how do you sum it all up? and something to remember at AIT

Today found us making separate plans, but it was a good thing. We didn't have to go anywhere early this morning, but of course we still woke up at at 6am. I think John got up at 5am. After the boys woke we went down to breakfast where we met our friends from Australia, Anita and Nick. They came for a visit I think and the judge found out they were here so he's requiring them to attend all of the court hearings. How about that snag? They've been here 2 weeks and have 7-8 more to go. Another Australian family that John met on the first day has already been here a long time and are on their 4th judge. Apparently they keep getting judges that haven't done either an international adoption before or haven't handled an Australian IA. They decided to go to southern Taiwan for the week to help pass their time. I think they are here for 2-3 mos also, and already have about 2 months down. I think I got all of that straight, maybe.

Anyway, back to our day. We got to finally see our Jani girl (thanks Jami!) on Skype and of course it made me cry. I miss her so much. She had fun getting to see the boys and acted so silly. The boys could have cared less.

About 9:30 John and the boys left on their adventure so he'll have to tell us more about that. Since we needed to go back to AIT to get the boys passport, and since we had to climb stairs to the 3rd floor, we decided it would be easier if I went alone. They had told me to come back anytime after 11:30. I left the hotel at 11:30 and hailed a cab all on my own and made my way to AIT. I got there about 12 and the guard asked where my appt letter was. I said I didn't have one but that they told me to come back after 1130. Not good enough. He then told me they were at lunch until 1230 and that I would just have to wait. I almost cried, proving that maybe I'm not such a grown up girl. So I paced in front of AIT, up and down or 30 minutes. At 1230 I went over to ask him what time it was and then he promptly changed places with the next guard, went inside, and left me hanging. So I told the new guarded what I needed, I don't have an appt letter, and he says "they're at lunch, you wait for 1:30." Now I really wanted to cry. And before I could stop myself I said "no, that's not right, I'm supposed to go on up." He opened the door and said something to the guards inside and then let me in. I can't do anything simple, right? Isn't that what you're thinking? It's what I was thinking.

I get upstairs, check in at Window 8, wave to the man that I spoke with yesterday in Window 6 (he's from Haiti as a side note, moved to NY as a child, and has now lived in several places), and he tells me it will be about 5 minutes. He comes out and I proceed to look for the final decree that Sally said to make sure we get back. I can't find it. I panic. No one is at any of the windows now. So I knock and say hello a couple of times and Mr. Haiti (did I mention that I really like him, he's adopted a child himself) comes to the window and he goes to get Mr. Fu (who I also really like). Mr. Fu takes the packet and goes thru it and of course finds our 1st decree and final decree because why else, he can read Chinese and I can't! =) And then I'm off. As I walk out of the door, wondering if I'll ever be in there again, it occurs to me that this is the final step our boys need to go home, to a land they don't know.

I spent several moments today thinking about this place. I had taken 1 of our cameras to take pictures as I headed for AIT, something to remember the scenery, even of old buildings, new buildings, and mountains not too far away. But I couldn't. Inside I felt like it wasn't goodbye, but I also felt like China wasn't goodbye. You take a certain route to places, while you're there for your trip, and all too soon it's over. It's time to leave. Don't get me wrong, I miss Adam and Jani with a passion that runs deep, but at the same time, I want to bring them here. It's hard to describe. It's a feeling like this is part of my life, like I need to be here. My heart yearns for 2 places: Asia and America. Well, technically a 3rd cause I'd like to live in Virginia too. It's a desire to merge my 2 worlds. Not possible, but still something that I want for my children. Maybe one day.

For now, my part in life is to be in Texas and raise my children. And hope and pray that they grow up to be good people who love God and treat all people with respect. But I hope that maybe just maybe God will see fit to bring us to Asia for a little while.

So that's the best I can sum up my feelings about being here. It's bittersweet. It's the land where my children were born, it's the land where they became my children. It's a foreign land to me but at the same time so familiar. I can't say I'll miss the smell of the gas fumes, or sidewalks that aren't quite wide enough for a double stroller, but I will miss the people that have made an impact on our lives while here.

This is Eva who works at the Front Desk at the Feeling Hotel.
She helped Jace and us so much this week. She went way above her duty of working at the hotel.
Thanks Eva, you're the best!

