Monday, April 25, 2011

More Pictures from the Journey

Aiden's new glasses!

Rickshaw driver passing us

Don't look too close, but this is an example of the "potty pants!"

Part of our "Scenic Route" on the way to Metro

Crazy drivers

Our driver, Joe!

Rednecks have made it to China!!!!

Such a happy boy! Starting to sit on my own.

Examples of apartment buildings

Taking in all the sights!

Chilling at the new apartment while Mama and Daddy clean

Our sweet new friend Ashley Jane or "AJ" :)

Aiden and Aaron...the manager of the hotel restaurant. He wanted to hold Aiden so bad but apparently was timid about asking for awhile. Now they are buds!

Shopping at Carrefore

Strange fruit we were brought the other night at dinner...not sure what it was but it was good!

Driving School and Scenic Routes

I'm pretty sure that if we were to attend a driving class here in China this would be how it would go…

Instructor: Hello Class

Class: HONK!!!!!!!

Instructor: Well, I see that you have already learned the first major lesson in driving.

Class: HONK! HONK!!!!!!!!

Instructor: There are many different ways to use your horn but the first thing you need to know is that you must ALWAYS blow your horn constantly or else you may die.

Class: HONK HONK HONK HONK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Instructor: You can send many different messages with your horn. 1. GET OUT OF MY WAY! 2. I'm coming through whether you want me to or not. 3. I said GET OUT OF MY WAY. 4. A friendly hello honk. 5. GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!! 6. I'm right behind you and am trying to make you pee your pants by scaring you to death. And finally…7. GET OUT OF MY WAY!

CLASS: HONK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

INSTRUCTOR: Very good…you all passed the driving class. Now go and honk your horns!

Well, that may not be EXACTLY how the class would go…but that's what my mind tends to think. Goodness knows that horns are being blown every second and from all directions. Craziness. I think though that they love noise here. They will shoot off fireworks at all times of the day and I haven't fully figured out why. Now, you are talking to a girl who LOVES fireworks with everything in me! Maybe that's why I'm a July 5th baby…I love celebrating July 4th with LOTS OF FIREWORKSJ!!!! But here there is no real purpose, especially when they shoot them off in the middle of the day… you can't see them! So all it does is just make really loud noise…maybe to cover up the sound of the honking horns, who knows! Maybe that will be my job here…teach them what good fireworks are and when to shoot them off. If any of my followers live in South Carolina, you may be called upon to ship some over here for training purposes. J

Well…our air shipment finally arrived on Friday so we have at least a few more of our things! YEA!!!!!! So we spent most of the day on Friday and Saturday cleaning the apartment and getting that stuff organized. Then we also learned that the slow boat to China containing our Sea Shipment has docked!! WHOO HOO!!!! And that was at least 5 days ahead of schedule…now just waiting for customs to clear it so we can move on it and finally be settled. I told Jeffrey as we were walking the apartment trying to envision where to put our stuff that I honestly couldn't remember what all we brought since its been almost 2 months since I've seen our furniture…well it may not be that bad, but in my hotel tired mind it is!

Our wonderful driver here, Joe, is so sweet and a very safe driver…but he has no idea where anything is. That has been an interesting challenge and has really made Jeffrey and I want to learn Chinese much faster so we don't always have to call someone to ask them to translate for us! Aren't we just a sorry pair! But we finally did order Rosetta Stone to work on and then beginning in the summer we will have an instructor come out to the house for some one on one training.

As Joe was taking us to Metro (a big store like Sams or Costco) on Friday we started to get a little worried on our way back. We were definitely taking the "scenic route" and were on a road that I don't think many cars travel down. He stopped to ask directions of a lady carrying a basket down the road. Even though I couldn't understand what they were saying her message was clearly that she thought we were idiots for being where we were! But hey…he got us back to the apartment in half the time it took to get there…so bring on the scenic route! Pictures will follow later.

Aiden is starting to get better about sleeping, but he still has those wonderful screaming moments. Mostly they are when he doesn't get his proper naps in a day…so we are working on that slowly but surely. I just think he is about as hotel tired as we are and ready for a real home with his own room.

