(pictures show us doing the final paperwork to finalized the adoption on Tuesday; Keri and Vivian at the park in Changsha on Wednesday; Ken, Vivian, and our guide Vicki at the Yuelu Academy on Thursday; and Keri and Vivian by a statue of Confucius at the Yuelu Academy)
We've had Vivian now for 3.5 days and have enjoyed every moment! She enjoys attention from us and is certainly getting lots of kisses which makes her smile. We'll have to teach her how to give kisses and hugs and wave hi and bye. Vivian is quite active actually and very curious, just looking at everything around her.
We've done a little touring here...Changsha is not a big tourist city though. Most people speak only the local dialect. While Mandarin is the national language, there is basically a different dialect for many cities. Vicky speaks Mandarin, English, and the Changsha dialect since she has lived here for about 13 years now. Anyway, we've gone to a silk embroidery factory/museum. The tour guide spoke and Vicky translated for us. It was interesting. The two-sided embroidery is completely amazing. As a sewing and needlework enthusiast, I'd love to learn more about that.
Then we walked through part of a huge park. It was very nice with all the trees and plants. Vivian really liked that too. There are 5 gate entrances and the park spans the length of the city, just about.
Today we visited Yuelu Academy, an ancient school, and walked around the grounds. It is the earliest of 4 main academies in ancient China that taught Confucianism. Then we asked Vicky to take us to lunch so we could have a break from eating in the hotel. We had a nice meal: fried rice, a kind of egg-tofu soup (my favorite--delicious!), a pork dish so spicy that Ken and Vicky enjoyed that without me, noodles, and cooked cabbage (this was really good too). They use a lot of peanut oil, and the cabbage was definitely cooked with that. Again, the waitress commented that Vivian is very pretty. I am especially warmed by the compliments from local people about her.
We had a great conversation with Vicky about cooking. She remarked how easy it is to cook in the USA compared to here. Pouring ready-made things like noodles from a box, sauce from jar, decent-cuts of meat already packaged--she can't believe how easy. They make steamed rice here almost daily, and often make fried rice with left-over rice the next day. When shopping, Vicky buys a live chicken from the market, but she does pay extra to have it killed and plucked. Here the entire chicken is eaten. It is all cooked together. I am feeling a little convicted about taking some cooking conveniences for granted at home.
Tomorrow we will once again repack all our bags and meet Vicky to leave for the airport at 3pm. Our flight to Guangzhou leaves at 5pm and arrives about 6:10pm. This will be the "family reunion" where our travel group reunites, everyone now with their children at the famous White Swan Hotel--famous because about 95% of adoptive families stay there and of course do the "red couch" photos. Guangzhou is the longest stay of the trip. After that our flight is next Friday to Shanghai and connecting to our final flight to Chicago.