed :) This whole time Taizi was rocking back and forth on the bed either with Dean or Azlan and singing again :( He just was not settled at all.
We met Savor at noon for more paperwork and Taizi's Chinese passport. So sad that it gets relinquished upon becoming a US citizen but that's the way it is. We then went with her to buy Izrael shoes.
Yes you just read that right. We bought her shoes in Shanghai...remember? Well one disappeared. And we've looked pretty sad with a baby in very fall weather with no shoes. So Savor told me she knew of a place with squeaky shoes. Awesome.
It was pouring rain. We step outside the hotel into a cloud of cigarette smoke. We have been very surprised by how many people smoke here and how you smell it everywhere you go.
We go around the corner to the market and there's these loud speakers screaming by 2 little stores. It was so loud...it hurt. I was yelling at Savor to ask her a question. Well squeaky shoes are out of season she was told :) so there's this huge pile of shoes on a mat in the rain. They are random sizes etc. Half look used. They are all marked 5 yen. That's .... 90 cents USD. OK so it's worth a look. I find a reasonably cute pair but they were way too big. So picture this massive pile of shoes...a loudspeaker blowing my eardrums out...POURing rain and Dean saying "too big is fine! She'll grow into them" :) Ummm no. This is one time use shoes. They were that bad but they were 90 cents :) Then the owner of the store comes to me...taps me on the shoulder...and with a scowl starts waving to me "NO MORE!". I look at Savor who is dying laughing...the lady is saying that I must leave her store now. .... ?? Un real. So I'm dying laughing and telling her "that wasn't very nice...I'm buying shoes. Does she want a customer??" the lady retorts "they are 5 yen!!!! Get them and go" Ok Dean is laughing so hard and we all stumble out of there with too-big shoes. :)
Then we went to a few other places to buy a few other gifts for a few other special people. Including our adorable nieces from Africa that we will be seeing over the holidays. I was told I'm the king of bartering and even Savor was telling me I was too low...but they often accepted my offer and I learned from my sister in law in Zambia Africa, Tanis, that you must be willing to walk away. I walked away from a few places :)
I know I've said this several times but I have to say it again...Azlan has been a dream. A total dream. He is a trooper and will go from sun up to sun down without one complaint. Savor said she sees lots of kids come with their families but none that just sit and look out the window or help with the baby with no video game device ever. Izrael has rode on his back around the hotel room...he has sat many times with Taizi talking to him and when Taizi zones into his hands...Azlan uses his hands to distract him. We had hoped this trip would really help Azlan flourish with so much one on one time...and it's been amazing. He has been overtired, hungry, thirsty and been so patient with how the days have unfolded.
Today we got him an Angry Bird toy set at the market. Mama bartered and it's seriously a fun toy. Definitely a reward for how amazing he has been.
Then we went home as Dean went to get our laundry. Oh aren't you all dying to know that story? Well here goes. Gulp. Laundry in the hotel is outrageously expensive. Like as in more than I pay for the clothing in the first place! Can you imagine paying $3 USD to wash a child's pair of underwear...? Well neither can I! So I packed accordingly. Everyone has enough essentials to last 23 days! However, especially with children...dirty laundry starts getting a little nasty. So Savor says "no no no I have the perfect place" so she took us there. It was a hole in the wall in the market. We later brought our 2 bags of laundry there. NO adult jeans, coats, sweaters etc. One pair of childs jeans, the rest were baby clothes (Izrael and Taizi) and underwear and socks. 3 of Dean's shirts. I have enough clothing to last. Well jeans get repeated but you know. So .. on with my story. Dean comes up to the hotel room looking rather nervous. I"m like "no tell me it wasn't the laundry!" :) Yah. that. The guy counts it and writes him a bill for 475 yen...ohhh like $75 usd. I, of course am saying ... "you didn't pay it right?" uhhh..yah. It's all good. We have never had dry cleaned and pressed socks and underwear before but we sure do now. Savor felt very badly that they clearly overcharged us but it's done. And...we have pressed underwear. ;)
We got all bags ready went down stairs and loaded in the van. Taizi was a bit more settled but had drank now 6.5 bottles up to this point! Guess who has very wet diapers...? He was wetting one diaper a day and is now soaking diapers multiple times a day.
We get to the airport and supposedly there was an issue with our flight. Savor worked on it and got us moved around. It's pouring outside and foggy and my stomach was in total knots about this flight. We were in a city of 5million people and this airport did not reflect it. They couldn't give Savor a departure time for our flight that was in a few hours. Hmm. We said good bye to Savor after telling her how much we loved spending time with her and exchanging emails. Dean paused and told her in a concise way how much we'd love to see her again someday and if that wasn't here...we want it to be in Heaven. She listened very intently as we briefly told her about Jesus. She looked at me and said "I believe Janice...I'll see you there! But come to Nanjing first ! :)" we do know she's been told the gospel several times as she's worked with many other christian families.
We went in to board our plane and wow that was interesting. I'll share Dean's thoughts here. We have been shocked at how most people in the 2 cities we have spent time in...have been "every man for themselves". Get up and give a mom and baby a chair...? Crazy talk. Instead people have barged in front of us in line many times. So in the gate waiting room it was pretty packed. We walked around a while before we found seats. Then the people all around us turned and literally leaned over the chairs and just watched us. It's awkward to sit there and eat or feed your baby when they are so engrossed in every thing you are doing. They are so intrigued by Azlan. This cute little boy with bleach blond hair...he gets lots of attention.
So they announce our flight is delayed "due to scheduling conflict". Fantastic.
