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| A Not-Quite-So-International City

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A Not-Quite-So-International City
Goodbye Sky City!  Little did we know how much we will miss you...

Goodbye Sky City! Little did we know how much we will miss you…

We’ve arrived in Kunming, but it feels more like we’ve stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone. This place is more “China” to me than anywhere we’ve ever been yet (comparatively on a scale with Beijing). If it weren’t for the two other adoptive families here with us, we would be the only white, English speaking people here (so yes, we actually do draw quite a bit of attention even without babies and redheads). Our guide met us at the airport and seemed really stressed out as she also had two other families she was picking up shortly after us, so she basically put us in a car with a driver and said “hope it all works out” and left. Thankfully the driver checked us in to the hotel because even just communicating to the staff at the front desk that Claire needed to use the toilet was a serious challenge. Our guide gave us no papers, map of the area or restaurant list, but she did give us her phone number that is disconnected. Great. Thankfully she did come back later in the day (we were starving by then at 2PM) and walked us and another family over to a local restaurant where she ordered us noodle bowls that were ginormous (one would have fed all of us and she got us three!) and then told us she’d see us tomorrow for Gotcha Day unless we wanted her to meet us earlier to show us the area. We’re definitely taking her up on that offer.

There is an incredible view from our room, that's for sure!

There is an incredible view from our room, that’s for sure!

Guide: "Then, you dump all of this in the soup bowl."  Claire: "Wat?"

Guide: “Then, you dump all of this in the soup bowl (to include raw pork, raw egg and other unrecognizable ingredients).” Claire: “Wat? Where’s the mac & cheese?” She had this look through the entire meal. She may starve here. Caitlin is our most adventurous eater, thankfully!

Joey suggested we attend this to celebrate with Chaela.  Ulterior motives?  Nah.

If Joey goes missing on the 8th, I’ll know where to find him.

After eating lunch with a great new couple we met who are here to adopt a one-year old baby girl from the local Kunming orphanage, we decided to walk around the Green Lake Park that is renowned in the area. I really don’t have vocabulary to describe the crazy we saw there today. First of all, there are thousands of Nordic seagulls that have migrated here for the winter and are swarming the entire place (because people are holding bread crumbs out all around the lake and trying to charge to take your picture feeding these rather aggressive gulls. In between worrying that bird poop was going to land on my head (or worse, Claire’s, because of the scene it would cause) we tried to make our way through massive crowds of people who were congregated in groups all over the park and lake area either listening to Chinese opera singers, watching old people do the boot scootin’ boogie to club music and maneuvering through the gaudy display of tacky carnival kiddie rides we let our girls enjoy. It’s really hard to accurately describe the chaotic scene of pandemonium that was Sunday at Green Lake Park. I don’t know if some crazy festival was going on, or if it’s always like this here on the weekends, but it was a sight to behold. We also witnessed another upsetting scene of a severely disabled beggar lying on the street and on the way back to the hotel tried to find out how to come back to get the girls a mani/pedi at a nail salon we passed by, but again, communication is next to impossible here with most people. We’re back in the land of risking your life to cross the street again, too. Welcome back to China!

Baby baskets are required.

Baby baskets are required.

We suspect he is reciting martial poetry.  'Death to America' or the like.  Bring back the crooner in the red tux!

We suspect he is reciting martial poetry. ‘Death to America’ or the like. Bring back the crooner in the red tux!

We're pretty sure this guy is either Ryu or Ken.

We’re pretty sure this guy is either Ryu or Dragonball Z.

Goldfish Island!  Not as advertised.

Goldfish Island! Not as advertised.

IMG_1230 from Joey Odell on Vimeo.


Our plan today is to go to the zoo that is very close by before Gotcha Day happens at 3PM (so 2AM NY time on Monday morning). If I sit around the hotel and wait I will go nuts with nervous energy. It is likely this will be the last post until Chaela is with us! Please pray! It was her last night in the orphanage and I can’t imagine what she is going through. She is saying goodbye to her friends who have been like siblings to her all these years, and the nannies who have served the role of a mother to her for over a decade. My heart is breaking for her- it is going to be a difficult day in many ways. We know that the little girl from her orphanage who was adopted by a family from Spain recently had a very tough Gotcha Day. Please pray that it goes better than we expect, and our hearts are knit together in a way that only God can do! She has a long 6 hour car ride from the orphanage to the civil affairs office, hence the late in the day meeting. This is the most nervous I have ever felt for Gotcha Day. On top of it, I am battling a terrible cold and losing my voice and feel awful, so please pray it passes quickly- I don’t want to miss a thing!

Ready to add one more!

Ready to add one more!

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