Category archives: Jiang Xi

Too Much Fun Too Little Time

Sorry to keep everyone on the edge of their seats but we’ve been going a mile a minute and haven’t had a lot of downtime to reflect. Right now we are in Hengfeng, Jiangxi Province (you can find it by searching on a map for Shangrao, Jiangxi, China) and heading back to Nanchang, the provincial capitol of Jiangxi.

We visited the orphanage (SWI) yesterday and far too many thoughts are bouncing around in each of our heads right now to put them down. We’ve been enjoying lots of good meals – so far our only casualty is Catherine who was brought low by a viral bug yesterday. We don’t think it was the food since we’ve all been eating the same local foods. Some are great and we are trying to figure out how to recreate them, and others well may be an acquired taste.

Unlike our last trip to China we don’t have the built in down-time that having an 11-month baby brings you. On our previous trip we’d take an afternoon nap each day and then be back in the hotel room by 7 or 8 pm each night. On this trip we’ve been out late each evening with little hanging out time – that wasn’t spent catching up on jet lag.
We are taking lots of pictures but uploading them is problematic to say the least. We’ll try to post more later this week. For now here are a few pictures from our time in Beijing.

The big trend right now in Beijing is for both men and women to wear barrettes with plastic sprouts and flowers on them.

The big trend right now in Beijing is for both men and women to wear barrettes with plastic sprouts and flowers on them.

The crowds are a bit overwhelming and what's really scary is this isn't seen as crowded.

The crowds are a bit overwhelming and what’s really scary is this isn’t seen as crowded.

 

Li Li and Poppy out for an early morning walk in the Hutong.

Li Li and Poppy out for an early morning walk in the Hutong.

 

Riding the bus was an adventure to say the least - for only 10 Yuan (about $1. 60) 5 adults and Li Li got to experience a classic part of Beijing life and get shouted out at with equanimity by the three bus staff.

Riding the bus was an adventure to say the least – for only 10 Yuan (about $1. 60) 5 adults and Li Li got to experience a classic part of Beijing life and get shouted out at with equanimity by the three bus staff.

Li Li and Rocky (the class raccoon) outside of the Forbidden City.

Li Li and Rocky (the class raccoon) outside of the Forbidden City.

Porcelain, Passport and visiting a village

Today was a big day.  First we went to a porcelain store which is what this province is famous for making.  It has been made here for thousands of years and has been traded to the west for at least 1000 years.  This was a very small stores stocked with porcelain-tea sets, vases, decorative plates, jewelry boxes, chopsticks, etc. Imagine numerous adults carrying small babies in all different ways through a store filled with breakable stuff.  It was quite an experience and not to be left out, we, of course, have numerous objects to carry on the plane.  Should be interesting but so far it is not as bad as returning from Spain with 4 boxes of pottery.  Let’s hope we don’t get to that point because we now have a baby to carry also which leaves Thom as a pack mule much of the time.

Our little girl does not want to miss out on anything, but I thankfully got her to fall asleep before we got on the bus and she managed a short nap through about half of the trip through the porcelain store.  She likes to fall asleep sideways if she is in your arms, which makes for an interesting experience negotiating your way down bus aisles or through narrow porcelain stores.  She is not a big grabber yet, so that makes things easier. 

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  I am still too cute  Kisses from Daddy

After the porcelain store, we headed to the passport office where we got her Chinese passport then we headed out to a village just outside of Nachang.  This is a typical village in the province and it has a lot of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren while the parents go to the cities to find jobs.  This village farms 2 different types of rice.  This is the kind of village that Lili might have come from so it was great to have the chance to visit and walk around.  Of course, we are the talk of the town and many people seemed to come out of their houses to greet us. You can see the changes going on in these villages, too.  There appeared to be a lot of building materials and some brand new construction.

