Ni Hao!! (Hello) from China! Only 4 more days until we meet our little girl. In the mean time, they sure have been keeping us busy. Saturday we met 6 of the 8 families we are traveling with, 2 of them chose not to tour Beijing. They all are really neat families and we all have made fast friends. Usually when adopting from China, you expect to adopt a girl. However, our group only has 3 girls out of the 6 and all three of them will be named Hannah. We have several families who are becoming first time parents and several who adding to their families. One of the families has 3 grown and married children and 3 grandchildren. They adopted a Chinese girl 3 years ago and are here to take home a little boy this time. After our orientation, we had several hours just to walk around the city. Beijing is huge with millions of people living here. It is crowded everywhere you go. On the streets there are no rules. Cars and bikes travel the same roads, with just about equal numbers of each and pedestians do not have the right of way. On one block you have beautiful high rise buildings and on the next block, very poor apartment buildings standing one right after the other. There are very few single family homes. During our exploration, we found a pizza hut and had lunch there. It tasted very similair to home. It was nice to find this pizza hut, because the smells on the street will nauseate you and make the chinese restaraunts very unappealing. In the evening we all came together again and attended an acrobatic show. The show was unbelievable. The performers appeared to be teenagers and young adults. They say these kids have been trained since they were 2-3 years old. I believe it because the tricks they performed were beyond belief. After returning to the hotel, Brian and I ventured out to find a McDonalds. As see, we have been very adventurous with our meals. At this point we were exhausted and could not wait to get into bed. Our bed is less than comfortable, it is so hard it is like laying on a board, but we are so tired we sleep very well until 3-4 am; then we are wide awake. Most of the families are finding this true as well. As soon as we get use to this time change, it will be time to come home and we will be all messed up again.
Today, we met in the lobby to travel to the Great Wall. We took many, many pictures here. It was very beautiful , but it was hard to believe we were really there. This is something you only see in the history books. Today being Sunday, it was very crowded and got a little scarry at times, being pushed around in the crowds. In the city the Chinese are use to seeing Americans, but at the great wall, many of these people are from the country. Needless to say, we were also an attraction. At one time, this Chinese woman came up to me and grabbed my arm. I was a litlle alarmed at first , but all she wanted was to take a picture with me. She put her arm thru my arm and smiled really big. The woman in our group experienced another first at the Great Wall. We needed to use the restroom and soon discovered they were not Americanized toilets. Yes, we had to try out the squatty potties. Let me tell you, this was an experience. We did know if we needed to face forwards or backwards and were a little nervous that our clothing was situated correctly, but we all came out a okay! After the Great Wall, we were off to the Cloisonne Factory. Again, another unbelieveable place. This is a government owed factory that makes pottery out of copper. There are 32 steps that each piece goes thru to become a finished product. These are very expensive pieces that are made for Royalty and not sold to the public. The do have a store for foreign tourist (pieces that have small blemishes). The woman could have shopped all day and I think the men enjoyed it too. Next we were off to visit the Olympic village. We did not get out of our bus, but took pictures. It's just kinda neat to say we've been there. Finally, we came back to our hotel and ventured out around the corner to an open air market. I di dnot take my camera here, but sure wish I would have. There was a booth for everything imaginable here. We did find some very neat and unique items, but the best part was bartering for a price. Brian really got into this part of the shopping. Finally we are back in our room(doing a little laundry in the sink) and preparing for bed and another full day tomarrow. We are enjoying our journey very much, but miss our boys alot. I can honestly say that is the hardest part of this trip. We love you Noah and Caleb!!