February 24, 2013

Nanjing day 1 = CRAZINESS and lots of pictures!

We both commented several times while we were in Beijing, that it didn't really feel like we were in China. Everything in Beijing is written in English (in part because of the 2008 Olympics) and most young people and those working in hotels, restaurants, etc., speak English as well. The traffic was a little more chaotic, but not much. It seemed like we were just in a big city at home.


We were expecting the same thing in Nanjing. Boy were we surprised!

It wasn't difficult to say goodbye to Beijing. The smog index today was 400 (out of 500). Anything above 150 is considered a health issue and anything above 300 is considered a serious health hazard. It was just disgusting. If nothing else, it made me very grateful for our fresh, clean air at home.


We arrived in Nanjing about 12:30pm and found our new guide easily.



Her name is Denise and that adorable little girl in the corner is her daughter. Denise's English is not nearly as good as Tom's, but we can still understand her for the most part.




Our new room in Nanjing seems to be nicer than the one in Beijing...the hotel in general is nicer too. It's attached to a very large, modern mall with stores just like we'd see at home.




Denise explained that today is the Festival of Lanterns. I think it marks the end of the New Year, or something like that. She wanted to take us down to the Confucius Temple area where the celebration would be so we could return tonight for the lighting of the lanterns if we wanted. It was obvious something was going on, as there was a LOT of people there.



We walked down a shop lined street and eventually made our way to the river area where she said the celebration would be. Then we went back the same way we came. Jon tried to capture pictures that showed how many people where there, but these really do not do it justice.


We were standing in the midst of all this craziness when Denise said, "Ok, see you tomorrow" and took off! Ummm....okay....where was our hotel again?


She had pointed out a few restaurants where we might find some good Chinese food and we managed to find one of them again. Just coming from Beijing, and just having our guide desert us, we assumed everyone here would speak English.


Not even close.





They had NO idea what we were saying. We turned the faced the people in the restaurant and asked "English??" They all shook their heads. Thank goodness our friend speaks a bit of Mandarin. He managed to get them to get out a small English food translation booklet which we used to attempt to tell them what we wanted. By this time, nearly everyone in the restaurant was staring or laughing at us; including the cook who would periodically peek out from the back room to have a laugh at the dumb Americans. We're still pondering why our guide would drop us off by ourselves in the middle of a HUGE festival in a city where no one speaks English.



We continue to be quite a sight. People stare at us everywhere we go. We are not sure if it's because we're tall, or just because we're white. Either way, it makes for some interesting outings. This group of police officers was staring us down until Jon pulled out his camera and the ALL immediately looked the other way!



After managing to find our hotel, we decided to take a short break before heading out to the festival again at 7pm. We were all tired and thought a rest might be helpful. At 5:00, the fireworks started. I'm sitting here at 10:40pm, and they are STILL going. They have been going NON-STOP this ENTIRE time. And I'm not talking like a few fireworks, then a pause, then a few more.....it's like lots of BIG fireworks in SEVERAL places ALL.THE.TIME. So much for a good night's sleep.


When we went back out at 7, we were surprised by what we found. I cannot even describe the massive amounts of people here. I said there was a lot before, but I wasn't even close. There are 8 million people in Nanjing and I think half of them were there! I have never seen so many people in my ENTIRE life. And once again, we were the ONLY caucasians. We are actually really starting to enjoy the staring...it makes for entertaining outings.


This is the entrance to the temple area. What possessed us to continue into this mess, I'm not sure.



The lanterns were pretty, although I'm not sure seeing them was worth the effort. I guess we can say we've experienced a major festival in Meili's province, and that's definitely worth something. Once we got out to the river area where we'd been before, the masses were moving in a direction we hadn't been and there wasn't any going back. Since we had NO idea where they were going or where it would lead us, and since we were STILL the only caucasians amongst thousands and thousands of non-english-speaking Chinese people, we thought we'd better get out of there!!







The festival remind us of something like New Years at times square, mixed with Mardi Gras and Independence Day. There was lots of fair or circus type paraphernalia and lots of street vendors with food.




Some of it looked very interesting and we would have loved to try it. But we're also trying very hard to not get sick, so thought we'd better avoid anything our guide doesn't tell us is safe.




We did buy Meili a balloon.



It's a weird feeling to have a crib in our room again. Tomorrow is a very big day. We will meet Meili about 2:30pm which is 12:30am at home. We had really wanted to ask people to pray for us during the time we would meet her, but realize most of you are not awake at 12:30am! However, if for some reason you ARE, please pray for this event. We would be lying if we said we weren't scared to death. This experience (so far) is so drastically different than the way our other children came to be with us and we just have NO idea what to expect. And after today we're a little bit exhausted and overwhelmed.


I'm trying to constantly remind myself of 2 Corinthians 12:9, where Paul tells us Christ's grace is sufficient for us, but it doesn't seem to stop the fear and anxiousness from creeping in. I think a huge part of it is the "unknown," so I'm praying that when we meet Meili tomorrow, those fears will melt away.


And if we're lucky, the next post might have LOTS of pictures of our little girl!



  1. I couldn't fall asleep until 6:20 am today. I prayed for you a handful of times between 11 when I laid down and when I finally fell asleep. I didn't remember that this was the time you'd be meeting her... maybe God kept me awake for a reason. Still praying... hope things are going well.

    1. Maybe I am still off by a day. I can't seem to make sense of the time (here) when you will be meeting her. Regardless, I was up all night and was praying for part of it... and if I am up again tonight, I will be sure to do some more praying. :)

  2. I'm remembering the first time we met out boys, ages 4, 3 & 2. Even when you know it's in God's plan, you are still queezy about how how the child will react & how you will feel when you're finally face to face. I am praying for peace & understanding for you and peace & comfort for your little one.
    Also, your post about being deserted by your guide in a big city in a foreign country made me think: this was a gentle reminder of how your little one will feel soon, except she won't have a spouse or friends with her.
    I know lots of people are/will be praying for you as you continue on your journey!!!

  3. Ahh, you experienced the last day of the Chinese New Year. Fireworks also started here at 5 and went on until 11pm and into Midnight! Chinese love the fireworks, anywhere, street corners, sidewalks, and BIG fireworks at that. US Central time is 14 hours behind us. We are living in the future! Hard to commumicate with family at home. It is almost 2:30 and I hope you will have your little girl in your arms soon. You have been in my prayers for a long while, I will double up on that!
    Your guide should not have left you, that was not so good. When you get away from bigger cities that have expats in them, English language disappears. Most young people should know some as they do teach it in the schools here. Holidays here are always so congested with people as they all go home to their families. Travel is more difficult, congested. Take care, call if we can do be of help. Pat