Jinan is known as the "City of Springs" for its 72 "famous springs," of which most converge on Daming Lake. Wednesday we visited Baotu Spring, the most famous of all. The landscaping and architecture are quite beautiful and promote a peaceful and serene experience. That is, until all the tourists converge on it. Missy walked us through the park and explained the significance of the spring and various "memory halls" dedicated to various persons of historical significance, including a famous female poet. There was a pond with two sea lions that the kids really enjoyed, and we spent a LOT of time looking at and feeding the koi. It was a lot of fun, I just wish I understood what all of the signs said; there is just enough English at these touristy sights that you don't get lost, but I'm sure we're missing out on a lot of good information. We left the spring and had a mediocre lunch at a food-court underneath Quancheng Square. We then said goodbye to Missy for the evening and headed back to the room to refresh ourselves a bit. Later we headed to Starbucks for more coffee and a hibiscus tea, before settling in for the night.
Today we started off a bit slower; we had to wait on Missy to arrive at noon with our notarized documents, so we spent the morning packing up for our travel day tomorrow. We met her in the lobby and then she came to our room to review our documents before we present them at the embassy next week. After we determined everything was in order, we headed out with her to lunch at a new restaurant. The food was decent, but the most remarkable aspect of our meal was that the seats were actually swings hanging from the ceiling. You can probably imagine how that went with 2 five year olds. We came back to the hotel and said goodbye to Missy once again. We rested for a few minutes and then risked our lives to cross the street to visit the Shandong Science and Technology Museum. This was definitely geared toward to younger crowd, with several play areas, but lots of interactive science experiments, too. The kids especially liked a driving simulator, and little miss MJ had a mini-meltdown when we finally pulled her away. It was a lot of fun, and I think M&M had some good bonding time. We're now back in our room after having dinner at the buffet downstairs; I'll tell you about it sometime - food is quite an adventure here.
Before closing, I'd like to share a bit that we've learned about out daughter in the 4 short days we've had together:
1. She is VERY strong-willed. Her pre-adoption report said that she could sometime be "obstinate". We'll "sometimes" is generous. I'm feel certain that she didn't spend her first 5 years in the orphanage being carried around everywhere, but if we try to make the little princess walk anywhere on her own, she'll sit down, cross her arms, and pout. Today at the museum we left her laying on the floor for a good bit.
2. She's starting to pick up a few words in English, and even more "gists" of what we're saying. The three of us are also starting to understand her a bit more, too. We're pretty sure she's saying, "stupid Americans" any time we don't comply with her demands.
3. Have I mentioned that she likes spicy food? Tonight at dinner she was dipping french fries in ketchup and hot sauce.
4. For the past several days she has been singing the sweetest little song in Mandarin, which of course we could not understand. Today at lunch she was singing it, again. Missy laughed and said that she was singing a song about the Red Army.
5. She likes Chinese Soap Operas, and will watch them as long as we let her. Probably the result of living in an institution that housed not only children, but also the elderly.
6. Her hand does not hold her back at all. It's really a non-issue from a practical point-of-view.
7. She loves her 2 baby dolls. She'll hold them, feed them, sing to them, slather them in hand sanitizer to "bathe" them...
8. She mimics Manu a lot. She also takes his things without asking, which is a little upsetting to Manu at this point, as he is very sensitive to the "rules" and playing nice. There are moments when it seems he really doesn't like having her around, but others when they're giggling together in some universal child language that reassure us that they will work it all out; they just need a little time.
All-in-all things are going well so far. We're just starting to feel each other out, but we're happy. It will be a long process for sure, but it'll be worth it in the end.
Thanks for following.
|The layout of Baotu Spring.|
|The bubbling spring.|
|One of the streams flowing away from the spring.|
|A shelter building.|
|Lanterns are everywhere in China.|
|Female guardian lion.|
|M&M at a play area in the museum.|
|Understanding the law of gravity. The kids, too.|
|Test-driving the latest in pretend vehicles.|
|MJ playing in a sand pendulum.|