Well, good news everyone - Michaela and I slept for nearly 13 hours last night and are officially back among the living! First order of business is to introduce you to some very important people I left out yesterday due to inadvertently preaching to everyone:
Our incredibly knowledgable, funny and extremely gracious guide. George just turned 30, was married last year and is very passionate about his job. We are so lucky to have this guy! There is literally NOTHING he doesn't know the answer to. Today he over heard one of the ladies in our group talking about totem poles. He immediately went into a very lengthy and detailed expose on the origin, makeup and meaning of ancient Chinese totem poles. First, I always thought totem poles were primarily (if not exclusively) a Native American thing. Second, not only were totem poles a Chinese thing, but according to George, the ancient Chinese actually invented them. See? Plethora of knowledge. This discussion led him into an even more intriguing one about the four most famous Chinese inventions - gun powder, paper, printing and the compass. Wow.
Our travel group
Brian (how bout that little "breadcrumb" from God - as Kaylea loves to call them, huh Uncle Bri?!?!), Sarah, Sam, Isabell, Ethan and Noah. They are from Denver. Also along are Sarah's parents, Lisa and Todd! - another couple of breadcrumbs. And how about this one: They are adopting a little girl whose English name will be Tilly! Not sure about spelling yet, but regardless - this is a big, like CROUTON-SIZED breadcrumb! We only know one other Tilly; how cool is THAT Ty & Stephanie!!!. Tilly is just beautiful! We got to see pictures today...
Then there is J.D. (yes, James David - yet ANOTHER bread crumb!), Lisa, Anna, Kay and Mason. They are from western New York and have the most WELL BEHAVED, mature and intelligent children I think I've ever met. Seriously. I find myself trying to up my game whenever they are nearby. They are adopting TWO little boys, Micah and Luke, so they will actually be here a week longer than the rest of us!
Steve and Jolene live in Seattle but Steve is originally from Michigan and "Jo" is from Nova Scotia. Yes, she is in fact named for the famous country song and her parents picked the name before they even knew that Jolene had red hair and green eyes! (The biggest surprise for me was that anyone in Nova Scotia even knew what country music was, much less liked it.) Steve and Jo are adopting a 10 month old baby girl that the entire group is particularly excited about meeting (you know, cuz she's, well - um, a baby). This will be their first child, unlike the other two familes I've already mentioned, who will ultimately have FIVE kids each, along with the last two members of our group:
Roxanna and Becca, who are here in China to adopt their FOURTH Chinese child, bringing their total to guess what? Yep - FIVE kids! Michaela and I are starting to feel like slackers... Roxanna's husband is back home with the other three. Wow.
OK. Now that everyone knows everyone, here are some pics from today...
Needless to say, we've had an INCREDIBLE first two days in Beijing, y'all. Tomorrow we leave the hotel at 7:45am to catch a plane to Zhengzhou (pronounced "Jin Joe"), the city where all our kiddos will be waiting for us to come get them on GOTCHA DAY, which is MONDAY - now just ONE DAY AWAY for us!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALMOST HERE!!!!