Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not much to report...

A bug is going through our Travel Group and unfortunately it finally hit Gilles so we have been laying low the last couple of days. Seems like Deja vu since I was the one bedridden last time, thankfully only one of us is down so the other can entertain the kids.
Tonight we will try to head out for our 'Peking Duck' dinner and then head back to the hotel to start packing. Tomorrow begins with the long journey back home. We will miss China but it will be nice not to be living out of a suitcase.
Next post will be from HOME!!   :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chayse.....because that's all we do!

We have quickly realized that her chosen name fits her perfectly! Can you guess why? Let's just say that I will not have to renew my gym membership when I get home. I think our little Tasmanian Devil will keep Mama pretty active.
We arrived in Beijing late last night, flight was pretty bumpy so even though it was freezing cold, I was happy to be on safe ground. We will miss Nanning, it is definitely a beautiful province. Murphy's Law, we found an Activity Centre for the girls the day before we had to leave. It's amazing how much fun kids can have with a bunch of balloons and one big fan! Gilles and I are hoping that we can return in 5yrs and do a Guangdong-Guangxi tour.
We headed to the Great Wall today, OMG..windy and cold do not make a good combination for our southern belle. Gilles tackled the Wall while Chayse, Madison and I huddled in the coffee shop. On the way back we stopped at the Jade Factory, a place where we bypassed with Madison but vowed to go back this time around. Beautiful stuff! Mama did some retail therapy!
Tomorrow is Canadian Embassy and hopefully we will hit the Beijing Aquarium in the will give our little Taz a chance to run! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What a day!

I woke up with such anxiety wondering what the day would hold for all of us especially Chayse. We knew in our hearts that we were making the best choice possible for her to see her Foster family for the last time during this journey and for us to thank them in person for giving her so much love. We were prepared for it to put us back in the attachment process by a few days but since we would have a lifetime together, a few days did not seem so bad.
Since the Orphanage is within Nanning City we arrived within 20 minutes. We travelled down a long narrow road that is used for a market, mostly meat and fish. I took pictures but wished I took more since afterwards I found out that this was the street on which Chayse was found.
Meeting the Foster family has definitely been one of the highlights of our trip. You could see and feel the love they have for Chayse. They expressed their gratitude for us coming since they had fostered 4 other children and said we were the first family ever to request to meet them. We were so happy that we did!
In the end, Chayse was fine during the whole visit. Her Foster mom explained to her that we were her new family (Chayse would actually respond! We were shocked how much Chinese she spoke for a  20mth old!). We exchanged addresses and promised to send updates. Chayse cried a bit when we left and slept the rest of the journey to the Hotel. But when she awoke it was like she was a new baby....closure. I think she knew that we were her forever family!...and yes, I did weep like an idiot but not as bad as I thought I would! :)

Nanning City SWI
Chayse's Foster Family
Foster Sister
Foster Mama

Street where Chayse was found
Apartment where Chayse's family lives (look for balcony with most clothes)

We ended the day by trying out the pool, definitely a success! Tomorrow we will be relaxing as a family and packing since we head out to Beijing early Saturday morning. Thanks for all your positive thoughts and prayers because it worked!!! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daddy's Little Girl....

Yesterday was pretty busy. Chayse slept well during her first night, she woke up a couple of times to see where she was, cry a bit but then settle to sleep. We were off pretty early in the morning to have our adoption notarized with the province but it was a great feeling to know that she officially a Gallant! She is such a happy baby and became Daddy's Little Girl by the afternoon. Daddy's funny and goofy! By dinner she didn't want anything to do with me! That's fine, she tends to come to me to sleep at night and of course we'll have plenty of mommy-daughter time when we get back home.
We're off to Nanning City Orphanage tomorrow and will meet the Foster family. I am excited, nervous and will most likely become a weeping idiot. So much to thank them for, hoping it will have some closure for Chayse and be not too traumatic for her. She has bonded so well and especially to Madison (poor Madison can't even have privacy in the bathroom without Chayse wanting to be with her!) that I hope the visit goes smoothly.

Us with the Orphanage Director

Group 264
Madison loves being a big sister!
Please send us positive thoughts for tomorrow!

Monday, January 17, 2011

No longer patiently waiting!! :)

These last few days have been crazy! Rescheduled flights to Nanning and once arriving to our Hotel, in search for a new one since the rooms were filthy and moldly, some with open electrical wiring. Another woman (2Chinagals) and I spent the rest of the evening looking for other hotels since there is a convention in town. We are now residing in a beautiful 6star Marriott for a minimal uplift in cost. It's amazing the feeling you get when you can allow your children to walk with just socks on carpet.

