Time for another installment of, "What the hell?"
On the 17th we (Cora and I) had the honor of accompanying our friends Angie and Andrew to get their lovely daughter at the Hunan Office of Adoptions. Our Chloe would follow later that day because of problems obtaining train tickets. So, I had the opportunity to watch and record their experience. This kept me from thinking of our own experience, which was rapidly approaching and raising more than a few hairs on the back of my neck, and fraying my nerves. Angie and Andrew were admirable with how they handled the experience. On the outside, they appeared to be cool, calm, and collected, with but a tear or two shed. They looked like pros, and gave me some hope. Because soon, we would be in their shoes. I only hoped I would be able to look so calm. I tried to get an equal amount of both parents. Andrew showed a stoic side that I hoped I'd be able to emulate.
After they got Maire, we headed back to the hotel. Our guide, apparently oblivious to the intense emotions being experienced by all parties, suggested the new parents split up so one of them could go "shopping" at a store, while the other stayed at the hotel alone with a new, unknown, and potentially ready to meltdown child. Wisely, in my opinion, the new parents turned down our "guide's" offer, and both went upstairs to get to know their new child. Cora and I, while wanting to get some diapers and the Chinese formula, might have been a little envious, but we stayed in the van and soon found ourselves slogging through traffic again and then pulling into the minuscule parking lot in front of the, "super market."
We went in and found an entirely new world of strange. There were smaller stores within this store. These were lodged in what in our grocery stores would be the entrance or anti-area. And it was not quite as warm as one might have expected, though considerably warmer than outside. Some of these store-esque places were selling forms of alcoholic beverages, others were selling special tea, and still others luggage and leather purses. It was in the main part of the store, though, that we found the real strange. Isles were narrow and very high. The music, sounds, and price tags were entirely Chinese.
Cora managed to stay focused on our goal. Diapers and Formula. I didn't hear her, but I imagine the only way I could have done it would have been to repeat it to myself much the way the girl in the Sesame Street skit used to do for a loaf of bread, stick of butter, and a container of milk. Remember that?
Cora just kept on motoring, I had my camera in my jacket and occasionally brought it out for a shot, managing to keep track of her and our guide while ogling all about. Especially when I went two steps out of the baby food isle and found the dried foods. I guess I had never expected to see so much dried animals that really should be wet.
Below you can see who knows what kind of fish, but I am pretty certain those little pink things are eaten by baleen whales...krill is it? I know my fish in the aquarium would find them tasty. Thing is my aquarium fish food says "Not for human consumption." I am pretty sure that goes for dried fish parts, too.
We were about to try to Skype someone when the phone rang. I answered and the guide said the baby was there in his room. We looked at each other. I knew I was not ready, but didn't want to worry Cora. We walked down the hall, and there was Angie, with her camera. She wanted a photo of us before and after. She got it. As for how stoic I was...I don't know. All I remember is those dark eyes and a floaty, happy, giddy feeling.
And, for those of you waiting for your Chloe fix, here she is, just before bed time tonight...which, given the sounds coming from the bedroom and the baby monitor right now, is not for some time now. She is talking to herself and giggling and in general NOT sleeping.
She may as well be saying, "You can lead me to the crib, but you can't make me sleep." Still, even when she is being naughty, she is completely adorable.
Oh, and I want to wish my wonderful Mother-In-Law a happy birthday today. you don't look too bad for 109. :-)