When we came to China, it was really tempting to travel all the time and try to see as much as possible of the vastness of China. But I decided that I wanted us to LIVE in China rather than be tourists in China. So we've stayed in Xiamen, doing like the Chinese people – going to work, going to school, shopping, riding the bus, walking, eating, sleeping.
But we're making an exception to spend a week in Guangxi Province, where Zoe and Maya were born. We leave on Sunday for Nanning. We'll stay at the Majestic Hotel (where we stayed when we adopted Maya – for Zoe’s adoption, we stayed at the YongJiang Hotel in Nanning). On Monday morning, we'll go to Mother's Love Orphanage, where Maya lived from the time she was 2 months old until she went into foster care at age 10 months. We hope that her foster family will be meeting us at Mother's Love on Monday morning.
Then on Monday afternoon we will head for Guiping, where both Zoe and Maya are originally from (Maya was transferred to Mother's Love Orphanage from the Guiping Social Welfare Institute (that's an orphanage for the uninitiated!) when she was 2 months old because she was very small and very sick). Tuesday morning we will visit Guiping SWI and then take the orphanage director and staff to lunch. I also want to take them shopping to buy something that the orphanage needs. We're hoping that Mr. Gan, the retired director of the orphanage, can also join us for lunch – he's the one who handed Zoe to me on October 8, 2001.
In the afternoon, we will be able to visit the girls' finding sites, and I want to see the old orphanage building, too, if it is still standing. (Neither of the girls lived in the new orphanage building.) I want also to visit the nearby town of Jintiancum, which is the site of a famous peasant rebellion in China. Mr. Gan told me that all the children from Guiping are given the surname of Jin because they are named after this town.
On Wednesday morning we go to Guilin, the site of the beautiful Li River and the famous karst mountains pictured frequently in old Chinese paintings. We'll play tourist for two days, and then on Friday we take a cruise on the Li River to the town of Yangshuo. We will stay in Yangshuo until Sunday, and we're promised an opportunity to plant rice with local farmers and take a bamboo raft on the river. Saturday night we will attend a musical performance of some of the local ethnic minority groups. Sunday we fly back to Xiamen.
The girls are very excited about going to Guangxi Province. We've been looking at the blogs of their adoption trips (click on Journey to Zoe or Journey to Maya to the right), and they are looking forward to seeing the sights again.
We'll try to blog while we're gone, but I don't know what our internet access will be, especially in Guiping and Yangshuo. We'll definitely fill you in on all the doings after we get back if we can't post while we're gone!