Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6 Update- Jack's finalization and more Sofitel fun

Well, we just got back from breakfast, and I have to say- the Sofitel continues to woo me. I left out that yesterday we almost accidentally ate at the hotels $30/pp lunch buffet- which looked amazing but was definitely out of our price range. We realized our error pretty quickly and high-tailed it out of there and to something a little less refined....little did we know that this same fancy buffet would be the site of our (complimentary) breakfast buffet this morning! I would recommend the hotel solely on the breakfast I just had. An idea for you:

Coffee is served to you in a personal French press.
Fresh pastries and bread are brought to your table.
There is an omelette station, and a western buffet of things like bacon, sausage, etc plus an egg station.
There is a selection of different cured and smoked meats.
My personal favorite, a pastry, muffin, donut, and fresh bread buffet.
An entire tiered table of different types of fruits, cut into decorative shapes.
Freshly made Swiss muesli is served in small mason jars and it is UNBELIEVABLE.
There are four different kinds of fresh fruited yogurt.
And now for my personal favorite- there is a VERY LARGE chunk of smoked Gouda cheese to cut for your fresh bread. For breakfast. I have always wanted to eat smoked Gouda at every meal and now I can!

This restaurant is, needless to say, much fancier than our last buffet, but the servers were equally warm towards Elijah, even when he got noodles all over both himself and the table. He also enjoyed himself a cup of sugared milk in his coffee cup- he wants to be just like Matt, and won't let him get up to go to the buffet without him!

I should've started with this- Dad and Angela took Jack this morning for his finalization and police station/notary appointments this morning, so they ate breakfast while Matt and I stayed with the boys and gave Jack his beloved Cheerios, and Matt, Elijah and I went to the buffet after they left for their appointments. Jack is just the sweetest thing I've ever seen. He has the tiniest little voice and smiles at just about everything- and it absolutely melts your heart. His favorite phrase is 'baba babao'- daddy hold me!

All of the appointments went very well this morning, according to Dad. A lot of waiting around, very official people, and then coming home. I am pleased to report that all of our interactions with the Xi'an civil affairs officer have been incredibly pleasant- he was so thrilled to hear that Brighton is walking and doing so well, and even scolded the orphanage for not discounting our fees and saved us a $130 fee that we hadn't paid yet. He seems to be the nicest person and go out our way to help our family. All that to say- this man, who had a reputation for being incredibly difficult to handle, is very much on our side :) praise the Lord!

Aside here- we have discovered that our beloved Angela is quite famous. The other adoptive family that is here has used Ladybugs and Love in their past five adoptions! Pictures were taken. Too much fun.

Also interesting- there was a group protesting the local government outside the civil affairs office that completely disrupted traffic and made everything take a long, long time. Sometimes it seems like the Chinese swallow their government with a smile, so it's nice to see a bit of civilian action while we are here! And, as if traffic isn't bad enough in China- rather than waiting, people simply drove onto the sidewalk to get around the protest. Every time you set foot near a public street (especially in a cab) you put your life in the hands of thousands of other people around you. Yesterday, our cab driver drove straight across oncoming traffic- like no gap or anything- and expected people to stop for him. Thankfully, they did, and we are still alive.

Once everyone was back at the hotel (jack announced his arrival by saying 'im back!' In chinese and raising his arms) Matt, Angela, and I took a trip to a small market on our block to stock up on noodle bowls and some snacks. Angela helped us decipher between hot bowl and sour bowls, beef and fish favors, and good and bad brands. We also picked up some Chinese candies for the boys (ok, some for us too) and ogled over the different packaged animal parts. So much crazier than I anticipated. Not only can you get different flavors of chicken feet, but pig and duck feet also, which are much larger. There are also bags of whole tiny crabs, small fish, and shrimp that you can eat like chips, and different types of seasoned dried tofu. Intriguing and revolting at the same time, at least to me! To each their own, I guess!

Angela encouraged me to try a favorite drink called 'milk tea', which comes in a cardboard cup and straw. Basically, it's glorified hot chocolate/instant coffee- you add boiled water and stir. Except, there is also a small pack of gelatin-like substance that contains what I can not describe to be hunks of tapioca. Call me crazy, but all mixed together- it was pretty good. Having those chunks in there kept it interesting.... Will I get one, or won't I? Will I have to chew this bite, or not? It's the little things....

The remainder of the day has been very low key- I went to the gym and did laundry while the boys watched cartoons and took a stroll around the hotel. Watching cartoons with the boys is almost fun because every once in a while we pick up a word or two, or even learn a character. I've heard that the way to learn a language is to watch subtitled Soap operas- I think it's cartoons.

We are all excited tonight because we are ordering PIZZA!! Really, it's a bit sad how much we have been commenting about it today. We haven't had a bad meal since we've been in china, but after a week and a half, some greasy cheesy American food is definitely something to write home about. We are also looking forward to seeing our friend, Christian, tomorrow!

Chinese phrase of the day: We learned that 'you want' and 'peepee' sound pretty much the same. 'ni yao niaoniao' is 'you want to go peepee?' :)

Sent with AGAPE LOVE from my iPad!