What has surprised me the most about Beijing? I expected it to be a lot dirtier and harder to manage/crowded but the parts that we have been in are much nicer and cleaner than what I imagined.
This morning we met the rest of our travel group. There are 5 families total here in Beijing and then we meet up with 2 more when we go to province. Everyone is really nice and it is fun to meet people who have been going through the exact same things we have in this process.
The biggest blessing from the Lord is one of the other families has a 7 year old boy, Jayson, and he and Rand have become fast friends. Rand has been really attached to me this trip so far and, for the first time, he doesn’t want to sit with me on the bus or go somewhere because I’m going – he wants to do whatever Jayson is doing. Apparently the feeling is mutual. I’m thankful because I know it is going to be hard for Rand to share his parents when Philip comes into the picture and I think his new friendship will really help both boys. You would think it couldn’t get any better than that, but it does: Jayson and his family live only 2 hours away from us!!!! You can follow their neat adoption story here and here.
Rand’s blond hair and the double stroller (one-child policy in China) have made us semi-celebs here. Lots of people would stop and say hi and take pictures. At one point, Rand did a photoshoot complete with his entire repertoire of silly faces.
This morning we visited Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City/Imperial Gardens and then rode in a rickshaw to a neighborhood with really narrow streets/alleys and traditional homes called Hutongs. In one of the homes, the family cooked lunch for our group and we got to see what a traditional Chinese home is like. The food here so far is really good. Lots of cooked vegetables!
After a rest at our hotel this afternoon, we walked to dinner with our new friends from our hotel to a nearby mall that had 2 entire floors of only restaurants.
It was clever – in the mall, they had a little place where you could stand and it broadcasted you up on the jumbotron. Now we are back at the hotel and everyone is fast asleep (almost) and it’s around 9:30pm. Hopefully we will sleep through the night and be more on “china time” tomorrow.