29 March, 2011

A sign of things to come

It's Cody posting again.

We have been in a Zhengzhou since Sunday and we absolutely love this city. Beijing was nice, but it had too much of a big city feel. We really enjoyed our time there, but in Zhengzhou we feel like we are in the "real China." The people in Beijing are very used to seeing Westerners, so a group of us walking around is no big deal. That was true until we got to the airport on our way out of town. While we were waiting to check our bags, a tourist group from another part of China spotted one of the other adopting families who are traveling with us. They have 3 very cute little girls and this tour group was infatuated with them.

After several minutes of staring/laughing/pointing, one of them came over and motioned to her parents in a way that said, "Can I take a picture of your girls?" Well, that opened the flood gates. About 30 Chinese women swarmed over and began snapping pictures as if Angelina Joile and Brad Pitt just showed up. They each took turns posing with the girls to get their picture taken and after 3-4 minutes, the novelty wore off with the little girls. They were struggling to keep smiles on their faces, but did very well. I asked our guide what was the big deal and he said, "They are very pretty girls with different colored hair and different colored eyes than what we are used to. It's kind of like when you (Americans) see one of our Panda Bears...no offense" I have some video that I will post when I get back home.

Now, we aren't that level of celebrity, but anywhere we go in Zhengzhou people stare at us. They are all very curious and sometimes younger people will greet us with a "Hello." You can tell they are very proud to know English. We reply back with a "Ni hao" (How are you) and they eat it up. On that same note, we all went to dinner last night at the Italian restaurant in our hotel and they had some live music. It was two young guys and a girl, in their early 20's, with a couple of guitars. They just stood in the middle of the restaurant and sang. It was great. As soon as we sat down, one of the guys began to play a very familiar tune on his guitar. I was pretty sure what it was, but the notes were just a bit off sometimes. Once the other guy started singing, I could tell what it was. We were serenaded to the sweet sounds of Eric Clapton...You Look Wonderful Tonight. It's funny to say, but it was really nice to hear a familiar song playing in the restaurant and, honestly, they did a really good job. When they finished, I clapped for them (I'm not sure if it's customary to clap in a restaurant) quietly and nodded my head. They were beaming with pride.

I mentioned this before, but in Zhengzhou it's even more noticeable. Driving here is CRAZY! I can't seem to figure it out, but it looks like a ton of fun. Sitting a red stop light and tired of waiting? Well, just go for it! Is a bus in the right lane going too slow and so is the car in the passing lane? Just pass the bus on the shoulder. Need a place to park but all the spaces are taken? Just pull up on the sidewalk and park there. I'm telling you, it's awesome!

What I have noticed is that no one drives very fast, but they use their horns a lot...and painted lines on the road mean nothing. So you just drive to your destination and if someone gets in your way, just honk and they just might move...if not, get so close to them that they get uncomfortable enough to move.

I titled this post 'A sign of things to come' because after spending 24 hours with Mae, I can see the trouble I'm going to run into when she gets older.

First of all, she's a big faker. Kristen keeps saying how she doesn't hardly cry but that's not entirely true. She cries a lot but they are in a 4-5 second spurts. She wants to be on the go at all times. She doesn't mind being held as long as you keep moving. If you stop moving she'll cry. If Kristen is holding her and I give Mae a kiss, sometimes she'll cry...for about 1 second. If she wants a snack she'll begin to cry, until you give her the cup of Cheerios. If you take that cup away, she'll cry. For as annoying as the sound of a kid crying is to me, I don't mind her cry at all. Yesterday we were trying to put her down for a nap and she cried, incessantly, for 30 minutes or so and it didn't really bother me. I wanted to figure out a way to calm her down, and that made me a little panicked, but the sound itself was no big deal. It's really strange.

Secondly, everyone loves her. Anytime we walk around people will stop and stare and smile. The stopping and staring is mostly a Western couple walking around with a Chinese baby, but the smiling part is all Mae. Today we went to The Lotus Center, which is basically a three story mall. At one point, when Kristen was looking at shoes for Mae, this older lady just stopped and stared at her. When we moved to another shop, the lady followed us and stared. For about 15 minutes, this lady was there, staring and smiling.

Once we got done shopping, I was checking out and Kristen and Mae were walking around by the registers. Mae spotted something she liked in a man's cart and stuck her hands between the metal grates and tried to grab it. The man smiled, grabbed the treat and gave it to Mae. She was delighted but not satisfied. She looked at the man and stretched out her other, empty hand. This really made the guy laugh so he gave her another treat. And so it begins. I can see Mae using her sweet little personality and long eyelashes to get whatever she wants whenever she wants it.

We left The Lotus Center and waited outside for the other families in our group. As usual, everyone who walked by looked at her and smiled. There was a guard of some sort outside of the store (there are a lot of uniformed men here, and I'm not sure if they are police, military, security, etc) and he didn't look very friendly. He seemed to keep a keen eye on everyone coming in and out of the Lotus Center. Mae started getting restless so I let her walk around while she held onto my finger. This caught the guard's eye so he knelt down and offered his hand to her. When she grabbed it and looked at him with those big eyes you could almost see him turn to putty right there in her little hand. When we walked off I looked back at the guard and he was smiling ear to ear. I'm telling you, this little girl has more charm than I've ever seen and she knows how to use it.

We're getting ready to go to bed because we have a full day ahead of us. I'm sure Kristen will post some pictures very soon. In the meantime, here is a picture of Mae with the treat she charmed from the man at the Lotus Center.


  1. This made me laugh :). Sam calls Nyla a faker at least once a day. Love me some baby girls!

  2. This posting made me laugh- It sounds like Mae has daddy wrapped around her little finger. :)

    Cody we love following your postings. It's one of the first things we check when we get into work. Can't wait to read the next posting!

    Lanie and Jane (from Marysville)

  3. My Dear Cody,
    I see she is going to be spoiled before her Aunt Carol can even see her. I love all the information you all are putting on the blog keeping us posted. This is such a great way technology has advanced since I had Daniel and Laci. I'm sure Mae will have a lot of people here spoiling her as well. Children learn fast that crying will get them what they want too. I'm so glad you love her laugh and her crying, you will get plenty of it. Can't wait to see you all. Nanny also is sending her love to you all too.
    Love reading your stories, keep it coming.

  4. Chris and I chuckled reading this. Yes. The dramatic 4-5 second cry and then over it. We see it several times a day. Looks like our girls like to do the same things. Their spurts of crying and charm will be so funny to see together. :-)


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