Sunday, November 11, 2007
Back Home & a few pictures from the last day in China
We made it back in 1 piece & have been starting to slowly adjust to the time change. The 3 plane rides home weren't too bad, the worst part was going thru all of the security checkpoints in each country. There is not a whole lot of consistency in what can fly in each country & that was frustrating. Matt got his hand sanitizer confiscated in Tokyo after having gone thru several checkpoints previously (including Tokyo on the way to China).
Our last day in China consisted of getting an additional suitcase to haul all of the purchases we managed to accumulate, taking the oath of citizenship @ the US Consulate & the infamous Red Couch photo at the White Swan Hotel. The oath 'ceremony' at the consulate consisted of 85 families total with cranky kids that had waited for about 30 minutes only to take a total of 5 minutes to get instructions and take the actual oath. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside but there were several teary eyed parents. I think for us it was overwhelming to think that the final official step in the process was finally done & this was the ending of a 2 + year journey to get there.
Life at home has been going pretty well. We have both finally gotten over our colds & are starting to get back to normal in the digestive tract. Our last major hurdle is getting our body clocks (& Maddy's) on the right time zone. We are doing a little better each day, but I am thankful to still have a bit of time off to ease the transition. I have a lot of respect for those who have to return to work right away after this process. We are attaching a slide show of some pictures showing the red couch & other misc. photos.
Wow, our whirlwind tour of the orient is complete, we have our daughter and now real life begins again...managing the duties of everyday life are certainly more challenging with a munchkin added to the mix. Having jet lag and being sleep deprived doesn't help either.
I would like to share a few funny moments from the trip that we didn't post earlier due to the hoops we had to go through to post while in China. Our red couch experience was a bit comical, Maddy (the youngest of the girls in our group) did surprisingly well, she didn't cry at all. She even appeared to be comforting the more stressed of the group sitting around her, that was until we noticed that our darling little girl was in fact not comforting them, but was pinching them. I am beginning to think our little girl might me a bit mischievous. She certainly has been entertaining us with her funny faces, and her sound effects. Her cooing and laughing make it that much easier to get through the fussy times. I about died laughing the first time she made her "mad face" (see the photo's), or how well the smallest stacking cup, fits on her cute little ears and how she just kept playing with that little cup stuck to the side of her head...
Travel Tips: When in Beijing, beware of the English speaking art students. When walking outside your hotel, you will also be approached by DVD and sock peddlers. Be aware that sales tactics are very different in China. On several occasions I witnessed "sales personnel" chase down a perspective client, and grab them or use the merchandise in an intimidating fashion. On one occasion I witnessed a luggage sales person chasing a man in the basement of the silk market (Beijing) with a roller bag, or as I mentioned in a nearlier post I saw a poor man held at "sock-point" on the street near our hotel. Do yourself and your digestive tract a favor and avoid eating soups in China, which are most likely made with tap water and not brought to a boil (we learned this the hard way).
Well, its getting hard to keep my thoughts straight, and keep my eyes open, I'll post more later...