Thursday, October 13, 2016

Last day in Shijiazhuang City

Jinna finally cried last – the first night she spent with us, as she was going to bed.  We called the translator/guide to find out if she could understand what she was saying, and she said Jinna just missed the orphanage, and maybe hadn’t realized she would be spending the night with us.  After a quick conversation, she calmed down and went to sleep.

She continued to be super-easy, sleeping through the night, waking cheerfully, and eating all kinds of foods at breakfast.  She is not picky!

Then we got picked up again in the car to go back to the orphanage.  We kept asking our guide to explain to her that we were just going back to say goodbye, but we weren’t sure if Jinna really understood.  She was quieter than normal during the car ride, so maybe she did.

The orphanage in a lot of ways was better than I expected.  It had pretty gardens in front and we were told the kids come out sometimes.  There were also grape arbors and apricot trees, and the man guiding us around said the kids could pick and eat the fruit in season.

We were only allowed to tour the classroom building, but it was a happy, cheerful, clean place.  Everyone was so happy to see little Rai-Rai and we kept hearing kids call out her name joyfully.  Several teachers gathered to talk to her and say goodbye, and they even gave her a photo album with several pictures in it.  (We're not supposed to post pictures of the inside publicly... but can share privately if anyone wants to see.)

She seemed largely unmoved by the whole experience, smiled, waved, posed for pictures, and said goodbye as instructed.  A couple of the teachers and students cried as she left, but she didn’t.  We’re not sure if she felt very attached to them or not.

As we listen to her babble on and on, it’s hard to tell how much of it is intelligent speech, as opposed to just being silly or repeating things.  Our translator seems to have conversations with her, but they are pretty basic with the translator doing most of the guiding.  Jinna doesn’t seem to really question much at all…. Just goes along with whatever we’re doing.  This of course makes her a perfectly lovely traveler, and we are so thankful!  But it also makes us wonder how long it will take for her to realize she needs to learn English, learn to read, etc.

 I think we may have a long road ahead of us.  Pete acknowledges this, too, but isn’t alarmed as I was.  As the day went on his calmness wore off on me.  I know God has led us to her for a reason.  In this particular orphanage there are about 300 children and each year only about 10 of them are adopted.  I don’t know why the orphanage chose her to be “adoptable,” and I guess there are a few theories.

After the orphanage tour we took the bullet train from Shijiazhuang back to Beijing, which is a very pleasant way to travel.  The trains are very smooth and quiet and quite clean and orderly.

Shijiazhuang was a nice city to visit, and I wish we had taken more pictures.  The buildings were all lit up at night in various colors of the rainbow.  It’s a very large city, but considered a “tier 2 city” by the Chinese.  The whole time we were there we only saw 2 other Caucasians, so I guess it’s not one frequented by many 
international business travelers.  The other thing I will always remember about the city is that there were SO MANY bikes and mopeds.  When we were driving during the morning commute time, we were amazed to see how many bikes crossed the road at a time – groups of 100 or more would go when the light changed each time!

 Now back in Beijing, we checked into a Marriott hotel, which is amazing (and with a  much more international feel).  They upgraded us to a suite for free, and we were already getting an amazing deal (the Marriott credit card we signed up for earlier this year has earned us 9 free nights in China!).  The rest of the evening was a blur because we were so tired we had a hard time keeping our eyes open past 8 pm!

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