Yesterday Rachel's sweet personality really started to come out. We got a lot more smiles, giggles, and a lot of vocalizing. A couple of times she said something that actually sounded like it might have been a little Chinese word, but it's hard to tell.
In the morning we went to a large park. It was really nice and very interesting. There was a big tower that Jamie climbed up while Rachel and I waited. It was a reconstruction of a famous Nanning landmark that was destroyed by the war. One of the little girls called it Rapunzel's tower, and it did look like that. Julia would have liked it. We also fed the fish in the big pond. These fish were huge, much bigger than anything I've seen back home. Harrison and Quentin, you would have loved it. We think the ones at the pet store are big but these were huge! There were so many of them that they were just rolling all over each other. Then we went to an area of the park that had Buddhist shrines. There were some monks there, and lots of people burning incense and bowing to statues.
In the afternoon we went to our guide's room and ordered chops for all the kids. These are stamps with their names on them, in both English and Chinese. Then, realizing that this was our last day to explore Nanning, Jamie and I took a cab to a big computer store. It was four or five stores of all computer, camera, and electronics stores. Just mind-boggling, and Jamie, of course, loved it. We then walked along the street and looked in a few shops. We got some steamed buns from a roadside stand and they were yummy. Rachel was a celebrity, and everyone looked at her and made a fuss over her. The young women just loved her, and a couple said "She is beautiful". An older lady smiled and gave us a big "thumbs up". It's interesting that it wasn't us that people stared at, but Rachel.
When we got home it was getting late and Rachel was very tired. We had a very rough night with her, though. She fought sleep and everytime I tried to lay her down she cried. Eventually she fell asleep in my arms and I eased her into bed with me. I think she was really overtired and overwhelmed. So many changes going on in her little life, it's no wonder.
This morning she is happy and relaxed. We are heading soon to Guiping to visit the orphanage. I expect this to be a long, emotional day. I'm so glad, though, that we get the chance to do this so that we can see where Rachel has spent the first nine months of her life.
Before I sign off I just wanted to say a few general comments about our trip. Everything is so well organized, and our guide Mary and local guide Glen are just wonderful. They are very efficient, and relaxed, and just very nice people. I love, love, love the food. I haven't eaten anything so far that I didn't really like. I don't know how I'll go back to cereal and toast in the mornings. I like noodles, steamed buns, and things with names like "fried glutinous I don't-know-what". There is a doctor in our group, and he and his wife very kindly rented a hotel suite so that they would have room to examine any babies that were sick. He gave us some prescription cream for Rachel's yeast diaper rash. So many people here are so friendly and helpful, with such nice open smiles. This experience so far has just been wonderful, and something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Still much more to come, and I know that well before we are done I will be very homesick.
Harrison, Quentin and Julia, we love you so much and think about you all the time. We hear that you are having a great time and being very good, and that makes us very happy.
Tomorrow I will write all about our trip to the orphanage. We're not allowed to take pictures inside, so the pictures will only be of the outside, but I'll try to describe it as best I can.
Oh, one last thing, thanks so much to all who have posted comments and sent e-mails. We appreciate it so much and thank you for your prayers!