Thursday, January 27, 2005

We have lift-off!

We depart Thursday, February 17 and return Friday, March 4. We're flying in to Shanghai and out from Hong Kong. Of course, I've focused all my "tourist reading" on Beijing, Nanchang, and Guangzhou. Back to the books to discover the delights of Shanghai. I do know it's the fashion capital of China and no, that's not an oxymoron. At least I'll be able to say I've been deeply un-trendy on three continents.

Another step closer

Our appointment at the American consulate is March 2. No, that doesn't mean we're going to travel then. Going to the consulate is the last step before bringing the children to the United States, so we will have completed our journey by then and will be ready to head for home the next morning (March 3), unless there is an unforeseen glitch. (Are there ever any foreseen glitches?)What this actually means is that we're still on track to travel on or about February 16. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

One step closer

Our permission to travel has arrived from the Chinese government. Now we're
waiting for an appointment date and time from the American consulate in
Guangzhou before getting our tickets and boarding the plane. Notice how I'm
refraining from making snide comments comparing bureaucratic systems?

Saturday, January 22, 2005


Those of you who know me well won't be surprised to know that I've been reading
somewhat obessively about China, adoption issues, and toddler development over
the past eighteen months. In fact, John has already reminded me that Chloe
will be our daughter and not a research project. Aside from the purely
informational reading, I've delved in to several enjoyable novels and memoirs
about Chinese history and culture. (Okay, I tried to read actual Chinese
history, but it is really, really long and complicated. I'm still trying to
straighten out the Qin dynasty from the Qing dynasty.)

For anyone interested in China and a good read, here are my recommendations to
date, in no particular order:

Waiting (novel)
by Ha Jin
Politics and a most unusual love story intermingle in a Red Army unit.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamtress (novel)
by Dai Sijie
When two "intellectuals" who have been sent to a peasant village for
"re-education" introduce a local girl to the forbidden pleasures of Western
literature, they learn a painful lesson about the human heart.

Typical American (novel)
by Gish Jin
Chinese immigrants in the 1950s searching for the American Dream. Only some of
what glitters is indeed gold.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (memoir)
by Jung Chang
From concubine to revolutionary the women of the Chang family display
remarkable courage in surviving changes in Chinese society.

Riding the Iron Rooster (memoir)
by Paul Theroux
China by rail in the late 1980s. Some truly hysterical descriptions of places,
people, and customs.

Wuhu Diary: On Taking My Daughter Back to Her Hometown in China (memoir)
by Emily Prager
An American mother and her adopted daughter journey back to China to learn of
the daughter's early life.

The following are all suitable for kids 10 and up:

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution (memoir)
by Ji-li Jiang
The Cultural Revolution as seen through the eyes of an adolescent who was
forced to turn against her "stinking bourgeois" family.

Ties That Bind, Ties That Break (novel)
by Lensey Namioka
At the turn of the 20th century bound feet were still in fashion throughout
China, but some young girls were rebelling against this custom.

Confucius: The Golden Rule (biography)
by Russell Freedman
A simplified biography with many quotes from The Analects cleverly woven into
the text.

Still no travel date. The stack of books at my bedside continues to grow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Travel dates?

At our second travel meeting last night, Bob said he is 85% sure that we'll
travel on Wednesday, February 16 and return on Thursday, March 3. He's 100%
sure we'll start in Beijing. (Sometimes groups fly to Hong Kong first.) Sadly,
he's also 100% sure that we won't travel before Chinese New Year (February 9),
so the tentative January 26 date has been stricken from our calendar. Sigh.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Painting, packing, and being patient

The wait for Chloƫ continues. Our signed acceptance letter is in China and we should receive our invitation to travel in about 10 days. We had our first travel meeting last night, which included a short, tentative itinerary and looooong list of what to pack. At best, we might fly out of O'Hare on January 26, with a huge emphasis on "might." A more likely travel date is February 16, after Chinese New Year. The travel group consists of seven spousal teams and one brave single mom with traveling-companion sister. Leading us on our trip will be "benevolent dictator" Bob McNeill who set up the Sunny Ridge program 11 years ago. This will be his 34th trip to China, so we're thinking we can trust his recommendations on everything from menu items to avoiding cultural faux pas.

We are limited to 40lbs of luggage per adult for the internal flights in China. After gathering everything recommended to make Chloƫ comfortable, we'll have room for about two pairs of thin socks. And all the families currently blogging their progress in China say Beijing is "cold," "very cold," "freezing cold," "bitterly cold." Their perceptions are probably influenced by their lack of thick socks.

In the meantime, I paint. I paint walls (Potpourri Green), I paint trim (Subtle White), I paint whimsical designs on furniture (daisies and ladybugs). Sometimes I paint myself. Gomer has thus far avoided contact with my ever-present paintbrush.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?