Bamboo Sprouts

Tomorrow we will celebrate two years with Levi and I will post all about our sweet boy.  Today, I am remembering China.  We just love China.  When we made the trip the first time, for our sweet Sophie, in 2003, I was indifferent about the trip.  The China part.  I just wanted that BABY.  But after going, we were in love love with China.  The people, the smells, the customs, the beauty, the differences.  We see China as a wonderful place, different than the United States, but no less wonderful.  I am now so thankful that China requires us to travel there for our kiddos because since we have fallen in love with China, we can pass that love on to our children. 

Today I am simply going to post some of my photos of China (2007).  During the anniversary times of our trips, I am naturally drawn to all things China.  Incense usually burning to remind me of the scents as we walk the streets and shops, one time I even painted my kitchen China red during this time.  Photos and artwork and jewelry from China.  And of course kiddos.  All things China speak to my heart, especially during the two times of year that we have made our three trips to China for a total of about 8 weeks in China. 

I hope you can see the beauty of both the beautiful and the real China, like I can.  I probably love the real China more.  They have beautiful parks with scenes of flowers and incredible beauty.  But life happens in these other areas and I love celebrating life.

Of course my very favorite pieces of China are my three treasures.  Isabella, Sophie and Levi in Guangzhou China May 2007.  I hope they always keep a love for their birthplace somewhere in their hearts.

The real GZ is NOT between the White Swan Hotel and Lucy’s Diner.  Most adoptive families stay on Shamian Island. (I dont really see how Shamian qualifies as an island – it’s not like we take a BOAT to get there. Rick promises that it does, though.) Shamian is where the US consulate used to be, and that’s where we get our children’s visas to come home.  It is not even close to being “real” China.  But the weirdest thing is that if you walk across the foot bridge, its a whole other world over there!  And it seems that most Americans DONT do this.  As a matter of fact, this is our third trip to GZ and this was our first time venturing over the bridge!  If you are traveling soon, I encourage you to take a walk.  And be brave…venture down the little alleys.  Its so interesting.  Especially if you are in GZ for your whole trip (ie: your kiddo is in Guangdong Province)!  It would be a shame to travel to China and only see Shamian Island.  I just wish I had taken MORE pix.  The little alleys are a bit tricky to navigate but the locals were friendly and its so interesting to see how people really live and work.

Here is some of what we saw.

A back alley street area with locals shopping and working and living

These beans are about 2 feet long!!  I just hadnt seen such big beans before.  LOL

I am always surprised at the combination of the old and new in China.

There was a very elderly woman who stopped to rub the cheeks of our children and smiled the warmest smile at each of them and at us.  I so wish I had taken her photo.  She oozed love and was obviously a lovely woman.  We were in a VERY narrow and poor alley where people lived where they worked.  I often hesitated to take a photo thinking it might offend but I should know by now that the Chinese people usually love being photographed and seem to see it as an honor.  I hope to be braver about it in the future.  Yep, I said in the future.  😉

I think this is a ridiculous tradition.  Isnt that bah-humbug of me?  LOL  The red couch at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou is famous to adopting families though.  The idea is to line up all the children in that adoption group on the red couch and take photos.  My children always holler and protest at this and I suppose this is why I find it ridiculous.  Here we have known these kids just a few days and we are supposed to stand by and let them cry while we photograph them?  And this time, we had NO travel group!  We traveled to Yunnan alone and then met up with other families who traveled to other provinces once we arrived in GZ and they sort of lumped us together and called us a group.  They were wonderful people so it had nothing at all to do with that.  But we werent a group.  And I wont torture my kiddos for these pix anymore.  LOL  Actually, I didnt torture Bella either.  We had tortured Sophie, as is evident in every photo taken that day and by the time we traveled for Bella, I was over it.  The first peep she made, I scooped her up and wisked her away from the red couch.  I have had guilt over this, and pangs of regret, as we dont have any famous red couch photos.  But she would have been screaming anyhow so what difference does it make.   Oh anyhow.  I thought maybe Levi would cooperate and not be tortured.  And he wasnt exactly tortured.  But not exactly thrilled either.  Usually just the kids are lined up but this is what we ended up with this time.

Now you have seen all kinds of pix of this kiddo laughing and all but here is what the red couch brings out in our kids.  LOL  Even sitting with his family!  🙂 Even Bella isnt over the trauma of the red couch photo.  😉

As a matter of fact, here is our “group” and the majority of us, and almost all of the kids, arent exactly looking our best.  I promise, we all look better then this.  LOL  Its that stupid couch.

You can see that someone is dying to do a monkey face and you know that I am begging her not to…

And then that someone notices that the other two seem willing to cooperate and this shocks her!

Now if you dont know Bella, you may be thinking I just caught her with her eyes closed, but I promise you this is not the case.  She is refusing to open her eyes for the photo!

And she adds a little pout just to be clear about it.

Levi just cant figure this girl out!  LOL

Even Sophie is trying to get her to cooperate but have I mentioned that this kid is STRONG WILLED…

And in the end I got nothin.  Except a rather cute blog entry I suppose!  But perfect photo aside, arent these just adorable kiddos??  Check out the matching cell phones in the pockets of their matching bibs.  LOL  Lucky mommy.

This is what its like to try to get a decent pic of all three kiddos…

So in the end, Bella sums up my feelings on this particular photoshoot and I throw in the towel…for now.  LOL