Time marches on and we are slowly getting accustomed to life here. We bought ourselves our house shoes this week and now we just have to remember to always take them with us when we go to visit our friends in the area. Mine are bright yellow Crocs that Jeffrey laughs at but says that it is totally my personality…not sure what he means by that but…J!

Excited to see what fun this week brings. Our plans are to go visit one of our new friends who just had a baby and keep her company as her husband goes back to work for a day or two, get together with Julie and her precious 3 girls and Aiden's new friend Noah for lunch and shop at the furniture mall for some rugs for our apartment. Then, if the men will keep the kids, Julie and I need to go to the mall downtown and check out their baby store there to see what all kind of goodies we can find!

Until next time…thanks for joining us in our journey. We are excited to have you along the way!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Adventure Continues

For those of you who know the story of Esther, you know who is and WHO isn’t mentioned in the story.
That is our life at the moment. If you watch closely then you will be able to see and feel the wind when
it is blowing strong, just a slight breeze or if it is indiscernible at that particular moment.
I’ve decided to use this blog as a journal of sorts. As you follow our journey you will see the good times,
the bad times and everything in between. A new friend that I met this week called the ups and down
the 2 week/20 year feeling. There are days living in China that you get very frustrated and homesick that
you don’t think would want to be here even 2 more weeks. Other times, life is so wonderful and you feel
totally at ease in the new environment that you want to be here for the next 20 years. We’ll see how
that goes.
Our second week in China began with a visit to the Chinese mall with one of the servers in the
restaurant here in the hotel named Beryl. She took pity on Aiden and me not knowing much and
decided to show us around. She showed up to the hotel wearing 3 inch heels and we were planning
to walk! I couldn’t believe it, but she asked me if I didn’t like to dress up. LOL! That was all I could
do…laugh! I love heels just as much as the next girl, but there is no way that I am going to walk around
China in tall heels! Just one of the many differences between our cultures. I feel so much more
comfortable with the area around us and how to get around after our outing. The fact that we can walk
to most places near us is a great feeling and it’s great to be able to get out and stretch our legs.
Friday afternoon took us to the International School here in Wuxi. Here we were able to meet some
other Americans and just touch base with them! So wonderful!!! We got together with an entire group
of them on Sunday for some good fellowship. (more to come on that…)
Jeffrey, Aiden and I went back on Saturday so we could have a chance to browse the grocery store at our
pace and see what all we could figure out. It was quite the morning. We started out by sleeping in more
than what we thought we could, but apparently all 3 of us needed the rest. Since we missed breakfast
here at the hotel we headed to Starbucks to get a pastry or the like. That was interesting. They have a
mashed potato and bacon pastry in there. It sounds extremely intriguing but I didn’t get up the courage
to try it yet…one day I will just to say that I did!
At Carrefore, the grocery store/department store, we browsed for hours. There is so much that we have
not a clue what it is, but I’m sure over time we’ll figure it out. If you noticed the picture I posted a few
days ago of the dried fish snacks…that just gives you a small taste of what we saw. They were little fish
that were of course dried, but it was the entire fish from head to tail. YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!
One of the things that I’m sad I can’t find is hairspray. I know that sounds totally vain, but my hair blows
