Sunday, January 11, 2009

We're in Guangzhou!

Today we flew from Beijing to Guangzhou (GZ), where we will finally meet Lauren. It was an emotional day right from the start. After breakfast in Beijing, we boarded the bus to the airport and said good-bye to Susan (our Beijing guide) and met Alison (our GZ guide). Alison is incredibly passionate about helping children find their forever families. She started off by reading a Bible verse about caring for orphans and as she started to read she got choked up and had to take a moment to collect herself. Right about then, there wasn't a dry eye on the bus and then as she continued to speak the tears started flowing. Right at that point, we all knew she was the exact right person to see us through this journey!

Once at the airport, we had to say good-bye to part of our travel group since some families are heading off to other provinces. They will meet up with us in GZ in about a week.

The flight to GZ was only about 3 hours (hey, after a 12 hour stint this sounds short), but it seemed much longer and it was so uncomfortable. We flew China Southern and it was warm on the plane, no air circulation and I swear the seats were at least an inch narrower than our American seats! I think I got off the plane with the impression of the video controls permanently tattooed on the side of my leg. ;)

We landed about 3:45pm and headed to the Victory Hotel on Shamian Island. The Victory is much smaller than the White Swan, but our room is perfect for a two week stay. There is a large bathroom, a sleeping area and a separate seating area. We are very close to the White Swan and plan on heading over there to check it out and take photos.

Christine, guess what's right around the corner from the Victory's front door?? Yup, Starbucks...I plan on having one tomorrow morning!

By the way, look what was waiting for us in the room...



It's rickety and old, but it's a crib none the less and when I saw it I stopped in my tracks and thought...oh my God, this really is it!

After we checked into the hotel, the group headed over with Alison to the infamous Lucy's for dinner. After dinner some of us were feeling VERY adventurous and took a taxi off the island into GZ to a store called Care Four (sp?). Joe, Karen and I shared a taxi over and had quite an adventure! This place is a Chinese grocery store on steroids. It has three floors and flat escalators for taking your carts up and down the floors. It's packed with everything imaginable and about a million people grabbing at items like it's the last shopping day on earth! I've never seen anything like it. We were the absolute only Caucasians in the building and it was quite obvious by all the staring. It was funny...I think everyone who past us by looked at us since we stuck out like a needle in a haystack. Some people would literally just stop right next to us and stare at us and then look down at our cart to what we were buying. I think we were the entertainment for the evening!

We didn't get back to the room until about 10pm and then unpacked. Poor Joe collapsed in the bed about a half hour ago. I figured I'd catch up on e-mail and get this post out and then try and get some sleep. It's midnight here now and it's only 14 hours until we leave to meet Lauren! I can't believe after all this time tomorrow is our day!!! My head is spinning with SO many questions about Lauren...I can't imagine getting any sleep, but I need to lay down and see if I pass out from pure exhaustion. I won't be any good tomorrow if I don't get at least a few hours of sleep. With that...I'll say good-night!

Not many photos today since it was basically a travel day, but you can check out our hotel room photos here.

30 comments:

Lindsay said...

Sweet dreams!

Kathy said...

Donna,
I am so excited for you and Joe. Not much longer to Lauren. I am going to try and stay awake tonight so I can see Lauren in your arms. You will be just fine. Take a deep breath you are almost there.
Hugs
Kathy

Shelley said...

Wow, your room actually looks spacious! From what I've heard, and experienced, that's not typical. And what a lovely hotel (Stephe had a shot of the outside) in a great location ...where all the best shopping is!

That "crib moment" ...the minute you walk in your room and spot the crib ...is a sweet moment. Can't you just visualize Lauren in it? Soon!

Nighty night.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Sorry to hear about the flight.. but glad you got there safe and sounds like you had a great outing..
Love the crib and the pictures..
I was looking at them earlier..
Can't wait for tomorrow or should I say today for you..
I will be up bright and early to see her pretty little face..
Hugs..

Linda said...

This is going to be the longest day!!!! Hotel looks very nice, streets outside look pretty..
How brave to go shopping without your guide...

Get some good sleep, I don't think you will be sleeping all that much after today.... Good for Joe, getting his rest now....Love Mom

Amy said...

Reading your blog each day since you started the trip has been the highlight of my day. I look forward to reading it every morning. Thank you for sharing this journey with us in words and pictures.

a Tonggu Momma said...

The crib! Oh, Donna, you just brought back so many memories. That was the very first time I cried... I didn't cry during referral, but when I saw that crib and knew that the Tongginator would sleep there THAT night... I broke down. So excited for y'all.

Wanda and Geoff said...

Donna, I'm having a great time reading your blog!!! Looks like you guys are having a wonderful time!!! I can't wait to see you and Joe with Lauren!

God Bless!
Wanda

Kristy said...

