Saturday, November 07, 2009

Assaulting the Thousand Senses

So, today was an understatement of a thousand senses and not all of it was good.

Today was Clinic Day. This means JJ got his American Consulate physical. Simple, right? Yah. That shows what I didn't know.

First, we had agreed to meet the Guides on the second floor. Joseph, JJ and I are there at the appointed time and wait. Wait wait wait. Almost 40 minutes go by. Then Joseph's mom, who was having breakfast, saw the guide wandering around the ground floor in the breakfast area and brought her to us! This was after we had checked in the business center, the restaurant, out front down the stairs and around the side, rinse, repeat. Twice. The minute I saw her, I showed her how pissed off I was. I mean, she said to meet here! Why wasn't she here? On time? Whatever.

We walked to the clinic. Nice walk. Guangzhou is green, I thought. Lots of small shops and parks and about 10 couples in the same colored, similar styled, wedding dresses with grooms to be and professional photographers in tow, posing in a high style manner that you see in magazines. I was thinking something sarcastic but decided to be kind.

First, we sat and waited. Lots of that going on. Then it started. TB test - read the paperwork, oops, next xrays, pay money, then pay more money, ENT, height, weight, check out the scar on his chest, etc etc etc. Through it all, JJ was a trooper. I would say that he actually enjoyed himself. And he kept asking for a shot. We had to tell him, "NO SHOT! GAH!". He got the message after the Mean Mommy Moment Number 2 (not that we are counting or anything, hehe). Jeez. What kinda kid wants a shot? But you could tell he was used to the doctors. He was on the table or had his shirt up without being told. He knew what to do.

Then we had another slow walk back to the hotel. Right through the greenery and the sea of brides in champagne-colored princess dresses.

JJ found a friend. The 9 yo boy from the Lost Family. He is blond and beautiful. Of course every Chinese person wanted to have their picture taken with him. It was a very slow walk back to the hotel.

Then it was paperwork time. At 12:30pm we met. We got back to the hotel around noon. Hmm. No lunch. Okie. We didn't get started until around 1pm. In a hotel room 4 doors down from ours. Good grief. Just to set the stage... hypoglycemia .... Yah.

Let met tell you about the cluster that it was. The two guides were there with about 7 families. Instead of going over each paper, filling out each line, the guide just sort of went along, giving us a bit to fill in the blanks and then moved on. Even if we weren't ready. So she would have to go back and repeat herself, thus ensuring that even those who were ahead got confused.

And how many times do they have to say "you're filling this in as if you were your child" before people stop asking whose address they write in or whose birthday?? My patience was running out of battery.

And some of us had downloaded an old form. Do you think they had any spares? Uh. Of course not. That would have made sense!! Anyhow, we managed to get through it. Paperwork is hard and harrying. You have to get it right or the American Consulate is unhappy. And of course, for someone like me, it was a hair-raising experience. I sat with a nuclear science person from MIT and another guy who seemed very organized and we kept giving each other the raised eyebrows.

And at one point there was an Asian woman, who was traveling alone, who was like "blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda" throughout the process. And then she'd ask the same stupid questions and i am thinking "if you just shut the hell up, you'd know where we are! ARG!!!!!"

And of course she was "Hague," which meant a completely different set of paperwork and she says "well, I don't work. And we are adopting based on my husband's salary, and ummm.. How about 450 or 500k? Blah blah blah.". What an eyeroller. The three of us sitting together just rolled our eyes. Does she even realized that some people (possibly in the room) may have had to scrape to be able to adopt? Well, no wonder she doesn't work. She's an idiot. I was so annoyed.

So she didn't shut up and at one point, I looked across the room and said, "I hate to be a downer but, um, can we have one conversation so that it's not confusing and we can move this along?"

Then the paperwork was done and wo tou tong (I had a headache)! Of course it was around 2:15 and I was totally hypoglycemic.

After lunch, another friend who had flown in from the States to be with us this week, decided to test our senses. We walked into Guangzhou "proper" where "the regular people live.". Uhhh... Ok. We basically walked off the island. Shamian Island. Land of the greenery, adoption, cute shops and brides. And we walked into a new meaning for "Teeming Masses." In fact, we walked into a market area with shops of all kinds of things that test your imagination and assault your sense of smell. Scorpions, worms, eels, snakes, good god, bunnies, chickens, goats, good grief, sea worms, silk worm larvae, medicinal roots and hers and animal parts... Ok. I've actually had silk worm larvae before but I don't think I'd do it again.

JJ had his mouth and nose covered with his hands and at one point Joseph says "do you see your son?" Huh? "He's getting sick to his stomach.". Well. He's Chinese, why would he get sick? "The smell." Well. How do I know? I'm Korean! And Koreans don't smell so good!! So we hurried back to Shamian Island, Land of Idyllic Ambiance. And everyone was happy.

We rested in the hotel room before dinner and a doctor traveling with the group came by. We had a nice chat and he examined JJ, declaring him to be fine. I learned a few things about the doctors I need to make appointments with when we get back home.

Then to dinner which my friend had picked out that is about a block from our hotel. This was our first normal sized meal since arriving! Fresh steamed fish, tofu and scallions, egg fried rice, chinese broccoli, a nice bottle of wine, deep friend pumpkin and egg custard. YUMMY!!!

So, our thousand senses were assaulted today. And JJ was the only one who scored - pants, a shirt, and Toy Story 2 video in English with Chinese subtitles. Happy happy!

Ok. That's all. More to come.
I wonder if my hand hurts because of typing so much.

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