Thanks to everyone who has left me comments. I can't log on to reply on Blogger, but I can read the comments on my email, and I appreciate that people take the time to let me know they're thinking of me. It's only been about 6 people total, though. My agents all waited till I emailed them personally, and I haven't heard from any family members yet. Maybe they forgot I'm here. Hehe, just kidding.
Yesterday we went to Tiananmen Square, where Chairman Mao's presence is strongly felt. Next door to that is the Forbidden City, the massive fortress where the Chinese emperors lived from 1424 to 1926. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, who is considered a hero in spite of his vocal disagreements with Mao, was responsible for the arm of the revolution that deposed the emperor and opened up the Forbidden City. It is nothing but a tourist attraction now, but it's huge and there are lots of buildings that have been converted into museum rooms. It's Gettysburg Meets Smithsonian, except much older by far than anything in US history.
Culinary discoveries yesterday include corn gelato. Yes, it's pureed frozen corn with a little bit of sugar added. It's delicious! It came with the Peking duck lunch, which is a staple in our tour package. The duck itself was also pretty good. It was cut into small slices and presented with a basket of mu shu pancakes and a tray of assorted condiments. We had to dip, add, and spread our way through lunch. A fun way for adults to play with their food! Afterwards, I announced, “I'm full! Now all I need is some ice cream.”
I was joking. I love ice cream, and there's plenty of it in the tourist areas of Beijing, but we didn't come here just to eat the same old foods we eat at home. However, just then, the waiter presented us with the corn gelatos.
Rick was impressed. “Wow, you can conjure up ice cream,” he said.
I'm going to skip over a bunch of stuff. We meet our next guide, Sandra, in 2.5 hours, and she's going to deliver us directly to the official building (which I am too disoriented to remember the name of) where we will meet AwesomeCloud. The kiddo. Our baby. The person who is about to become a third and permanent member of our household. The person on whom we've been utterly fixated since we first got his referral, since that fateful Mexican dinner at Sam Diego's where we gave ourselves barely an hour to make our decision, but actually only needed ten minutes.
(But that's not counting the 5 or 6 hours I had to wait for my husband to get out of work so we could have the conversation in the first place, meanwhile negotiating frantically with the agency and my boss so that their respective sets of urgent paperwork would both be done in time.
But that was the past, and now the real AwesomeCloud is very, very much in the near future. Am I nervous? Hell yeah.
Our struggles with the language, while not as bad as they could be, are emotionally taxing and socially isolating. The people who promised us they'd be there to help us with anything are actually so far away. This hotel room is brand new to us, and I'm a little nervous to be bringing a child here when we're not comfortable with it ourselves yet. The toilet broke (but my husband fixed it), one of the lights doesn't shut off, there's minibar food and bottles everywhere, the internet doesn't work as of the time I'm writing this, there are no sheets but only heavy comforters on the twin beds, the receptionists barely speak English, I don't know if the kiddo will want to sleep with one of us or if he'll need a crib, I don't know yet if the hotel lends cribs, it's raining outside, I don't know where else but this tiny room I can bring the kiddo to run around, I have a stroller but I was instructed not to use it, I have a sling but I can't figure out how to
tie it, and I'm really
of having to remind myself not to brush my teeth with the water. That is much harder than it sounds. Also, fending off dehydration by having to buy drinks all the time. I've slipped up so many times while brushing my teeth, I'm surprised I'm not dead yet. And I've guzzled ridiculous amounts of tea at every meal so I won't have to worry about stopping to buy a mysterious liquid in a bottle in between meals.
Although one mysterious drink turned out to be rose tea, and tasted very strongly of roses. The whole bottle was a bit much, but I enjoyed the first half.
Am I nervous? A little bit.
We're supposed to be on our own with the kiddo for the first few days anyway. We need to work on attachment, and that'll happen more slowly if there are people everywhere helping us all the time. It's not the absence of human help that worries me more, anyhow. It's the absence of reliable resources. My own space, my own books, my certainty that if I bring him here or there, we won't be in anyone's way. If he breaks anything, it won't be my property and it won't be all right. I don't care what he takes his frustrations out on in my own house; I'll replace it, or maybe I won't. (Except the cats.) I have bunches of things in the house and the yard that he can swing, bang on, stomp on, throw, or even break and I won't worry a bit.
Here, I can't even always rely on the ability to ask for what I need. We have a Chinese dictionary and some knowledge of grammar. We don't even have a map of the neighborhood yet. Our suitcases have gotten disorganized by all the times we've had to rifle through them. I lost my hairbrush for two days. There's a bowl of fruit in the room.
Okay, the fruit is a good thing. In the absence of chocolate, fruit is comfort food, and it's good for the kiddo too. I think it's complimentary. If not, it risks rotting, so I'm going to assume it is.
Some people have told me not to worry that he won't love me right away, not to take it personally when he doesn't, and not to think when he's throwing the mother of all temper tantrums that this moment will last forever. Well, I guess that's more productive than telling me not to worry about my house flooding, since it's flooded twice already this summer.
I wonder about the tendency of people to tell each other not to worry about unrealistic things. (Or realistic things, for that matter.) Does it ever help anybody? Maybe it helps the reassurer because they don't want to discuss the unpleasant details. Instead of being told not to worry, I'd like to be told what to do. If he's kicking and screaming and just cannot get a handle on his own emotions, and the most helpful thing a person can advise me to do is to not lose my own emotions, there's a whole level of helpfulness that's not even being addressed there. Maybe I'll stand there passively and tell the curious passer-by, “Oh, I'm fine. He's not.”
I dunno, I think there must be something more I can do.
Also, I'd like someone to tell me how to use this sling. And I wish I knew if it's the right size. Sometimes I'm afraid it's too big, sometimes too small. I can't alter it here. I hope I can get it to work right without strangling him or having him fall out.