Aelex’s Adoption Diary

Sunday February 23, 2003

The day before the first day of the rest of our lives.

  • The world’s hardest bed with the world’s hardest working mother-to-be!
  • The reason why I was only allowed to bring 2 pairs of pants for a 2 week trip.
  • I guess it loses something in the translation.
  • Live from Nanjing it’s the Mark and Dorothy Adoption Hour!

We just flew into Nanjing and boy are our arms tired! (Ba-bum-bum) Nothing too exciting today. Both Dorothy and I were up before dawn again. I have no idea if this is normal or not, but there is not too much we seem to be able to do about our bizarre sleep patterns. We are like Amish people, living by the rising and setting sun.

Our morning was pretty uneventful. After our customary 6 A.M. breakfast, we went for a walk around Beijing trying to stay off the main streets to get a better sense of real Chinese life. These are an active people. It is rare to see anyone just standing around taking up space. Most everyone who is out on the street is riding a bicycle (and defying the immutable laws of common sense), walking at a healthy clip or performing some type of exercise, very often Tai Chi, but occasionally their own personal brand of calisthenics.

In addition to maintaining this steady level of activity, the Chinese are above and beyond all, what we in the individualistic west would call team players. After our walk this morning, Dorothy and I decided to go to the courtyard cafe in our hotel for a mid-morning snack (we had been awake for 5 hours at this point) — where I had a dandy coconut milkshake, but that’s neither here nor there — and a group of about 5 hotel employees were polishing the stone floor of the adjacent dining area which was about the size of a quarter of a football field. If I had to estimate how long it would take 5 minimum wage janitors in the U.S. to clean the same space I would estimate at about a week and a half. These guys pulled it off in the time it took me to finish my milkshake. They were a well oiled machine. Not a word was spoken between the group as they went about their jobs. Each knew exactly what they were to do and how what they were doing would affect the next person. If I owned a hotel, I would pay for these five to come over and work for me any day. This was neither the first nor the only instance of superior teamwork we have seen since we arrived. The whole communist, cooperative, all for one, one for all gestalt is truly a sight to behold. The Chinese are going to be force to be reckoned with in the future. Mark my words.

After our beverages, we packed, checked out and met up with our new handler (William, a pleasant kid with excellent english, but he was no Bonnie — but then again who is?) who escorted us on our death-ride to the airport. The domestic Beijing to Nanjing flight process was surprisingly painless. Our flight was delayed by an hour but no biggie. We got where we needed to go.

We landed in Nanjing and were met by a man but I cannot tell you who he was because he knew even less english than we know Chinese. We all spent a lot of time smiling at each other and pointing at things and nodding. He was cool and got us to our hotel in one piece. In fact he was the safest driver we have encountered to date in China, which leads me to believe that he not really from here. Regardless, we checked into our hotel which is not as nice as our Beijing digs but should suffice for our purposes.

From what we saw on the drive through Nanjing, I have to say, I think this may be a prettier city than Beijing. It seems more… I guess European would be the word I am searching for — than Beijing. Since we have yet to venture outside I cannot confirm this. They are building everywhere here. Seriously, I mean everywhere. I have never seen as much massive construction in one place in my life. The investment capital must be flowing in crazy fast.

That’s about it for now. We should be receiving a knock on our door tomorrow morning around 9 A.M. with a certain little girl on the other side. I cannot explain how excited Dorothy and I are right now. We are about 12 hours away from being the parents of a 1 year old girl. Happiness is indeed our middle name at the moment. I cannot guarantee that we will get to post anything tomorrow, as we will have other matters to attend to but we will at least try to put up some pictures if we get a chance. So keep checking back often for the next day or two. We are all about to meet our daughter…

Going worldwide from the former capital of China…