Sunday, July 25, 2010

shopping, drinking and hoping in guangzhou city china

so in the past couple of days we've had some time to do a little shopping.  we've strolled in and out of  stores and around the markets. i am fascinated by it all.  i could easily stand and watch a duck being de-feathered or listen to a wizened old woman share with me (in rapid chinese) the details of her jade.  no matter, i am delighted. i love just shaking my head and making affirming noises.  i think we understand each other in some small way.   i am, however, driving my husband crazy.  i enjoy weaving from stall to stall, taking pictures and having funny conversations.  he follows me with bella in the stroller doing his best to act as body guard to us both.   he is 6'4...picture him in "the stance"... arms crossed,  shades on and shoulders back.  he is so not messing around.  he knows we are somewhat of a spectacle.  people are fascinated with the fact that,  A. we are americans, and B. we have a chinese daughter...oh, and C.  she sucks her fingers.  apparently sucking your fingers in china is a terrible offense.  we've had countless people try to tell us to make her stop.  several people have gotten down at her level and harshly said, NO!  or something like NO in chinese.   really, we have NO idea what they are telling her.  yesterday one woman kept following us around. she made a sour face and smacked her ear (not bella's ear - that would have been "go time" for body guard daddy).  she kept following us and smacking her own ear.  i had no idea what the ear had to do with it, but  i finally had to tell her in my sweetest american voice to get lost.  bella's lived two years in an orphanage. she's had no one to offer consistent comfort, nothing but her two fingers...if she wants to suck on them, she sure as heck can.  we'll deal with the ortho bills later. and besides, we find it kind of cute.   anyway, going out on the streets is always an adventure.  we are staying in this great hotel, but once you exit off its premesis, it truly is every man, woman and child for themselves.  i have never seen anything like it.  bangkok was busy and crazy, but the crowd seemed more respectful of one another.  new york city is congested and chaotic, but i am telling you the streets in guangzhou make nyc seem almost idyllic.  if you are not paying attention you could easily be plowed down by a pedestrian, a bicycle or vehicle - i use the term loosely.   it is wall to wall people and bumper to bumper cars.   yesterday we had to take a taxi to the medical clinic.  we could not go with our group because i had woken up with "travelers flu" (a whole other story, one that i'm NOT about to tell) and was just not able to get on the bus at 9:30 am with everyone else.   so we were on our own.  it was imperative that we get to the clinic before noon and have bella's TB test read.   our guide had written down on a piece of paper the address of the clinic and when it came time to go we handed it to the taxi driver.  what should have taken 20 minutes and cost 20 yen turned into a 50 minute and 50 yen trip.  it was the ride of a lifetime.  i already had a sick stomach, there was no air conditioning,  some loud clanging music was playing repeatedly, and the driver was weaving around cars and turning sharply in front of oncoming was the craziest thing ever. about 10  minutes into the trip  i realized the only way i was getting through this experience was to close my eyes.  of course there also are no car seats in china, i held bella on my lap and we were both a sweaty mess by the time we arrived at the clinic, 50 yen and 50 minutes later.  we were all pretty much  in need of the clinic by the time we arrived.
drink shopping at trust-mart
okay, i have to tell you also about the issues we've had getting bella to drink.  you know from the posts and the pictures (and the crazy dinner video) this girl never stops eating.  this is true.  we are amazed at her appetite.  but drinking has been entirely a different matter.   with her cough and cold the liquids are quite important.  we are in a climate with heat so intense it is easily to get zapped just sitting still.   however, bella has been quite resistant about what she will drink.  the nanny who handed her to us last monday said she liked a bottle first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  that worked for about one day...then she was done with her bottle (not entirely a bad thing at age 2).  but since then we've been working on every type of drink,  drinking device and drinking methodology known to man.  i mean it, barring alcohol, there is no liquid in all of guangzhou city which we haven't offered bella.  rick is the most adamant about getting her to drink. when he was offering her a milk yesterday i got up and left the room, i told him i couldn't stand to see him rejected one more time.   now, before any of you get too worried, she is getting enough.  we are monitoring all the signs...and have no reason for real alarm.  and yesterday we finally had a breakthrough.  i allowed miss independent pants the chance to pour her own water bottle into the cap of the bottle (looks like a little cup)...ooh she was delighted!  reminder for jody:  two year olds like everything to be a game. even their hydration needs.   uuugggh.....i knew that...but it has been a few years and i have to get back on my toddler game.   rick would probably also like me to tell you how he scoured the city and came up with a drink called gigi.  it is in a pouch and is sort of a jello-like substance...i like to refer to it as gelatinous gunk...but he is certain it is full of vitamins and minerals.   nonetheless, it has a picture of a young chinese rockstar on it...sort of a justin beiber looking young man.  i don't know if it is the rockstar influence or what, but bella seems to really like her gelatinous gunk.  our guides did assure us it was pretty much only fruit juice.    but between heading off to buy specialty drinks for bella and gatorade for me, rick has been earning his keep.  i wish you could see where he has been shopping as well, the local, "trust-mart."  it is a giant kind of wal-mart.  but think a little more rustic and lot more smelly.  next to the diaper aisle you are sure to find pickled duck feet and fish heads.  it is quite an adventure.  i try to send him at least once a day...he'll never again mind being asked to run in for milk at the publix back home.  seriously, it is fabulous.  i wish i could capture all the wonderful and terrible things that are a part of our experience.  even the stuff that is uncomfortable and is all good.  different, yes...but good.
one of the things we have been doing while we shop is collecting gifts which we will give bella each year at her gotcha day celebration.  we'd like to present her with something every year until she is 18 (i so stole this idea from my friend, anna)... today i picked out a pearl ring for her 16th birthday.   before you get really impressed with our shopping ahead for 18 years, please know we are only doing this because we are in china.  i can't shop ahead for anything anymore.  i tried to do that for a sounded so organized and well planned...but at 41 years of age, i can readily admit, i am too impetuous.  i find entirely too much pleasure in the heat of the moment type shopping - a character flaw, to be sure.  anyway, back to the pearl ring.  i looked at this ring and thought about her fingers at that age...i thought about her at that age.  we have possibly a long road ahead as we figure out bella's medical needs. but i can't wait to get home and tuck away this ring and the other precious items for our girl. it is a little bit like her hope chest.  and we do have great hope for our girl...great hope for her future.  it is exactly what our God promises.  "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  ~ jeremiah 29:11  it doesn't get any better than that.


