Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm in Zhengzhou!!! One more day!!

So I am here - in the place where I will get Josh! Very nice hotel and the trip here was pretty easy. 20 Americans trying to get from one place to the other was quite interesting....funny....but all in all - we got here safe and sound.

After we checked in, the guide took us to a bank to get our money exchanged for our payments over the next 5 days. The bank was such an interesting place. Kind of like the us post office, but a little more scary! Wow....this has been quite an experience already and I have barely started!

So we have the night to do what we want and tomorrow I meet in the lobby at 2:15 my time. I am 13 hours ahead of you, so about 1:15 in the morning for you all on Sunday. That is when they will take me to get Josh. I will receive him and then head off to a place to have his picture taken to start his passport process. That will take 5 days and some more paperwork to accomplish and then we can leave to go to the next stop to have the US embassy finish out our process. We had thought we would get Josh in the AM tomorrow, but it looks like 1/2 of the people get their children in the Am and I am in the afternoon group to go! Whatever...at this point...I have waited this long...another few hours won't kill me!

Yeah....ok...so my night was quite an experience. I decide that I am going to take a cab to a local buying center so that I can get Josh a few toys and maybe some sweat pants and a few thing for myself? Hmmm...so I go down stairs and the front desk writes where I want to go on a piece of paper and also the place I am staying...all in Chinese Characters...so that I can hand it to the driver so he can get me there and then I can hand it to him again on the way back to assure I get home. SEems easy enough? Right?

I get in the cab just fine and the shopping center is much farther away than I had expected. The cab driver gets me there alive after almost running over about 10 pedestrians and 5 bike riders like squirrls.....and he drops me off right in the middle the busy street. He just stops the cab and says - ok! and that meant hand me the money and get out quick!!! So I jump out and start running...I almost get run over myself.... running in front of cars and buses, and bikes ...in order to get across the street. But I make it.

I walk into the shopping center. And there are so many people I can hardly find a square inch to fit into. I find my way to the toy section and pick out the toys I want to buy. Aa lady comes to me and starts yelling in Chinese....have no idea what she was saying. She takes the toys from me and starts pointing in a direction. I try and communicate that I am not sure what she is saying but I do want to buy the toys. I get out money...and she keeps yelling. So I put the stuff down and then try and hand her the money again? nothing...she is still mad and I just don't know what to do. I see other people picking things up and giving money to other ladies...but she is not taking my money? So I just say forget it? I then head to the grocery section. The lines are so long that it will take me at least an hour to buy some fruit for Josh? Yeah...need to get the heck out of this place.

I am the only American in the whole building and there are thousands of people all around me. Everyone yelling and buying...but I realize that I am out of my league here and I just need to get back to the hotel. So after 20 min I find my way to the door. I get outside and realize that getting a cab home will be much more of a challenge because I am not in front of a hotel with a nice bell boy to help me. I try one corner and after 15 min, no cab. So I cross the street again...danger all the way...dodging people and bikes and cars.....

Now I am situated at another corner..and no cab? All of a sudden I see a cab that is driving in the middle of the street and it had no peopele in the back. That was my cab darn it...so I run into the moving traffic...running along side of the moving cab....holding out money....yelling...I NEED A RIDE!! the guy stops....sort of.....I open the door and jump in. This all took approximately one full block of running WITH the traffic to keep up with him. I give him the card and sure enough...I am back in the hotel! Aghhhh...I am never leaving again. I have had no dinner, got not shopping done...and cant' even tell you why I thought this was a good idea. I don't care what food costs in this hotel...I swear....I am never leaving again...when I am not with my group!

I just got off the phone with room service and I have a very expensive piece of chicken coming to my room in 20 min! Yeah!!! I need food...and I need sleep! ha ha ha....Oh my....I am soo appreciating the ability to just go to Walmart and pick up a toy to buy? How will I ever get a toy for Josh? I hope a guide will help me later this week or maybe another family that somehow was able to master the system?

And one more story from my shopping center expereince this evening. While I was still in the store, I had to ride from floor to floor in a people mover. When I first got on, there was a family in front of me that had a little girl with them She was about 1. She was very interested in me and kept smiling and waving to me. So I waved back. And at that point, about 20 people all came around me....standing and smiling....one lady started touching my hair. And the mom held out the little girl as if she wanted me to hold her? I of course said no, but I waved back to her and smiled and made a silly face. she laughed back at me. Just then the people mover came to a and and I quick walked away! The kid was cute and the people were nice, but what the heck was all of that? So crazy! It was at that point that I headed to the open door and started the cab finding situation that I just described!