around all over the place in the wind over here. O well…maybe that’s for the best, but I can tell you that
when we come back in December, I’m stocking up! Another thing that I really miss is my favored coffee
creamer! If I could figure out a way to bring that with me I totally would!
Sunday morning dawned bright and clear and we went to go introduce ourselves to some other
Americans. The great thing is they are like-minded. There is actually another family here in the same
boat we are that have only been here for 3 weeks. We hit it off immediately with Rob and Julie. Great
family! They have 4 kids…3 girls and a baby boy. Noah is exactly one month older than Aiden! They are
going to be great friends. We are excited to get to know them more as time goes on. Everyone we met
live within walking distance from our apartment and there are a lot of stay at home moms! We are so
excited about that! After our meeting we all headed out to Papa Johns for lunch. It was a beautiful walk.
I learned during this trip over that the Chinese will do anything for a baby. We needed to put air in the
tires of our stroller so we stopped at a local shop. The lady was so sweet and put the air in for us but
wouldn’t let us pay her no matter how hard we tried.
Once at the restaurant I had my eyes opened to another very different aspect of China. One of Rob
and Julie’s girls has to go to the bathroom so Jeffrey volunteered me to take her, which I totally didn’t
mind. These girls are PRECIOUS!!!! But once we made it there I knew J had to be laughing his head off
at me since he knew what we were going to run across and I was CLUELESS! There was only one stall in
the bathroom and in that stall was a rectangular shaped porcelain hole in the ground. This is what they
call a “squatty potty”! The two girls I was with were 5 and 3 respectively and have only been in China 2
weeks longer than I, but they were totally fine with the situation and were explaining to me how to use
it! It was quite comical and I fell soundly in love with these girls! They are true troopers!
Now if we can only get our Air shipment to clear that will be one thing checked off our list. It has arrived
but is still sitting in customs! This doesn’t bode well for our sea shipment!!! We love the hotel we are
staying in, but it is time to move on! I’m not a lover of cooking most of the time, but I’m so ready to get
into the kitchen and make home cooked meals again. We are debating now whether to buy a bed and
mattress and move on in or just wait it out. It will be really nice to have separate rooms for Aiden and us
to sleep in and hopefully that will help him sleep better.
Getting Aiden to take his naps properly at the moment is proving to be a struggle. I’m shocked no one
down the hall from us has called us in for child abuse! LOL The kid has some serious lungs on him and
loves to scream nonstop when he is really tired. Back at home he was great at taking naps and wouldn’t
really fuss so this is a huge adjustment for us all. I know the poor kid is really messed up on his time but
it makes things very tough. We are working through it though and I am learning to keep my seat while
he is crying and not to try and go calm him down every few seconds and he is learning to finally cry
himself to sleep. We’ll get there eventually (or so I hope!!!).
One thing that I really enjoy about living here so far that I didn’t think I would is walking everywhere.
That has been fabulous and great exercise. We went to a friend’s house for dinner last night and after
a wonderful evening of laughter, we walked the mile or so back to our hotel. It felt great and I slept
like a baby (well…except for the times that Aiden woke up!). Great exercise and makes it fun and very
different from living in America.
Well my friends…this is all for now. Continue to join us on our journey as we wait expectantly for our
stuff to arrive and Aiden to sleep properly!!!!!! It will all happen very soon…of that I am sure!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pictures from our Journey

