Day 5 – Taiyuan

Today was our first day in Samuel’s hometown. We got up and headed down for the breakfast buffet. There were lots of bread/pastries, steamed veggies, eggs, fruit, dumplings, congee, and some other stuff we had no idea what it was. Breakfast was good and Adam said the coffee was good.

After breakfast we walked up to our room, got our stuff and headed out to explore. Our guide last night told us about the market that will be going on tomorrow, so we wanted to go and check out the local people here in our son’s hometown.

Unlike in Beijing, people here don’t see many westerners, so when they do see you they stare. It can be quite amusing when people are staring so hard that they fall, hit a door or almost wreck their bike {all of which have happened}.

We walked across the street and found the market. It was really cool seeing how everything was set up, and I was able to get some really cool pictures of veggies, dumplings, people and spices. After we finished walking around the market, we headed to the park which is only a few blocks from our hotel.

This park is huge. First we came to the ‘fitness’ area of the park. There were old and young on the equipment. There were older people playing cards and having a good time. It was so good to see people out enjoying the park.

Although the smog is very heavy, the weather was really nice with a cool breeze. As we walked around the park, I couldn’t help but wonder if Samuel had ever played in this park? Had he ever watched the boats from the bridge with his foster parents? We have been thinking about them all day today, praying that they have sweet memories of their last day together.

We then walked by the lake and there was a group playing instruments and singing. It seemed to be a worship service, but we couldn’t understand what they were saying, so maybe not. We walked by the sandbox and got some great views of the traditional split pants on the children {something everyone should experience}. We then walked to the back of the lake and found some people playing a hacky sack like game. They were pretty amazing at keeping the “hacky sack” from hitting the ground {even women in skirts}. We then headed back towards the front of the park and there were kids rollerblading, flying kites and just playing.

We the walked upon some more hacky sack playing folks and Adam decided that he would join in. They had a great time laughing and playing together. We even had some locals come to watch the foreigner play. Much fun was had by all and then we headed back to the hotel.

It was lunch time and we were trying to decide what we were going to do for lunch. We didn’t have really ‘lunch’ food in our room and didn’t really have enough time to walk down to the Walmart to pick something up, so we decided we would head down to the restaurant here at the hotel to eat {other people who have adopted before have eaten there and said it was good}. Anyways, we walked in, looked at the menu {items were 550 rmb with is about $80 or so dollars for an entree}. Ouch, way way way out of our price range. So we walked out and figured we would try and find something else.

When we came into the lobby we ran into our guide who was running a bit early to meet us. We told her that we were needing lunch, but the hotel prices were way out of our price range and asked her if she could help us find some Taiyuan noodles. She agreed and we started out the door.

She then told us that there was a movie star staying at our hotel and she was fixing to come down to get into her car to head home. {We seem to be running with the famous people this trip… first the backstreet boys on our plane and now a Chinese movie star, that’s how we roll!} She asked if we could stay a few minutes and wait for her. She was so excited when we said sure.

The scene was really funny. Everyone was so excited and our guide was just giddy waiting for this ‘star’. She asked if I could please get her a picture of her since I had my camera and I agreed. The lady came out with her husband and the fans that had been waiting for them. They were ushered to their car, everyone swarmed them and I couldn’t get a picture, so I did what any other fan would do, I walked up to the car and took a photo. Everyone was waving at her and she looked up saw this tall white American and gave a big smile and a wave. Our guide was so excited! It was fun.

Now off to lunch. We walked not too far from our hotel and came to a noodle house. She ordered for us {veggie noodle bowl and a cola} and we sat down. Se told us that they only had chopsticks and we told her not a problem. The noodle bowls came and the were yummy! Delish and the whole meal set us back a whopping $3… Now that’s in our budget 🙂

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to meet our driver and go to the Shanxi Museum. Our guide likes to say ‘take care’ when she is wanting us to use caution or be careful. It’s funny and reminds us of the Brian Regan where he says ‘take luck’ anyways, it’s funny–maybe you have to be here.

We get to the museum and its 4 stories of art, history and artifacts all from the Shanxi Provence. Just like most buildings we have been in, there was a security checkpoint. Just like all of our other experiences, we walked through, it beeped, we slowed down and our guide says its fine, it happens all the time. Not sure what’s the point, but I guess somehow it makes them feel better. It was a really interesting museum and my favorite part was the art from a famous Chinese painter. It was such pretty artwork.

After about 2 hours or so we were done with he museum and headed back to the hotel. Lisa, our guide, left us and we ventured out to find some bread for dinner. We found a bakery and bought some bread. The went to the local grocery {not at all like a grocery in the states} for some water.

We fixed dinner {peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches} in our room and FaceTime with the kids. We are now getting ready for tomorrow.

It’s hard to believe that in less than 12 hrs we will meet our son. We are excited, but know that with us gaining a son, he is loosing everything. He’s loosing the only family he’s ever known, he’s loosing his country, his hometown and so much more. We know that he has had a life without us for 2.5 years and everything he has ever known changes tomorrow. Please pray for his sweet heart and for his foster family. We know the coming days probably are going to be hard, but we are trusting the One who has brought is this far. As my sweet friend April told me before we left, The Lord didn’t bring us this far to abandon us now.

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, support over these last 23 months. Tomorrow is the day {I hope I can sleep tonight}!

{Hugs} from Beijing