All the words on the buildings are written in English...but no one understands English here. No one is American. I don't expect people here to talk english any more than I expect people in ferenandina beach to speak Mandarin....but In Beijing, there were some Americans...No all over...but you could always find one or two no matter where we were. You could find people there that spoke english pretty easy. It was very obvious to me tonight that we are just in a different kind of place now!! I learned a valuable lesson tonight and I will not make those mistakes again!!! I wonder how everyone Else's night went? I can't wait to hear tomorrow. Not sure I will share my evening with the general public? They may think I am just a whimp that could not handle her first day out in the big city! And they would probaby be right! This one, however, can just stay here on blog land for friends and family to read! ha ha ha

This whole traveling alone thing is REALLY sucking tonight. ha ha ha ha!! Oh well...all worth it! So I'll have the real goods tomorrow when I post photos of Josh. I know one of the guides will take photos for me. THey seem very nice.

I have attached a few photos of our trip here and the hotel that I am in.

Aghhh....my anxiety is so high...I cant' wait to go to sleep so that tomorrow comes!!! More soon! I love you all so much! Thank you again for your awesome notes! Still no word as to when/if we can go to the orphanage! I'll keep you posted!!

And by the way...this is the best darn chicken I have ever eaten!!!







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15 comments:

Catherine said...

Om my goodness. I am in stitches reading your blog entry about ZZ! By now you may have even received Josh. I am so excited for you. Your guide will take the whole group to a store they call "similar to Walmart" and very much as you described, but it will be easier with the group. In the store you have to get a salesperson to write you a ticket for your item. Then you leave the item and bring your ticket to a cashier, then go back and bring your receipt to the original salesperson so you can pick up your item. And this is a separate process for each and every item! I found it mind-boggling. (Groceries are a different process, but also s-l-o-w. They wouldn't take our credit card for food and we couldn't find our guide so we and that cashier just stood around for 20 minutes not understanding anything the other was saying. Ha-ha!

Don't bother looking for food outside the hotel. You'll see that the food is excellent at the Crowne and they have several restaurants. Check out the Chinese one. They have fish swimming under the glass floor! Also, the Holiday Inn next door has great noodles, a specialty of Henan.

Can't wait to see that gorgeous smile of Josh's again! Love, Cath

Susan said...

Renee- I am reaching across the miles and giving you a great big hug! You are doing fine! Josh doesn't need a toy- he needs you! Remember- he may never have seen the outside of a white-walled orphanage before. My Nathan didn't even know what to do with a toy. He had never had someone talk to him or even try to make eye contact with him. There will be plenty of time to get toys once your at the White Swan. What Josh needs is a calm, confident, very patient and relaxed mother- and that's YOU!!! A small bag of chips is a great ice breaker- or your keys- or a soft piece of cloth. He will have already been in a car for several hours (very overstimulating), dragged into a hot overcrowded room full of strangers and flashing cameras and screaming babies (need I say more). Ask your guide to take some members of the group shopping, if you really need to. He will probably show up in a brand new outfit anyway- and any sweat pants you would have found would have been split-pants (eew!). You are so close. Try to rest and know that you have a great crowd of folks right here cheering you on.

proudmom said...

I can only imagine what you are doing right now....have you let go of Josh yet? I cannot wait for the next set of pictures. Welcome to the Mongold family, Josh.

Erica said...

Oh girl...I am laughing and crying knowing right now you have the precious son of yours! Give him a million hugs and soak in the moments. You have waited so long for this...and it has finally come! LOVE LOVE LOVE TO YOU! And, Steve, congratulations on your new son! We love you too!

shunter1019 said...

WAIT...I'm confused. You don't have Josh yet, do you? You won't get him until 9PM OUR TIME, right!?!?! I can't wait to see him. I love you and am cracking up at your story. I seriously could picture you. May said that China is like a game of Frogger- I guess ur the frog :) Don't forget that Keny is planning on taking you to do lots of things and I'm sure could get you to a place to easily get toys when you get to GZ. She is excited to meet you- she is a VP at Addidas in China and has lived there for sometime, so I know she will take care of you.
Love u babe- OH and check out comments on last blog-I haven't yet but Donna was going to try and post you a message :) Love yoU!

Erica said...

