Thursday, June 30, 2011

Silly, Sweaty Americans

I believe that people in China do not sweat. Other than my husband and myself, I believe that nobody in the entire province of Guangxi has sweated since we got here.

Yesterday Ben and I had an incredible, eventful day in our daughter's hometown. We traveled 2.5 hours in a downpour because it rains every day here. Just an interesting (terrifying) side note: in downpours, nobody turns on their car's headlights. When it got to near monsoon levels of water, some vehicles put on their emergency flashers...emphasis on the word some.

Fortunately, we survived the trip and were able to do some sightseeing as well as have lunch. Our daughter's hometown is famous for pearls, so we had decided to buy her a pearl necklace and earrings for when she is older. We thought it would be a special gift connecting her to her hometown.

Our guide, always looking out for our best interest, said she could not verify the quality of the pearls, as she is not an expert in that and that we could most likely spend much less money when we traveled to Guangzhou as opposed to buying right in Hepu. We explained that we knew we couldn't afford top-of-the-line pearls and that we also knew they would probably be cheaper in Guangzhou, but wanted to buy them here anyway, as a memento from her hometown. I'm sure she was thinking, "Silly American", but was too polite to say it out loud.

So we are in the jewelry store, which had the doors to the street open, (no air-conditioning, of course) and there was a brief reprieve from the rain. Humidity was still about 8000%. As we are talking to the nice sales clerk - okay, maybe talking was too generous a term. As we were pointing and grunting, using hand gestures in a very Neanderthal-like manner and the sales woman smiled politely - we began to sweat.

This was not a typical drop here and there, nor was it standard "hot day in Minnesota" sweat. The sweat gushed out of us. It dripped on the display case. Several sales people gathered around to help us. They turned on a fan and blew it at us. They gave us cups of water. They gave us tissues to wipe our sopping faces. As I looked at them, I realized they didn't even have a droplet of sweat on their brow and our guide had her long-sleeved shirt on.

As we were the only non-Chinese people we saw in the town (population 500,000) I am afraid we gave a less than flattering impression of sweaty, sweaty Americans.

I also got visit our daughter's finding place. I'm sorry, but I am not a good enough writer to describe just how that made me feel. Before going, I imagined how I might feel seeing it, but I don't think anything could really prepare me for all the emotion involved in it.

We were also allowed to have lunch with the director of our daughter's SWI (social welfare institude, aka the orphanage she was affiliated with), the head of foster care at our daughters SWI, and our daughter's foster mother. I will post more information about how that meeting went, later. It was such an overwhelming experience, that I feel like I need to mentally process it a bit more before sharing. It was a difficult, but priceless experience that I will be grateful for forever.

Other than the insane heat, things continue to go well with Veronica. She continues to be a delight, and really only seems to struggle when she is tired. She will often scream for a good 10 minutes before bed. It is hard to see her so sad, but I am sure things will continue to improve as our time together increases.

I am still amazed at just how well things have been going.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

How wonderful that you met the foster mother. As hard as that must have been, it will be priceless that you can relay that memory to Veronica some day.