Oh Donna as I sit here reading this I am just crying such happy anxious tears for you both. I guess I am also kind of living vicariously through you, because I know how surreal it will be when we are finally there also. I just am so excited for you to hold your daughter in your arms. What a blessing Alison is and what an amazing God we worship. Have a miraculous day tomorrow meeting the "Rest of your Life"!!! Looking forward to pictures.

Love and blessings, Kristy

Cora said...

I can't wait to read your blog tomorrow! Hope you got a little sleep but I know there would be no way I could sleep but it sounds like you had a tiring day so I hope that helps.
Seeing the crib has got to be such a special moment

Melissa said...

Welcome to Guanzghou!! Pat and i took a taxi to that store for formula and it was such an adventure!! Enjoy the Island!!

Cara said...

Are you using AHH? We did too and also had Alison and Susan for guides! They are both wonderful!!! You are in very good hands. Can't wait to see Lauren in your arms tomorrow.

Alyson and Ford said...

Your day is finally here! Forever Family Day! Congrats! Waiting for those first family photos!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Laura and Dan said...

You are such a good blogger! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. When I wake up in the morning I hope to see your post and new photos, I am really so excited for you and can't wait for our 1st play date together! It is just so sweet that Lauren and Domi are days apart. God bless you in these final steps becoming a forever family! Love, Laura

Dori's Mommy (Diana) said...

How exciting!! Only a few hours away!

Dana E. said...

WOW! I can't wait to see a picture of the three of you together! It has certainly been a long time coming.

If you think of it, please tell Alison that the Etters from Lexington, KY say hello! :) She is an amazing person.

Good luck tomorrow!

Scott and Kim said...

We look forward to reading your posts! We are glad this day of travel is behind you. In about 12 hours now you will meet Lauren! If the store, A Gift From China, is still there, it is worth checking out. On the internet it looks like the store is b/w 4th & 5th Street on Shamain blvd.

Kristi said...

Oh, I remember how my heart almost stopped beating when we walked into our room in Guangzhou nearly two years ago and saw that crib...
I'm anxiously awaiting your posts with Lauren in arms! Hope you were able to get some sleep...

Lisa and Tate said...

Oh Donna- I am in tears... what an amazing beginning to your meeting of Lauren.

You are totally a shoppy adverture gal! I must remember this place!

So exciting that in just a few hours you will be hugging on your Lauren. So excited for you and Joe!!! Go get her mamma and baba!!!

hiltonsheadeast said...

Woo Hoo !! You are there ! Are you in 8311? It looks just like a room one of our group was in. Oh, please do not forget to ask about Arthur at the East reception. :)

Hugs,
Lori**

Carol and Taylor said...

Good luck tomorrow. Can't wait to see you holding you daughter. One last night of dreaming about your daughter, and your dream is about to come true.

Happyily anticipating the pics,

Carol and Taylor
fka Nan Xian Yi

Tonya said...

wow tomorrow... Lauren... Finally. :)

OziMum said...

We travelled with CHina Southern last year - same experience... hot and squeezy!!!

Is the Victory Hotel nice? We have to go to GZ too - I was wondering whether its worth requesting to stay there.

Can't wait to see the new "family" photos!!! HOw exciting!!!

Christi and Abbey said...

Oh, China Southern is dreadful, thank goodness you weren't on it for the oversees flight like I was. I was throwing up from a migraine and trying to hold Abbey. I closed my eyes and Abbey poured the barf bag all over me. So see, it could always be worse : )
Your Carrefour experience is my life each day. Somehow we've gotten as used to it as we can
The crib moment is awesome! It is real and she will soon be with you...can't wait!
Love and hugs!

mommy2gabby said...

I have tears in my eyes just thinking about seeing the crib for the first time . What a special a sweet moment to treasure forever!

The hotel is lovely! The room looks spacious and is decorated nicely.

I hope you are about to wake up rested and filled with energy for your Forever Family Day!
Can't wait to see sweet Lauren in your arms!!

Jody

Rhonda said...

DRUMROLL PLEASE..........................

CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR!!!

~RHONDA

Doreen said...

I'm so excited for you! Have a happy Gotcha Day! I hope and pray the transition goes smooth. I can't wait to see pics of Miss Lauren.

Doreen in Montreal single mom to Faith-Jiangxi & Mia-Sichuan

Anonymous said...

Please tell Alison that Chris and Crystal Hunt (parents of Addison) said "Hello". She was our guide back in May of 2008 and made our process run silky smooth. We miss her dearly!
Tomorrow will be a very memorable day for you. Soak it all in as it goes by way too quickly.
God bless you!

Karsynn's Mommy...Sammi said...

Oh my goodness! Are you with AHH? Tell Alison that Sammi, Troy and Karsynn say hello. She was our guide the whole time in China. She's amazing! You're in GREAT hands, girl! Can't wait to see Lauren's face.

amy said...

thanks for making my cry at work