By the way, YOU ARE A ROCK STAR doing this alone...although I know Steve would have given up just about anything to go with you. We are celebrating with you today...making a cake for Josh :) We will send some pics to you on the blog....

Dianne said...

What a wonderful blog! I'm laughing out loud, and you're such a trooper! I'm shaking knowing you have Josh at this moment in time. Blessings on you, Josh, Stephen, Ben, Kyle, and Will. Please give Josh extra hugs from Bob and me. Sending our love your way, Dianne and Bob

lyss23 said...

you are kicking ass girl! we love you and the kids are doing great! they can't wait for you and josh to come home! Love to you, and hang in there, you are doing great!

reillymb said...

OMG your killing me with your stories! I could only see you running down the street chasing a cab! I was laughing so hard when I read it. I couldn't imagine being there and having such a communication barrier! Yah soo close to Josh! Good luck love ya
Mb

Mandie said...

You should be so proud of yourself. The trip is a hard confusing trip and you are taking it all in stride and finding humor in it. I hope you had a good nights rest. Can't wait to see pictures of Josh and hear about your meeting.

Mandie

reillymb said...

OMG your killing me with your stories! I could only see you running down the street chasing a cab! I was laughing so hard when I read it. I couldn't imagine being there and having such a communication barrier! Yah soo close to Josh! Good luck love ya
Mb

shunter1019 said...

Hey girl!
I know this is ridiculous to write because logically, I know it is only 6am Monday where you are and hopefully you are sleeping well. However, I felt the need to write, AGAIN!!! Only like 7 more hours until you have Josh. I can't believe it is so close!!YAHOO!!!!! I can't wait to hear how he reacts, what he does, how sweet that personality of his has to be to match that adorable face. I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait.......If I feel this way, I can't imagine how overwhelmed with anticipation you must be! Here's to just hours away from Josh!!!!! HUGS, Shelli

Johnny Carr said...

Renee,

My name is Johnny Carr. We have a son from Kaifeng and a daughter from Jiaozuo (both in Henan). I came across your blog from a Zhengzhou search. I have been at that hotel 5 times in the past couple of years. It is the best in ZZ. If you see a waitress named Doreen, please tell her the couple from the states that adopted the 2 deaf children sends our regards. A couple of questions and tips (if you want them)...

Which orphanage are you adopting from? If it is Kaifeng or Jiaozuo, we would love to get a message to them telling them our children are doing great.

I'm sure the staff there will tell you, but there is a McDonald's about 1 mile up the street (to the left looking out from the hotel). Too far to walk, but an "easy" cab ride.

Just down the street to the right is a huge park. It is about 6 or 7 blocks and then across the street. It is a nice walk and we have always felt safe walking down there (especially if you have a group of people). There isn't a playground but the kids can run a play there.

Next door to you is the Holiday Inn Express. If you walk straight out and down the street that intersects in front of that hotel, about 3 shops down on the right is a great place to eat. It is chinese but is super cheap and great food. They have an upstairs that they will put the "foreigners" but again, is a great place for a large group.

I am sure that someone in your group has been in touch with the Williams family that lives there in ZZ. They will also be a great resource to your group if you need anything. If no one has been in contact with them, I will be happy to give you their info if you guys need it.

We have a lot of great memories in that hotel - and you are about to make some as well!

Enjoy!

Johnny

LoveBKW said...

Hey Johnny!! When I read your comment at first I was thinking that you were my cousin! My maiden name is Carr and my cousin john and his wife live very near me in Florida!

What a nice message and very very helpful. I was thinking I wanted to do McDonalds for lunch, but had no idea if I needed a cab or not...and then I got your message!! What an angel you are.

I am adopting from Xinyang and I do not think there is anyone in our group adopting from the places your children are from, but I will put the names on paper and make sure when I see everyone at breakfast. We have 11 families with us - largest group that our tour guide has had. It is crazy, but fun!!

I promise you, if that waitress is here...I"ll find her and tell you that you send her good wishes! I promise!!!

And I will certainly try that restaurant right up the street! This is a beautiful hotel! Very warm and so friendly! I am so happy to be here and so happy to get our littleman today! Thank you again for your kind words!! I'll keep in touch! Send an e-mail address if you feel comfortabel doing that!! Renee

Johnny Carr said...

Renee - my email address is pcola_johnnycarr@yahoo.com and my wife's name is Beth and her email address is bcarr91@yahoo.com.

Click on my name at the top of this message and you will see our family blog.

What agency are you guys with?