Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Small moment worth all the tea in China


YuYu's foster mom brought us three bags of local fruit after we got back from lunch on Saturday afternoon. After our translator left us between meals, it was so frustrating not to be able to talk to her, but sharing food is something for which we didn't need a shared language.

The smaller softer balls are huangpi (yellow shell), not much flesh, mostly little pits, but so delicious. The white fruit comes out of a hard, dark purple (almost black) shell that bleeds violent purple on your hands (that stains brown), but I didn't catch the name of the fruit. The flesh comes in 5-6 sections, one plum size pit, indescribly delicious, at least with my limited skills, flavor.

The bigger, harder balls are called dragon eyes, or longyan
  and I have pictures of YuYu from before her adoption, squatting in the foster family's apartment with her older cousin, eating out of the same red plastic bags full of longyan. Watching her do this again with her foster mother and her sisters, this homely little scene, made me a little misty (really, what doesn't) and all I need to do to remind myself that every penny paid for this trip was very well spent, is to look at these photos. This moment with Xiao Zhen and YuYu was worth all the tea in China to me.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Eating my way through China

I've got the foster family in two rooms at the Majestic for a couple
of nights so we don't lose time going back and forth from the hotel
and their apartment and we go out for meals together with Matthew Xu,
our local guide and translator. These have been good meals and good
opportunities to learn more about the foster family and their lives in
China and YuYu's early years with them. But I swear to gawd that I'm
the only person I know who gains weight in China. Even a quick bout
of "whoa, what did I eat and why does it want to leave my body so
quickly" a few days ago hasn't stopped the eating. Even the drowned
cock roach on the lip of the coffee decanter in Fuling (either suicide
(fell in) or murder (was already in before the coffee was made)) or
the absolutely stomach turning thousand year old eggs at lunch
yesterday that would ruin a lesser person's appetite for several days
can stop me from eating. When will I be back? don't know and don't
want to miss out on any of the flavors. Only one more day of eating,
better get busy.

Recharging in Nanning

Recharging in Nanning, literally and figuratively. The foster
parents, their current foster daughter (private foster arrangement,
not through the orphanage), their son and their nephew (who texted on
his iphone on the walk to the restaurant like any other teen), checked
into the hotel this morning for two nights to make it easier to spend
time together. But without Matthew the translator, we're out of
commission until dinner time as far as communication, but the
conversation at lunch was fun as they told me stories about YuYu's
toddler hood. They even told me that in 2006, when I let them take
YuYu and Nora for the afternoon (and boy did I get some harsh
responses from other parent reading the blog that I was taking
unnecessary risks and that they were going to hide YuYu from me,
people, come on, hide her where?) to give me a rest, that Nora slipped
them her Guilin foster parents phone number so she could call them.
They can't remember what she said, but it is fun to know that Nora was
acting independently at 4.5 yo to get past the new mean mom.

This is the first time in five trips to China that anyone with the
last name of Hanson got in a swimming pool. I don't know why we
didn't swim in 2001, we were here in the summer, but the girls had fun
today and don't you love the caps? No rentals, had to buy them, 80
yuan, so now they have to wear them all the time at home so I can get
my money's worth out of those caps. Also, check out the pool rules.
I'm thinking a implementing these rules at the Hanson pool in the near
future, so don't tell me you weren't on notice when you try to bring
your guns and explosives to the pool or if I ask you to leave if I
find that you have spit or defecated in the pool area. You've been

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Li River Cruise Day 10

Talk about your unparalleled scenery. Take your kids 6000 miles to
see it, and they spend most of the time inside playing with each other
and their new friends. You can take a horse to water . . ..