Aiden has no idea how blessed he is to ride in Business Class!

Play time on the plane

Daddy and Aiden

Aiden checking out his new home!

Interesting snacks!

The view from our hotel!

Aiden and Joy

Aiden and Sisley

Grandpa at the Airport

MiMi and Aiden

Momma and Aiden

The Adventure to China

Well the adventure in China has begun. As Steven Curtis Chapman says, “This is the GREAT Adventure,
we’ll travel far…” and so we have.
The adventure began Thursday, April 7, 2011 at Hartsville Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, GA.
We were so grateful that my parents (Rick and Carol Davis) came down from North Carolina to take us
and all 6 bags, a stoller, pack and play, and car seat with base to the airport. I’m sure anyone watching
us was completely amused and thinking “Holy Cow they really over packed”! We have now learned how
NOT to pack on our trip back! The precious lady at the Medallion Member desk, Polly, was so helpful
and even gave my parents tickets to walk to the gate with us. Saying goodbye was difficult, but in the
end we knew it was more of a “See you later!”
And so the fun starts…the flight to Detroit was filled with babies so that was a blessing! Aiden did well
and slept most of the fight and even as we came down! Thank you for all who prayed for that part since
the decent was one of our biggest concern. But then came the LONG flight to China. One of the best
perks of all of Jeffrey’s travels is that he is a Diamond Medallion Member at the moment…this meant
that since there were seats open we got upgraded to Business Class! WHOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve never
flown in the front before and know I don’t know if I can go back to coach! At least not for 14 hour flights
with a baby. That made all the difference. We had so much space on the floor in front of us that we
were able to spread out a blanket and let Aiden play. He didn’t sleep a whole lot so that meant not a lot
of sleep for mom and dad, but we made it. Surprisingly since we had the stroller they let us go to the
front of the line at Immigration so that was a breeze and customs really surprised us…all that entailed
was getting our baggage (which with all the bags we had checked was a feat unto itself and walking
through. With the guaranteed 100% inspection on our air and sea shipment we were amazed they didn’t
want to inspect our bags, but we were so grateful.
Our driver met us as soon as we made it through customs and we began the journey to Wuxi. The city
looked just like Atlanta at night (well with lots of exceptions), lots of cars and signs everywhere. Their
billboards here are HUGE!!!!!!!!! We arrived at our hotel and were amazed. It is so nice and our room
is very large. We have a bedroom area, living area and office area. They even provided a nice crib for
Aiden. We are definitely spoiled at the moment.
The time change really began to wear on Aiden and the first night we woke up every 3 hours! After
being blessed with him sleeping through the night at home, this was difficult and I was so tired. We slept
in Saturday morning and tried to catch up on sleep as Aiden would let us. But I must say…the bed is
heavenly!!!!!!! After sleeping on an air mattress for so long and the not so good mattress at the Holiday
Inn Express…this bed is wonderful!!!!
We headed out for our first day in the city later that day and what an experience that was!!! First we
went to see our new apartment. It is adorable. Jeffrey did really good! Once we are in and it is furnished
I’ll post pictures. We decided to wait to move in until our sea shipment arrives…wouldn’t be near as easy
to live without furniture on this end like we did back in Georgia. Next we tried to go set up our bank
account but the bank was packed. Then we headed over to buy me my very own Chinese cell phone.
The iPhone4 here is very hard to come by. Many different people said they would help me get it but it
all seemed to be a little sketchy so we decided to order the new HTC Incredible S! It should be here by
the end of April so in the mean time I just got a cheap phone to get me by. The numbers here are so
different and I can never remember my number! But I’m excited that I’ve met so many people that I
already have 13 contacts! LOL! It’s the little things in life.
Sunday we went back to the apartment to meet the owner. Emily Wang has a baby boy as well that is
only one month younger than Aiden! I hope they will be very good friends. The complex is beautiful and
has a lot of areas to walk around.
So much here has amazed and shocked me. First, they all LOVE babies. Catherine Bland you were SO
CORRECT!!!! They swarm everytime we are around and if we have Aiden out of his stroller they will
actually come up and take him out of our arms and hold him. They all want to take their picture with
him. Yes, I realize that we do have one adorable child but never would I have imagined he would get this
much attention! The second thing is the driving here! Holy Cow!!!!!! Never have I prayed harder while
in the car! I do think they have any fear whatsoever here! They just go wherever they want and honk
nonstop!!!!!!! No napping in the car for me, but this makes me so thankful that we have a driver who
knows what he is doing and is very careful! Finally, (well there is so much but I’ll keep it brief) while at
the doctor’s office on Monday (getting my physical for the residency permit) this mom and her 2 year
old came up to see Aiden. I noticed his little bottom sticking out of his pants and thought they must have
just ripped but then he stood up and the other part of him was hanging out! I didn’t know what to think
and I’m sure my face said it all! His pants where slit all the way from the bottom of the waist band in
front right around to the back waist band. I have since learned that this is how they potty train. Yikes!
They actually make pants like this, parents don’t do this themselves! I definitely think that we’ll stick
with diapers for awhile and use good ole American potty training styles.
To wrap up this very long post, I’m actually beginning to learn some Chinese and the people are very
surprised when I say something in their language! The wonderful waitresses at the restaurant have
taken me under their wing and teach me a new word everytime we are in there. And they are wonderful
with Aiden. He has made so many friends down there and they all play with him while Jeffrey and I
eat…that is been very nice. I’m sure with all the Chinese that is being spoken to him he will be speaking
it in no time!
That is all for now my friends! We will do our best to keep you with us on our Amazing Adventure each
week. I’m sure there are many more surprises to come!