At our gate people are lining up like crazy and we go to see they are handing out free hot meals and bottles of coke for our flight. So who knows how long we are delayed ... right? Well 10 minutes later the flight was boarding. Hmm. No clue. Then again not a lot of english was used :)
Its dark. POURING rain and we have to board a bus to take us to the plane. We have 4 carryons PLUS 2 strollers plus 2 infants. I need you to get the picture of what we looked like...it'll be very important in a few sentences ;) We finally get to the plane and well there's no cart for gate checked items ... we are standing there wet, cold and Taizi is now crying in Dean's arms. So Dean has a huge heavy back pack on, the camera bag around his shoulder, a crying wet, cold Taizi and his blanket in his arms and the man motions for us to fold the stroller. :) I have my massive overflowing full bag on my shoulder, Izrael and her blanket in my arms and I too have to fold this stroller. It's raining. Every single person passed us and lined up to get on the plane. Oh we just started laughing and talked about how great of a blog post this would make. We finally are done. Taizi is still crying. We get on the stairs and ONE man. A young businessman who is the second last person in line, tells us to go in front of him. Thank you sir. Thank you.
We were the very last row in the plane. My heart was pounding. I don't know where this fear of flying came from but it's controlling me. It's winning. And it's sad.
I do believe fear is sin...simply because Jesus says over and over and over in the Bible to 'not fear'. I don't accept it as who I am...I'm just apparently not controlling it. At all. :( It was so bad that I started crying and the flight was perfectly smooth. To say I hate flying would be such a gross understatement. I hate it. Dislike it with a passion. And lately...feel a huge sense of panic when they close the doors on that plane. :( Well it was a 2 hour flight and at some point we hit turbulence. I'll speak for me...it was hands down the worse turbulence I've ever experienced. It didn't last too long but it was dropping, moving side to side and shaking and I completely panicked. I felt every bit of blood go from my face. I don't know how I stayed sitting b/c I do think at one point I started to pass out. I'm holding Izrael on my lap all this while and sitting beside Azlan. Izrael is so sad that I'm crying that she's constantly patting my back saying "sorry mama sorry mama' it was so sad.
We had 2 bouts of turbulence that Dean estimates lasted 5 minutes total. Longest 5 minutes ever. I just started reciting Bible verses that I had memorized. Psalm 69. Isaiah 53. Jonah 2. John 3. 1 John 3. The rest of the flight and landing was perfect.
I don't find it easy to sit here and tell you what happened. But it's the truth. And it's a very real struggle for me that I need to surrender. I try...but I'm trying too hard and surrender is NOT trying. I kept thinking of my sweet friend Char and how she hates flying and goes to Haiti several times a year b/c her mission trumps her fear. Then my mind went to Jesus in the boat. His disciples thought they were dead and his response upon waking was "oh ye of little faith" and I read it and think 'yah but Jesus was in their boat..!!'. Their shock as they saw even the wind and seas obeyed this man.
There was a seat in my row empty (had to be for oxygen masks) and I looked over and imagined Jesus sitting there. Looking at me with piercing eyes saying "Janice...oh you of little faith. Don't you know who is in this airplane...?"
This line up started for the bathroom. Like a crazy line. Well apparently one man was taking too long and so a man in the line (3 people back) starts knocking and knocking on the bathroom door. Finally the man came out and oh my goodness. He raised his fist to hit and a man and woman calmed him down. Well he wasn't done. This began a verbal fight that was crazy! What in the world was he saying for so long about something so silly? He was sitting right in front of Dean so we were watching the whole thing. Nevermind...the entire plane was turned around watching. We couldn't help but be embarrassed for him! He went on and on and I mean he was mad! The steward had to keep coming back and took forever to calm him. FInally it ended with handshakes.
Honestly it's very funny now. But in my state of get-me-out-of-this-metal-tube-with-a-million-strangers-that-dont-speak-my-language...it only added to that feeling.
We arrived in Guangzhou and were met by Florida heat and humidity! Crazy!! Izrael was sleeping and has been sleeping ever since. Azlan fell asleep in the van ride and...like a trooper...got up and walked til Daddy carried him. Meanwhile he was so out of it. Taizi was acting very traumatized in the van. We began to connect that the last time he was in a van ride ... was the orphanage visit.
The most amazing thing is how Dean is so connected with this precious little boy. Dean said to me on the van ride "it's the biggest thrill for me to be able to calm him and watch his progress". God has done amazing things in his heart. Taizi totally calmed with Daddy and rested in his arms the rest of the way. :)
Our hotel is 5 star. As in...5 star. All the way. We were blown away. Guangzhou itself is very different from Shanghai and Nanjing. It looks like Florida. The highways, the buildings, it's very very westernized.
They had 3 cribs in our room...each with a free panda inside. Azlan is sleeping on the floor in a very comfy bed. Taizi is right beside him in his crib. Izrael's crib is in our room only b/c she's been waking at night. We have a 2 room suite and are paying the same price as we paid in Nanjing for that tiny tiny room! 13 days will be enjoyed here.
Ok. I'm tired. But I committed to writing every day and so I hope you've chuckled a few times at our crazy day.
Our guide told us there's no medical appt on Saturday..that's next week. Don't even mention how we could have taken the train !!! No it wasn't a bullet train...and no I don't think I would have cared :) Remember how much I love flying...
I went to see Taizi in his crib and he's laying on top of his blue elephant the kids bought him. Amazing how a child can live 3.5 years with no attachment to anything and in 5 days be totally attached to his blankey and his stuffed toy!
Good night friend.