Sunday, February 15, 2015

Getting ready for China!

From Kristen:

And so, the blog is open again.  It has been three years since we left it.  Miranda is now in second grade, a dedicated bookworm.  Phoebe is in first grade and just this month gave up sucking her thumb ("yay!" she says as I write this, a major accomplishment).   On March 7th, we are leaving for two weeks in China, our first trip back since we adopted Phoebe.  We will be traveling on our own, with the help of Lotus Travel who will make sure that each time we get off an airplane or train there is someone there to meet us and get us where we need to go.  We wanted a bit of slow travel, so will be staying in Guilin  ("the most beautiful place on Earth," according to our Chinese au pair) for almost a week, in a Chinese apartment rather than a hotel.  Then we'll visit Phoebe's orphanage and spent a few days touring her province, Jiangxi.  Those longer stays are sandwiched between one day in Chengdu to see the pandas in the beginning of the trip and one day in Beijing to see the Great Wall at the end.  And that's the trip.  Some day we'll do a big trip to visit every major tourist attraction we can, but not this time.  For now, we are more interested in strolling.

The excitement around here is tremendous.  The girls have come home with library books on China and have made countdown charts.  We've watched Big Bird in China and A Day in Pingwei.  We made a huge poster board map of our trip, and a slide show as a preview of what to expect.  Our biggest project now is putting together the photographs from families I have met online who also have children from Shangrao orphanage-- so far from Canada, Spain, Italy, and the U.S.-- into a book that we can present to the director the orphanage.  We've fill prescriptions for traveler's diarrhea, found someone to shovel our snow, and scored a foster home for our cat.  We are about ready!

And now, I'll hand it over to the girls for the perspective from an almost 7 year old about to visit the country of her birth and her 7 year old sister.

From Phoebe:

We are going to China on March 7.  We are going to China to visit my foster family because I really  miss them and I really want to see them again.  I haven't seen them since I was a baby.  I want to say "Thank you for taking care of me when I was a baby."  I do not remember them.

We are going on one flight that takes 14 hours to get to China, and that one is after we take a 6 hour airplane.  We have to take many airplanes, but I like riding on airplanes because I can see the clouds below me from the window.  We are going to watch movies on the airplanes.

I've been studying Chinese for four or five years.  When I was in kindergarten my teachers Yen and Sandra helped me to learn Chinese.  Now I'm a little better and I can speak a little more than Nihao and Zaijan.  I am a little nervous to speak Chinese to other people because I am shy to other people that I don't know very well and I just met.  I know how to say a lot of words.  This year I'm going to go to Chinese class and learn more!

We have done everything to get ready.  My mom did the work when I was asleep.  She is preparing to go to China.  My mom ordered a new big map for us to follow through China because we don't know a lot about China, but we are going to learn about the Chinese people who live there.  And we made a slide show.  The airplane rides are on the slide show.  If you want to see it, you can come to our house and we can show it to you.  We are just thinking about how it's probably going to be but we are not sure what it's really going to be like in the end.

I'm a little scared about new people, so I'm going to wear a tag  that says "I only know a little Chinese" and the tag is going to say the words in Chinese instead of English.  When Chinese people think I know a lot of Chinese so they try to talk to me, I'll show my tag and then they'll say "Oh, sorry!"  Then they'll understand that I do not speak a lot of Chinese.

I'm not really sure about squatter toilets, but I am excited to see my foster family for sure!  And also I'm going to see pandas.  Isn't that awesome?

From Miranda:

We going to China because it's Phoebe's birth country.  We get to see the pandas, and hopefully hold the pandas.  But we heard that the little pandas are a little sick right now and we can't hold them until further notice.

We have gone to the mall and we got shoes and a suitcase.  Shoes for me, shoes for Phoebe, and shoes for Dad.  We are making a Ling babies book, and we asked people who have adopted Ling Babies from China to send us pictures of their kids and how they've grown.  We are putting them into one book so we can give it to the foster families and the nannies at the orphanage.  I think they will feel happy and sad to see it-- happy because they get to see pictures of their babies again, and sad because their babies have grown up into kids and don't look familiar anymore.

On the airplane I will read, watch movies, and listen to the airplane.

The map is very detailed.  We pinpointed every place we are going.  I had the idea of using colored string to represent transportation methods.  We picked yellow string for the airplane, red string for the train, and white string for the car.From here to San Francisco, then to Chengdu.  After that, we fly to Guilin and stay there for a week.  Then we go to Shangrao, because that's where Phoebe was born.  At the end of our trip we will visit the Great Wall and maybe climb it.

The first day of pre-K I felt tiny because compared to the kindergartners I WAS tiny.  I didn't really have friends in that class.  It reminds me of going China because besides my family I won't know anybody there.  By the time I was in kindergarten I had a lot more friends.  I think what I'm trying to say is that new experiences can be scary but I'm ready for it.  This trip to China is going to be great!