Friday, February 20, 2015

Farewell to Guangxi and Nanning, Hello Guangzhou

On Friday morning, January 30, 2015 we said farewell to the capital city of Nanning and the Guangxi Province, Hannah's birth province.  Our guide had heard several things about our intended flight later in the evening being cancelled and the alternative being overbooked.  He did not want us to get bumped from our flight and be stranded alone in a China airport, so he changed our flight to the morning flight out of Nanning to Guangzhou.  We really should have stayed until later in the day to pick up Hannah's passport, but with the flight issues, we opted to go early and our guide got the passport and sent it overnight to our new guide in Guangzhou.  It all worked out flawlessly and all major documents arrived as planned and as needed.  We left the hotel a little after 8 to take the 40 minute van ride to the airport.  Our guide, David, was awesome and walked us through all the check in process, even getting our baggage overage fees waived!  He took us to the security check in and stood outside the area to be sure we passed security safely and then waved us goodbye!  It is share the emotions of such a momentous week with someone you may never see again.  David was really a great guide and quite helpful.

The flight, to be honest, had me very nervous.  We had heard so many things about cleft babies having major issues on planes with their ears and the pressure causing them great pain and distress.  Hannah was already dealing with some seriously intense emotions, so I wasn't sure how we would cope.  I packed snacks and a bottle and hoped and prayed for the best.  She had a major meltdown right when we got on the plane, which lead to yet more China staring.  Oh my....the China staring.  Truly, I do not miss the staring.  This was yet another time I really wanted desperately to hold a sign saying, "I just met this child four days ago!  She is angry about the situation and I don't know how to comfort her.  Please, just act like we are not here and I will do my best to calm her down quickly, but you staring is only making matters worse."  Fortunately she gave up the fight just prior to take off and slept through all take off and landing and then got really mad one more time as we taxied to the gate.  All things told, it could have been far worse. 

We claimed our luggage and met our new guide for the week, Aron.  Aron hosts all the Lifeline families that come through Guangzhou and she is very organized and methodical about getting you through each step of the consulate phase.  I love organized and methodical.  She met us right at baggage claim and had maps of the area around the hotel, restaurants marked, and a full schedule for the week.  She loaded us in the van to the hotel and told us what time to meet tomorrow as she stayed at the airport to greet another family due to arrive.

The new hotel was.....glorious compared to what we had in Nanning.  Nanning wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  There was just not a lot of space for hotel dwelling and suitcases, etc.  The Garden hotel was very grand---doormen and bell boys and exquisite everything.  The room was a large suite with a living room that was off the bedroom and bathroom.  More room for Hannah to play and more space for us to feel like she could nap and we could do other things.  It was closer to a "home" like setting, though it was still difficult to be in a hotel.

The week in Guangzhou was not at all like the week in Nanning, but it was very difficult in its own respect.  Hannah's grief really started to boil over in Guangzhou (well, it had started in Nanning) and we were jet lagged and road weary.  I felt like in Nanning I was supposed to be over the top thrilled and happy all the time, despite how difficult some of what we were going through was.  Finally, within the first two hours in The Garden in Guangzhou, I let the floodgates open and sobbed to Chris, sharing some of what was going on in my heart.  It was a hard day.  A day of a lot of tension (the flight, packing, a new hotel, yet another week ahead of appointments, a new place to figure out, homesick, missing our kids, grief with Hannah) and getting to the hotel was just enough to trigger a meltdown.  This was a meltdown of many to come from both Hannah and I during our week in Guangzhou...all productive and necessary meltdowns.  Just part of the process.  Lots to take in, lots of changes, lots to face, and so much unknown.

Our week in Guangzhou was filled with consulate appointments and sight seeing while we waited for paperwork to be processed related to Hannah's visa to enter the United States.  All the adoption paperwork had been processed in the province, now we needed her golden ticket to be able to come home with us.

Welcome to Guangzhou!  The view out our hotel room window.
 Streets of Guangzhou when we ventured out to shop in the Aeon (supermarket/Walmart type store).  Oh the was an adventure all by itself).

So interesting to see sights around Guangzhou.  Such pristine and fancy hotels and business districts surrounded by random, rather run down looking apartment buildings.  And the cars.  So many cars!  And scooters!

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