We are here! Yes, after a fairly uneventful (thank you God) flight from Newark to Beijing, we have arrived. I thought the 13 hour trip would be worse, but the plane does a lot to accommodate folks on these long trips (note: I can review Julie and Julia or 500 days of Summer for anyone interested).
A few highlights of our first day:
~A very intimate mass with Fr. Dave at Newark airport right before boarding. Wouldn't you know that 10:30 on Wednesdays mornings is one of the three times during the week they offer mass? Brian and I couldn't have been more grateful or felt more blessed to have had our own personal mass before flying out. We told Father the reason for our trip and he included specific prayers for Lucy throughout the entire mass.
~Making it through Chinese customs and temperature control/quarantine area without a glitch. Yes, we are still healthy! Keep praying!
~Meeting our most wonderful guide, Catherine. She was born in Beijing but has been working with our agency for several years. She has the kind of personality that you like immediately; you just want to get to know her better. She has a warm smile and is filled with all kinds of helpful information. For example, here in China they refer to girls that come from our Lucy's province (Jiangxi) as "spicy girls." She says that often they have personalities with a flare …hence the reference. I loved this! We also met two of the families that we are traveling with. They too, are getting their girls from our orphanage. The excitement and anticipation is so evident in all of us.
~We got updates on our girl. For example, we now know for sure that she has been in foster care and can say "dad" "sister" and "goodbye". This is good news! It means she has been getting lots of personal attention that will hopefully help her with this big change that is about to happen. It does make us sad as well, because the life that she has known and the people she has come to trust will soon be gone from her life replaced by people who look and talk and sound different. For this we feel awful. We also learned that she is "active, outgoing and not shy in front of strangers." She likes "watching other kids play." We were told that 4:30 is THE time on Sunday!!!
~Our hotel is quite swanky… 5 star right in the middle of downtown Beijing. Brian and I went walking tonight in the chilly 30ish weather. There are so many people and their sense of personal space is very different than ours. Traffic is chaos and there are street vendors at every corner selling trinkets and copycat items. But everyone so far has been very friendly and accommodating.
I am writing this at about 7:45pm Beijing time from my hotel room. But, alas, the wireless signal is too weak in my room to get a connection and I am too exhausted to go down the 9 floors to get the wireless access in the hotel lobby. So I will send the actual post tomorrow. For now…..sleep…I have been up for 28 hours and can barely think. And I must get my beauty sleep to meet our girl in 3 DAYS!!!!