Chayse is absolutely beautiful! As expected she was quite upset when we received her but by the end of the evening we were able to get a few smiles and giggles from her. I did give her a quick cloth bath and changed her (5 layers of clothing and a diaper fastened to her by rope) but she did not want to lose her original outfit. So we negotiated by letting her keep the socks that she was wearing on and the rest of her clothing is close by so she can look/touch it if she wants. The clothes we brought do not fit her, she maybe 22lbs but she has long legs. Thankfully I packed some leggings so I think that may do the trick until we are back home. She is also drinking and eating, talks up a storm and will definitely tell you went she does not want something. We are SO thankful Madison is with us, Chayse has quickly grown attached to her and Madison is in love with her little sister. :)

Since we are settled I will try to remain a good blogger and get on here everyday. Today we will be finalizing the last note, our guide said in Beijing under no circumstances that we would be able to meet the foster family but just hours before meeting our children we received one last update. Included in ours was Chayse's foster family 'good wishes for her' and they did say they hoped that she would come back to visit. I immediately showed our guide since we would like to stay in contact as well. She has now agreed to work with the orphanage and see if we can meet with the Foster family! *fingerscrossed*

Few more things...sorry for the rambling...lack of sleep. Chayse arrived with golden ringlets of faux hair attached to her hair (you can see it in the top pic) with golden clips. When I finally removed it, I could not believe how much hair she has! Beautiful hair, almost half way down her back, I don't think Madison had that much hair until she was 4yrs old! I see many hair accessories in Chayse's future! :)
Also, I promise to post pics of Chayse and Daddy in the upcoming days. She did not start warming up to him until late evening and by that time I was too tired to even think of picking up a camera.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lesson for Today - not all Red Bills are the same...

Another beautiful day in China. Sunny, clear skies but freezing! I wore my longjohns to the Summer Palace but I swear the cold was still cutting through. I tried to stay warm by hopping about, people must have thought I was nuts but at least it was working! :)
Since we've been here, I have seen children walking around with Panda Winter hats...I have to admit that I was slightly envious and it was immediately put on my wish list. My thoughts were, 1. it would be great to wear to the Toronto Zoo once the Panda's arrive (how jealous everyone else would be, ahead of the fashion trend!) and 2. what a great Christmas card it would make...all the Gallant's dressed in their Panda Hats!
Well, after being approached several times at the Summer Palace to purchase these hats, I finally caved and started negotiating with one woman for 4 hats. Once price was reached I called Gilles over since he was the gatekeeper to the funds. He handed her over a 100RMB (a red bill) and she complained that there was a tear in it and requested another. So, he took the bill back and gave her another. Well, it wasn't until a few minutes later after talking to our guide about our purchases that she noticed the bill in Gilles hand. It wasn't Chinese currency but Taiwanese (another red bill but no Chairman Mao...lesson learned). She of course went back to the woman, accused her..and of course denial. We felt foolish and no not from the hats, but it was a $15 cdn lesson learned. A few minutes later another woman came up to us and offered to take the bill off our hands in exchange for a silk scarf. I agreed since I thought what the heck would I be able to do with it but it was only afterwards, on the way back to the hotel that we learned our guide had threatened to call the police. She told us that it was common for them to work together as a team and most likely wanted the 'evidence' back. Just another another story to tell Chayse when she gets older.
All that drama for these Panda Hats...I know you want one too!
Summer Palace was beautiful and it must be just stunning in the spring/summer season.
Tomorrow will be a day of packing or repacking since we are only allowed 22kg/per person. I really don't know how the heck we'll manage it but at least we will have the day to figure it out. In the evening we will be heading off to see the Chinese Acrobats and then off to Nanning in the morning! WoooHooo! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What a great day!

Needless to say that the time difference screwed up our internal clocks for sleeping or lack of but we managed to bypass it and make it thru today (as I type this Madison and Gilles are both out for the count! lol).
It was a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in the sky and not too cold at all! We were more surprised to see the sun since back in '04 when we were here in August, even though it never rained, we never saw it! It gives you an idea on how bad the air quality was back then...perhaps the Olympics in 2008 made a change or maybe it is because we are here in the winter? Either way, I like it! :)
After breakfast we decided to head outside and check out the sites, pick up some supplies for us and of course some Tsingtao. :)   We ended up walking until mid afternoon (saw some interesting street meat) and then headed off to the Olympic Pavilion. Two words for the Bird's Nest and Water Cube...absolutely amazing! If anyone is heading over to Beijing, this is not to miss! I am so happy we decided to go do this especially since our Agency did not have it included in our travel agenda. By the end of the day I had taken 140 photos! Beijing is such a beautiful city, old meshed in with the new. There was so much to take in and loved every minute of it. Tomorrow is the Summer Palace, I am just hoping that we are lucky 2 days in a row for weather.

 Red Guards
A street dancer

 Entrance to a market
 Larva and Beetles
 Starfish, Seahorses & Scorpions
 ...and I thought Keswick had huge Spiders!
 Olympic Pavilion
 Water Cube
 Bird's Nest
Kathy, Scott, Gilles and myself
(Madison was asleep)
Perfect ending to a perfect day! :)