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  Kids in the village Fishing boat

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  Crops   Family in village

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The correct bundling of a baby (and today was warm) A woman knitting while watching relatives fishing

After the village, we headed to another local restaurant where Lili proceeded to eat like her father, after she awoke from another nap.  The food was excellent.  Lili seems to be willing to eat most food although she spit out the banana twice this morning.  Fruit does not seem to be her thing although she has eaten any vegetable that we have tried since coming here.  She had some soup today also which she took quite well of the spoon.  I guess we are figuring out how to work together on the spoon thing because there are a number of things that cannot be fed with chopsticks. she does seem to be becoming hungrier.  Her appetite has increased at least two-fold since we first got her 5 days ago and we though she ate pretty well then.  I cannot believe it has been only 5 days.  It feels like she has been a part of our lives for much longer.  She seems to fit perfectly with us which is one of the most amazinig things.

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I’m learning to nap anywhere but always at a weird angle

After our afternoon naps (and I must emphasize that we all take a nap), we had some tummy time which she seemed to enjoy for the first time.  It is so much fun to watch her learn things.  She seems to be beginning to understand that things go into her hands and she can drop them out again but she still does not get the idea that she could feed herself with those hands but she does suck on her first 2 fingers of her right hand which brings back memories of her Uncle Jay as a child.  Today while she was on her tummy she would get somewhat frustrated so she would rest her head on the ground and suck on those 2 fingers for a couple of seconds and then go back to doing something.  It appears that she gets some sort of strength from that action.  Her Aunt Christine told me recently that she can remember how comforting it was to suck her thumb and for those children who do it it really seems to give them some kind of strength as it does for our baby.  It is not considered something that the babies should do here and she has had her fingers taken out of her mouth by people a couple of times which does not bother her in the least. She just gives them a look and sometimes puts her fingers right back in her mouth and other times just lets go.

We took a walk around Nachang before dinner.  It was a lot of fun.  The people are all very nice and although there is a lot of staring, I do not feel like it is rude.  We had one experience tonight where an old woman came up and started talking to us in Chinese which neither of us understood and when we indicated that we did not understand, she just started to talk more.  It was if she thought by talking more Chinese to us, we would finally understand what she said.  We drew quite a crowd but they seemed much more interested in watching the woman than looking at us which makes us wonder even more what she was saying.

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Nachang at dusk with Thom and Lili leaning against the anatomically correct elephants

At dinner, Lili again at a ton. We decided we would try the bath again and Thom had the idea of placing her in tub when it was empty.  Let us just say that that did not work.  She screamed hysterically again.  So tonight we tried a shower.  She screamed during that too but seemed to calm down a lot quicker. At this point, being clean is not her favorite thing.

Tomorrow is a free day for the most part, although there is a paperwork party for one parent in the morning then we are off to Guangzhou on Sunday.

The Pavillion

I think tonights blog entry will be relatively short although I do have a bunch of pictures to post but we’ll see how fast the internet connection is because I have never been really patient with waiting for things to upload.

We awoke to a laughing baby girl which was a lot of fun:

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Good morning  I wake up happy and laughing

We went to a pavillion whose name I cannot remember and as Thom has gone out for a beer with James I don’t think that the name will make the blog today.  It is one of the three most well known pavillions.  One of the other ones is in Hunan province.  It was built for a prince of the Teng dynasty who did not wish to become emperor.  I guess most of the princes tended to fight each other for that right but he enjoyed painting and other activities and had no desire to be that much in politics. 

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  Teng Pavillion

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Female lion  More pavillion

The pavillion was rebuilt in 1989 for the 29th time so it supposedly has 89 steps on the outside.  I did not feel any desire to confirm this number so I am just going to have to believe what I have been told.  There was a bell over on the left side which you could ring for good luck and a price which, of course, we did.  I have a picture of Thom with the incense after ringing the bell but unfortunately he has taken that camera with him on his beer quest.  Inside on one of the floors you can buy some coins to toss inside a metal urn.  If you get it inside the urn a voice says something in chinese and again it is good luck.  Thom managed to get a coin in on his 6th or 7th try.  I missed many times with the coin hitting the sides and popping out.  However, it is much harder to throw a coin when you have a baby attached to your front.

