Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shamian Island

At the southern end of the huge city of Guangzhou lies a small 'island' separated from the mainland by a couple of rivers.  The circumference of Shamian Island can be walked in less than thirty minutes, and most of the roads on it are small, including several that criss cross through the middle that do not allow cars.  Relatively speaking, it is kind of quaint…and as our bus turned onto one of only a few bridges that connect it to the main city, we felt a neat sense of being home.  You see, when we adopted Sofi, we spent two weeks here, stayed at a place called the White Swan Hotel (which is now under renovations), and traversed these roads for countless miles.  The rest of our group was happy to be away from the overwhelming noise and congestion that have become familiar in the big city….we were happy to be back!

Seven years ago, Shamian Island had everything that adoptive parents would need, so just as all families now end their journey in the big city, back then it was at the White Swan.  The memories came flooding back as we saw the place that did our laundry, visited the shops that still bore the same names as they did before, and even ate lunch at Lucy's….which, to our joy, looked exactly as it did years ago!

The island has been invaded by Subway and Starbucks, and since adoptive families are no longer channeled through here, we did see a few of our old stores closed, with chains on the doors, and the signs taken down.  I suppose it is easier and more convenient to have us in the heart of the city, close to more western eateries and options, but for us, this is still a very special place!

Zoe is making great strides in lots of ways!  She is adjusting to us, and vice versa.  She is a great sleeper, eats pretty much anything that you put on her plate, and is communicating quite well to tell us what she needs.  We are anxious to see how the transition will be when we arrive home in Vermont, but we heard a bit of troubling news today that may delay that day.  Apparently there is a problem with the flow of visas being issued and approved back home in D.C.  In the 15 years that our guide has been working with families he has not seen things be this delayed, and we met several families that were supposed to go home days ago that are still here.  We will know more on Tuesday, but if you are looking for something to add to your prayer list, please think of us and the paperwork!