So back to our day. On the way back I went searching for long pants for the boys. I didn't bring any because, hey, I live in Texas, and the clothes the boys came with were all shorts. I found some, but amazingly, the prices are higher here than in the US. Well for how I shop anyway. I had to laugh when in Sees I found The Childrens Place clothes. It was interesting to see pants that cost $8 in Texas be $13 here. I got them 2 sweatshirts, it was all I could find. See, I didn't listen to Laura and I left the only jackets we had at home because I knew they would be too warm. I bet they would have been great. I'll let you know this winter. I finally found Pais after searching all week, no one knew the store. I quickly found 2 pair of pants that have a drawstring waist which is something we really needed. I cringed at the 700nt I had to spend though. Ouch! Jace is super thin, you can see his little bones all over him. Jovi is not fat like they said, he's a very healthy boy. No bones there.

It was about 1:30pm before I made it back to the room. Maybe 2pm even. I was drenched with sweat. What a mental picture, right? Our first 3 days here it was in the 70s, cloudy, and it felt great walking around. Wed and Thursday were extremely hot. Not so badly humid like I thought it would be, like Guangzhou, but hot. Of course with all the tall buildings and mopeds around I'm sure that doesnt' help with the breezes and better air here.

The Australian couple told us of a shop nearby where you can buy puppets, something that is special to Taiwan. We didn't know the name, but got decent directions from Eva at the desk. Off we went. You take a right out of the hotel, then a left, then another right and follow the street as it curves to the left, then take another left when you get to the T, you pass the 7-11 and keep going and you'll see on your left the little store called Formosa Puppets. That place was the jacket. I'm glad now that I passed up the ones at the Handicraft Market.

From there we went to the Lego store that John found while out on his walk. It was on the 2nd floor so I went up while he waited with the boys. Go buy them at Walmart. A box that is normally about $20-$25 for say a Star Wars set is about $40 here. I'm thinking we're never going to find something special for Adam. Then we stop at the Cold Stone Creamery that we found. It's past the Wellcome Market to the left on TianMu Road. A guy helped us heft the stroller up the steps and into the store where the ladies sang us a song about ice cream and toppings and eating it. Once again we shelled out $15 for ice cream (eeeek!) only to find that today Jovi loved it but Jace did not want the chocolate, only the white ice cream, regardless of the flavor. Then he decided he didn't want any of it and proceeded to tell us it was time to go and get back to looking for his bobo.

We were going to go to Carrefour to search for some kids chopsticks, the kind with the attachment on top, but it was hot, and quite frankly my legs were tired of walking. We decided to have a somewhat early dinner at Mo's Burgers. John went there earlier for lunch and the boys ate so why not. They have iced sweet tea, YUMMO! And then I saw that they have 5 butterflied shrimpt for 45nt. Uh, hello! I've been craving those since yesterday. I had 2 bags, which sounds like a lot, but the shrimp aren't that big. It was really good though.

Back at the palace, er, hotel, I thought the boys would do well to have their baths and watch tv and chill out. In they both went, and I finally remembered to snap a picture of them in the tub. For some reason Jovi started crying when we took him to the bathroom. He hasn't cried before so I'm not sure what he was thinking. But it didn't last long. They started getting tired at 7pm and I noticed that it was dark already outside. Why does it get dark so early here? Anyone know? And now here we are at 8:45pm. What a day we've had!


Oh, I almost forgot. For the first time Jace went to bed without crying. Bless his little heart. It's hard to watch him search and search for his foster family and it's hard to listen to the cries that sometimes go on and on. But everyday is better.


David and Janalee said...

What a day you had! Laura probably had you make sure you got your final decree back becasue we made it home without ours! Long story. How funny, I have a picture of EVA also, she is awesome and so so so helpful. I know what you mean about feeling like you need to be in Asia and America, I can't wait to get back to Taiwan someday.
I am glad each day is getting better. You are all in my prayers.

Sarah k said...

Hey Jeri, I am so sorry for the AIT.They are getting weirder by the week, I tell ya. Anyways, If you want some interesting toys that are really "Taiwan", take a subway to the main MRT building. On the main floor we found some really cool stackable square things that rattle but you can do stuff with these you can't do with blocks. They are more like a square outline and not a block. Too cool. I got some for Jer for nastalgia purposes. Alos, if you go down a floor or 3 in there, there is a mall with great kids Taiwan books, and all sorts of stores. Have at it. I will email this to you too so you know!! I am so gald to hear that Jace is doing better. What a brave guy.

Jeanie said...

Glad things are looking better. I bet you are going to need like hours of rest when you get home its sounds like you are running all over the place. take care. Jeanie

Mo's Mama said...

So proud of you, my friend. Not sure I'd be brave enough to head out on my own. :) Sounds like another adventurous day and any day with fewer tears is definitely a better day.

Can't wait for you to get home and "normal" life as the mommy of four! God is so good.


Jennifer said...

I'm so glad every day is getting a little better !!!