Sunday, November 08, 2009

Treasure Day

Yesterday was Treasure Day. Some we had to hunt for and others fell into our laps.

We went shopping on Shamian Island and I found the joy of bargaining. They give you 20% off. I ask for 50% off and usually settle around 40%. Some people say that you should get 70% off but everything is already so cheap that the additional reduction isn't worth it. It would turn fun into business and become too competitive. The shopkeepers need to feel good that they were able to get more from Americans than locals. We have to feel good that we got more than we would from other shop keepers. No matter how low we go in price, we smile and laugh and say "I'll split you 50:50". Even if we talked them down from 350, after getting them down to 250, I say 200 and they say 220, then we say, "split 50:50" and I get it for 210 Yuan. 6.8 Yuans equal $1USD. And at that point, we're only talk a cupplabucks. So both sides have to walk away feeling as if they bargained well.

JJ is a quick study. After watching me a few times, JJ started bargaining on his own. Except, uhhhh, noooo... We don't really want that fan, now do we??? Nope. Didn't think so. LOL.

We also had 3 outfits hand tailored for about 198USD. We pick it up on Wednesday and if one doesn't turn out right, we're not worried at that price!

We also found red crocs for JJ with Mickey Mouse gibet for around $3USD. He loves red. Totally cracks me up.

We had a pouting moment when JJ wanted Pokemon cards. Ok. Let me just say, I do not get it. What is the deal with these cards?? I mean, they are CARDS! They don't move, or talk, or interact. They don't even sing or dance! What is the fascination? So, we said no. Yah. Mean Mama Moment 3 (anyone counting?) and Mean Baba Moment. Glad Joseph finally had a Mean Moment of his own but I'm still ahead. Anyway, there was the stuck out lip, the jutting jaw, the sad eyes and large frown. It totally cracked us up. He's gonna get it real fast the Mama and Baba are not easily manipulated. He's a quick study after all!

All the way back to the hotel (about 100 meters) he pouted. Then Baba took him You Yong (swimming) and all was forgotten. JJ also has a short memory. LOL. I didn't go. I stayed in the room because I was so tired and my wrist felt like someone was stabbing it with an ice pick every time I breathed. So I iced it. And then took a percoset because the Naprosen wasn't effective enough, and then I took this and I took that and well... I think I was only missing valium and morphine. And Mom (Joe's) had a wrist brace and that helped mobilize it from painful movement. But the pain was persistent and it didn't subside until after dinner.

Speaking of breathing, in addition to advair, I'm also taking albuterol (inhaler) which I never use bit have for emergencies, and steroids temporarily. Yah. Not good. MGF Lilly's husband says every time he comes to China, he gets 5 years taken off his life. I swear I've had 10.

And don't laugh. Two words. Neti. Pot. Awesome for the sinuses.

Anyway, we've been observing and watching JJ and it's amazing. He is smart. Amazingly smart. Picks things up. Makes his bed precision. Teaches us Chinese - correcting our Chinese, even - and is learning English fast. He is now telling us he is hungry in english. He understands more than he can speak. And that he "needs help". The regret I have is not being able to communicate with him better. I watch my Chinese friends explain things to him, why he should or shouldn't do something and he understands. He is so smart that logic and reason appeal to him. And I have to use English and then ask him "dong bu dong?" (Do you or do you not understand? And he nods his head and say "dong" (I understand). Poor kid. But it shows calm under duress, right?

We show him how to do something once and he listens. And sign language is huge. And sometimes it's so funny, like a game of charades and we all fall down laughing!!

Now the usual 8yo boy stuff is a challenge because as Joseph says, "boys will be boys". Some of this stuff, Joseph has had to explain to me. Like playing while peeing. Uh. What??? Joe just laughed. I was dumbfounded. Why would anyone do that?? I guess if you're 8 years old, you do. But Joseph walked him over, showed him, explained and we've had no further episode that I know of. Phew.

JJ is exceptionally neat and clean and washes his hands without being told. When he is tired he always asks to go to sleep. Amazing. A kid who does not force himself to stay awake in case he misses a single moment of the dull sitting around his parents do before bed. Sometimes we have to say no and explain that if he goes to sleep now, he will wake up 2 and Mama and Baba will be sleeping. I guess in a way it shows he is secure with us. That we will still be there when he wakes up.

He loves hugs and kisses, and when you tell him you want a hug, he smiles and come running over to you.

When we arrived in Guangzhou, we gave him a drawer. His face just lit up, as bright as the sun. He put away all his toys and books. Not just put them away but arranged all his toys neatly. All his favorite things - the things we brought from his friends in America and the things we bought are equally well treated. I had to remind him to put his clothes away, too. I think it's the first time he's been able to have a space to call his own.

When we walk around shopping, he talks to everyone. Tells them he is going to America with his Baba and Mama. He is so happy and so proud. This is a kid that's been waiting for a family his entire life. And he is carrying on his own daily celebration of having that dream come true. It's truly marvelous (and sometimes amusing) to watch. And we found our treasure in him.

Ok. That's all. Today is another day. It's another paperwork day so we'll see how it goes. One family came rushing up to us at breakfast and said she was having a Guide Problem. LOL! So aren't we all...

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