Tina said...

Hi Jody and Rick,
It has been such a joy for me to pray for your pursuit of sweet Bella Grace. She is so blessed to be in your loving family. All your photos are just amazing.
My son, Jack is finishing up a 3week language program in Beijing. And John arrived last week on business. This morning they worshiped with the Hopwoods at their church.
I hope you're all feeling well and strong very soon. Jack dealt with a little traveler's issue too but bounced back okay.
You're all in our prayers - especially this morning as we head off to Perimeter.
With love and admiration, Tina :)

Aus said...

Good morning - what a great update! So glad that you are enjoying China - we really did - and are looking forward to going back one day with the girls. Shaimain Island - what 'touristy' was pleasant - but we really loved GZ proper - the secret to the traffic is simply 'show no fear' and they'll yeild for you. It was one of the safetest cities I think I've ever been in. Glad you found the Gigi - I was going to suggest it - it'll do! Finally - probably what the folks are saying to Bella over her fingers is "bu" (boo) or maybe "Bu Sho" (boo show). Bu is put in front of another word to mean the opposite of the word - alone it roughly translate into "no". Hope that helps a bit with teh understanding!

Thanks for letting us share your adventure - brings home lots of good memories!

hugs - aus and co.

Ashley said...

Hi Jody,
Have been following you guys and keeping you in my thoughts! Hoping to meet you when WE return from China. Gotcha on 8/2! Looks like Bella's doing great and am sure she'll start drinking soon enough. She can get fluids from her foods, as long as she's eating...
Congrats, she's absolutely beautiful!
Ashley Gruskin