your best China travel helps

*Warning: Have a cup of coffee in hand before you begin. A very big cup of coffee. And be sure your kiddos are otherwise occupied (as in, put in that brand new Disney movie you were saving) because there is a lot of wisdom below. Did I mention there is a lot? Consider yourself warned.* I begged asked. And 220 of y'all answered. Thank you. I wanted to share because I know this information will be helpful for anyone making this same trip in the future. And I wanted to share quickly because, well... I'm leaving in 8 days. *gulp* Anyway, first a quick … [Read more...]

because I should be packing…

or organizing... or cleaning. I thought it would be the perfect time for some fun. Instead. You ready? How about a really-fun-super-fanastic quiz? I thought it would be fun to compile some answers to the following questions about your China adoption travel experience. After I asked y'all for help with special needs blogs links a few weeks ago (and y'all completely blew the doors off) I thought y'all might have some wise and wonderful tips to share with me, and with other folks who will follow in our footsteps in the future. What? Y'all think I don't … [Read more...]

Here, there and everywhere

Random tips, that aren't really meaty enough to deserve their own post, but worthwhile nonetheless.Before travel:If you are waiting for LOA or TA right now, here's my best advice. Get your rear in gear. Don't wait until some designated day in the future, start bustin' hiney now to get your things in order: paperwork, packing lists, gifts for the nannies and officials, whatever it is, make a list and start crossing things off. Right now you might be lulled into complacency, thinking you're never gonna get to China. But, believe it or not, eventually you will. And once … [Read more...]

Hotels, Guangzhou style

Tip #7For our first three adoption trips, we stayed, no questions asked, at the White Swan. That was where everyone else in our group was staying and that was where we figured we would stay. I did consider staying at The Victory for my second and third adoption trip, but wasn't confident enough to commit, at that time almost everyone stayed at the White Swan.But when we traveled for Shepherd, lack of funds and desire for extra space helped us make the decision to stay at The Victory. Since Shepherd is from Guangdong, I knew we'd be staying on the island for at least 12 … [Read more...]

The Chen Memorial… sort of

Today we shopped. I determined, before ever setting foot on the plane bound for Beijing, that I would not bring home a plethora of cheap souveniers. I made sure to only bring enough to last me the 2 weeks, and a bit extra in case of an incredible find emergency. So far so good, but winding down into this last week, I am going to have to buckle down if I am going to be able to fulfill my 'to buy for' list and still have enough money to buy a Starbucks at the LA airport.Which brings me to my next tip. This is a long one so better have a beverage handy...Tip #6: Buying in … [Read more...]

Botanical Gardens

As you can see, it was a beautiful day. The weather here is amazing, the sun on our faces felt heavenly. The last 2 times I have visited here, I was counting down the minutes to get back on the air conditioned bus, but I could have spent all day there today. It was that beautiful. I am still trying to learn to shoot in manual, trying to 'see' the light, trying to learn about exposure. Just know that these pictures do not even begin capture the day. But, if at first you don't succeed, blah, blah, blah. That's my current motto.Okay, movin' on...Tip #5: I am not sure if … [Read more...]

Guangzhou… hallelujah!

Tired. Worn out. See Andrea's website for the gory details... it was quite a travel day to remember forget. But maybe God had something to tell me. Anyway, onto brighter subjects. I considered, in light of my brush with death, to skip tonight's tip. But, I just couldn't leave you hanging. You, being that singular person who is interested in my nightly traveling-to-China tips. That's how much I love you.So without further ado:Tip #4: For communicating with loved ones back home, there are several options. We have used Skype in the past with great success, the only … [Read more...]

Almost outta here

We are heading to Guangzhou tomorrow, so not much time tonight... nor did we do too much of note today. But I couldn't resist posting this picture of Cole, it's one of my favorites of the trip so far.Onto the tip of the day...Tip #3: If you're a coffee drinker, at all, bring some from home. Do not expect Chinese coffee to be anything remotely similar to US coffee. You might think you can handle the stuff that is called "coffee" here, but be prepared for something comparable to the consistency of tar. And no amount of half and half and sugar can make it consumable in my … [Read more...]

Peoples Park

It was a beautiful afternoon, and if I'd have had a more willing subject, there would have been a ton more pictures. But he's a cutie, even from behind :)It's the middle of the night in China, I fell asleep after overindulging in noodles and red chilis at the crack of 7:30. And it was New Year's Eve. I know, I am a party animal. The problem was that I woke up 2 hours later, wide awake. So I got up and here I am. My sister eventually woke up to the sound of all the firecrackers going off and we laughed while we churned out another update for Cole's website. Either we … [Read more...]

Teng Weng and more

Thanks so much for all the great ideas for things to do in Nanchang. I had to giggle at TM's comment, comparing Nanchang to Detroit and no offense to either city, but I think she hit the nail on the head. Add that to the fact that we are the only family in our group and it makes for some fairly slim pickins. We did enjoy a good night's sleep last night and are looking forward to a visit to the People's Park this afternoon. We are trying to avoid the morning touring as the wind and the cold seem to peak in the early morning and evening. So today we'll be venturing out … [Read more...]