It's now Thursday morning and the Woods' left us their laptop to blog while they are visiting their daughter's orphanage outside Hefei, about 1 1/2 hours drive one way. We are so grateful for them helping us out this way. In a little bit we will be taking a taxi ride (this should be interesting) with the Denzel family to the local CareFour (like a Walmart/department store). We have a few small items to pick up, but we also want to check out this place that is spoken of often by other adoptive families.
Also, just to let you know, we are unable to get to our accessmo email account. We don't know if it is being blocked, or if the site is down. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll have a better chance of catching us. We may not be able to respond, but we will try to read the emails when we get online to blog.
Last night I ran out of time (and steam) to tell you about our day on Wednesday. It was our first full free day. Praise Jesus! We needed that opportunity to sleep in. (We didn't sleep in, but we could have (theoretically). Does that count??) With all of us being sick, we moved slow and got a late breakfast with the other 2 families (awesome, wonderful people BTW). Then we decided that a visit to the park across the street might perk us up. A little fresh air (ie. pollution) might be good for us all. ;-)
The park is interesting. The "grass" is a funky kind of sod and the trees are some tropical variety. There are no park benches or playground equiptment, but some nice open spaces to run around. Zion Denzel (age 7) enjoyed racing with Eric and playing catch with Brian Woods. We also got some pretty pictures of the small lake bordering the park. If we had been really brave, we could have gone on a paddle boat too. Noelle enjoyed being spun in circles and got out some good giggles. It wasn't long, however, that the Johnson crew needed to head back to the hotel for a nap.
Oh boy, do I love naps! I rarely get one, but I sure do love the opportunity. It's weird how kids fight their parents about going to sleep; and grown-ups are just so grateful when they finally get to go to bed after a long day.
Well, after a 2 1/2 hour nap through lunch, we decided to explore the hotel more thoroughly with Adiah and her mommy and daddy (Amy and Brian Woods). We found a rooftop patio with lots of large plants and tables and chairs. We tossed around a ball for a while until mommy (me) accidently tossed it over a glass wall. Oops! One of the hotel staff was able to rescue it fortunately.
Our further explorations to another floor found a long marble floored hallway. Noelle enjoys walking, so of course she has to check this out. We walked the full length and back and went a second time when she discovered her legs could move faster than she was aware. She discovered running (the toddler version thereof)! We could hardly get her to leave this area to get ready for dinner. She was enjoying practicing her new talent and was charming a whole group of young ladies (hotel staff) in the hall. This was 1 of the breakthroughs I referred to in my last post. Our guess is that Noelle has never had the opportunity or space in the orphanage to explore and run freely. This experience caused more or her fun personality to emerge.
Breakthrough number 2 happened at dinner. All 3 families were eating together in the back dining room. The young ones had finished and mommies and daddies were finishing their meals. Noelle got antsy, so I let her down to explore. First she discovered the full mural of outdoor scenery. Then she found the filmy curtains over the patio door to the street and started playing peek-a-boo with mom. It wasn't long before our little girl was laughing with such delight that the other 2 little girls and Zion came to play along. Noelle just blossomed before our eyes! It was an amazing delight to see her big smile, dimples, and bright eyes practically explode with happiness. Her joy was infectious to everyone in the room. She ran and giggled and hid and chased and giggled, no, belly laughed, some more. What an amazing site!!! God has blessed us beyond measure with this very, very special little girl. Oh how we wish we had the video camera with us. Oh how we wish each one of you could have been there with us.
I could go on. Noelle was goofy and giggly again in the hallway in her pj's before bedtime, but I'll have to save that story for another day. Now we must be off to the CareFour, then to Noelle's orphanage this afternoon. this will be an emotional and informative visit. We will share with you all about this later.
With much love,
p.s. please keep praying for us to get rid of this icky bug