One place we really noticed the lack of foreigners was on Shamian Island. In the early 2000's, this island with a strong European feel, was hopping with shops and hotels that catered to the adoption population. We did not stay there either trip, but we did shop there. Well this time we stayed there, and in our time we only saw one other western family. Our hotel, which is still one of two well known ones on the island, was musty and not seemingly busy. However, we still enjoyed walking around the island. We were happy to see that it was bustling with Chinese people, and is still a very beautiful and meticulous place to visit. There were only a couple shops that still had a touristy feel, and oh yeah, Starbucks moved in. It was a beautiful store front though, that fit right in with the theme of the island.
|Catholic Church on island|
|Found a turtle. You can gauge humidity by this little girls' hair!|
|Adoptive families know of the White Swan and the red couches. We visited the beautiful lobby, but no more red couches.|
|Love the Banyan trees on the island.|
|Saw more than one wedding photo shoot on the island.|
|Family photo in the lobby to the government archive building.|
We arrived at the orphanage, which had more buildings in the neighborhood than I remember from 12 years ago. We were greeted by a familiar looking face. I flipped through the photo album I brought, I stopped on the photo of the sweet young lady who brought Kaia to us. When I showed it to her (Min), she nodded that yes, this was her. She also informed us that she was the one who named Kaia. Not sure whether or not this was intentional, but it was special for us to meet her again.
|Kaia has changed a lot; Min, not so much!|
|Where Kaia slept her first 8.5 months.|
|Kaia and the director.|
|Look at the proud smile on Kaia's face.|
When we adopted Kaia, we were told that the paperwork said her finding place was an Industrial Garden (factory). A couple years later we hired someone to take photos of her finding place. We were told that the interpretation was a flower shop that didn't exist anymore, so our money was returned. So through the help of our guide Daniel, and Min, we found that both interpretations were correct. So following a few minutes of the two chatting and looking at
|Phoning her relatives, the owners of the nursery|
|Walking the grounds.|
|My sweet girl.|
|Forgot the selfie stick!|
|Distant apartment buildings enveloping the nursery.|
Over the meal, Daniel interpreted as we asked questions back and forth with Min, and the photographer who accompanied us to the meal. One sweet observation she made was that when we adopted in 2004 and 2006, the majority of adoptions were of "healthy" babies, yet she noticed we had chosen special needs adoptions. She was surprised by this, but letting us know that she thought highly of us. At that point, Daniel told us that the worker at the archives office made the same comment about us. We explained that this was something God put on our hearts, and that we all have something unique about us, and that it is what is on the inside that is most important. We also told them that we receive from the girls as much as we give; it's a win-win. This is a major reason why I keep returning to China. Some major cultural shifts need to take place, and I believe they are, even if slowly.
That day was a lot to absorb. We spent the evening strolling around the area near our hotel, and called it an early night. And although I didn't think I would find one, we actually happened upon a Starbucks that had a Foshan mug for my collection! We also found these micro Mc'D's. We passed several along the way, and they just sell ice cream from these walk-up windows. Jaelyn just had to try a McFlurry in a box!
The next morning we headed out early to two local historical sites, Liangs' Garden and the Foshan Ancestral Temple. Both were lovely, but admittedly we tried to hang out in the shaded areas!
|Jack fruit tree|
|She's literally fishing out the money that had been thrown in to the turtles the previous day. Not sure exactly what the snake and turtle represent, but the Chinese are very superstitious. Note the real turtles to the left.|
|Remember when I said Foshan was the modern capital of Kung Fu? When at the temple, we got to watch young men and women perform from a local school.|
|These poor boys in these costumes; it was so humid! They actually jumped around on the green polls in the background too. Quite impressive balance. Many people placed money inside the lions mouth, guessing again, for luck or prosperity.|
We rode the Subway back, followed by our almost nightly ice cream bar (wish I took a photo of it; so tasty, and only 3-5 yuan each), then back to our joining rooms, as we say goodbye to southern China in the morning, and head far north.