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 Mommy misses with last coin

We saw a show on the top floor of the pavillion.  There were a lot of other families there with newly adopted babies.  We met one couple from Colorado Springs.  We arrived to early for the performance so listened to the rehearsel which I found to be quite difficult on the ears although it did not seem to bother any of the babies.  However, the performance itself was very nice and relatively short.  You get some great views of the city of Nachang from the pavillion

lili-day4-jpg029-1.jpg Performance at top of pavillion

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  View of Nachang from Pavillion

Lili seems to be quite content to be awake as long as things are going on. Many of the other babies seem to fall asleep when we are out on excursions but not our daughter she wants to see all that can be seen.  Needless to say she fell asleep during lunch which was again at a local restaurant and again very good with some spicy food which is what the province is known for and the girls from here are often referred to as “Spicy girls” which is a line that Thom keeps saying with much gusto.  Lili will eat most food we try to give her. Lili slept all the way home on the bus and then went back to sleep when we got back to the room. 

Today, a tailor came to make outfits for the babies and the adults if they wanted anything.  Needless to say, Lili has a New Year’s outfit through her 3rd birthday.  I do not deny that we went overboard especially when you see Thom’s new jacket which is black with black dragons on it. I nixed the silk pants and he does not understand why but everyone else should be quite grateful.

Her personality continues to develop.  She can have her fussy periods which seem to be mainly when she is hungry and sleepy.  She is learning to sit up buy herself although she still forgets that when she leans to one side she need to use that arm to support herself but over the course of an hour or two she went from sitting with me supporting her for the most part to playing with her toys in a tripod sit.  It was nice to have a chance to just sit and play and bond today and Lili and I spent a lot of time doing that and I loved every minute of it.

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  Mommy and Lili at the pavillion resting

  Getting to know each other better

Tomorrow we are off to they passport office, the country and a porcelein place which is what Jiangxi province is know for so I am sure some more shopping will be done.

Walking in the neighborhood

No naked pictures today. Just some local flavor from yesterday. Lili and I getting ready to walk out the door.

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As Catherine mentioned we went to the park. It was full of families, artists and musicians.

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There is a single string instrument for traditional chinese music called the Hu ( or it could be lu) which multiple groups of people were playing and singing along with. Plus there was yet another food on a stick sighting. This time it was ornamental sugar in the shape of a shrimp.

instrument  sugarstick

Later in the day Lili and I went for a walk while Catherine tried to recover from some virus that was making her queasy and woozy. Everywhere we went we attracted stares and crowds much like this one. This is one of the families in our group with their own set of admirers.

Crowdfamily

As you can tell definitions of personal space are different everywhere you go. However no matter how many people crowd around you, they are curious and friendly even if you can’t understand what they are saying to you.

We attracted a crowd of about 30-40 women and children. I finally realized that the old ladies were grabbing lili’s hands to check if she was warm enough. They showed me this by having me touch the hands of this little girl whose hands felt like ice cubes. So while they were initially skeptical of how many layers Lili had on, they were very impressed by how warm her hands were and so they approved.

 

localgirl trashbike

I met a very chatty 70-year-old man who was a veteran of the Korean war, on the North Korean/Chinese side but also loved America because of our help fighting the Japanese during WWII . He basically said through a translator – “never always enemies, never always friends” I wished I knew what the Chinese words were for that thought because it’s pretty true. We chatted some more with the veteran and lots of other neighborhood residents. It really is a little neighborhood around the Hotel, complete with small markets, hanging laundry, chickens in the alleys, craftsmen making mortise and tenon furniture by hand and eye, and lots of sausages hanging out to dry. The three-wheeled vehicles/motorcycles are everywhere here and are the perfect methods of transporting loads too big to hand carry and too small for a big truck.

We had a very nice walk around the neighborhood before seeing this littel sunset scene which was a perfect close to the evening.

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We’ll post more pictures and stories from today’s travels. Including more pictures and stories. -t

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