Today we leave for Xiamen! We can't wait to see our new city, and especially our new apartment. I wonder what amenities we'll have, how many flights of stairs we'll have to climb, where the washing machine will be (likely down 6 flights of stairs!).
But first we have to get through the rest of the orientation this morning. Our flight leaves at 2:30 p.m., and the conference ends at 11 a.m. I woke up early today to repack our suitcases -- quite an endeavor after living out of them for the past week. But everything managed to fit back into the suitcases!
Yesterday was another busy day. The girls spent the morning at the Guangzhou Zoo, and were excited to see the panda (Bev, it actually moved while they were there -- it was eating! -- so that ends your speculation that it was merely stuffed since y'all never saw it move!). They also saw THREE GIRAFFES, which generated considerable excitement because they know that giraffes are my favorite zoo animal. But Maya didn't see any sheep (!) which is her current fave. Zoe found the elephants interesting since, she reported, some of them were brown. We're pretty used to gray elephants.
My morning conference was interesting because there were representatives from Chinese universities, some of them Fulbright alums who had studied in the states, for a Sino-American dialogue on higher education. It was interesting to hear that we share some of the same issues -- managing entrenched interests in a rapidly changing global environment, lack of resources, etc. We continue the dialogue this morning.
We had lunch at a restaurant on the campus, where the girls joined us. They did much better at eating what was offered, even though there were no noodles or rice! Zoe ate most of the crispy-skinned chicken herself! She was intrigued by the fried chicken head, but not horrified, which is a plus in China! She'll see many heads on food!
In the afternoon, the girls went back to the hotel with their college student care-takers and passed the time watching DVDs in the playroom. I went back to the conference, for more dialogue.
In the evening, we went on river boat cruise and dinner on the Pearl River. The food was bad, the boat was crowded, the floor show was schlocky, but the girls loved it all! Trying to get the food was the hardest part, since there was a Swedish tour group on board that was every bit as ferocious as the Chinese in pushing to the front of the buffet line! We just waited for everyone to get through the line and went last -- much more relaxing!
The floor show consisted of the usual loud non-Chinese music, Chinese-esque costumes, and pretty girls who really aren't dancers! But I've now seen most of their moves replicated by the girls again and again! They really enjoyed it. And Maya managed our first squatty potty without peeing all over herself! Yea!!!!!!
Obviously, this long day wore us all out -- the girls fell asleep on the bus back to the hotel. Thank goodness Zoe was able to wake up enough to zombie her way to our room, and I carried dead-weight Maya. She didn't even wake up long enough to put her nightgown on!
Well, our next post will be from Xiamen! I'm not sure when that will be, since I'm not sure if we'll have internet hookup right away. But we'll post again as soon as we can.