Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Good Bye Hong Kong!I left Hong Kong today for home, while that might sound great and the getting home part is great. Leaving Hong Kong one more time without Kacey was very painful, I certainly hope to see Hong Kong again very, very soon. I don't think I can make another business trip there until referral, just don't think this tired heart can take it.
The people of Hong Kong are just terrific they've been so supportive during the entire adoption process, I've got translators on stand-by, an offer for a Chinese Work Visa if I need it and last but not least another offer to take the train over to Guangzou to spring Kacey out of the SWI!!! My buddies are as tired as my brothers are with this continued wait.
It'll be June in a few hours and I will be one month closer to Kacey. July would sure be a nice month for a referral, it's such a happy month!!!
May 31st was Dragon Boat day in Hong Kong, the parties started early and were scheduled to go late into the night. Good thing I got out early.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Promise Land for CCAI Families
It's Monday morning in Hong Kong, happy Memorial Day to all!
Everyone knows that my friends Sonia, Hugh, Cindy and Jimmy are heading to China in the next two weeks to pick up their precious girls---well you should know I've been braggin' about them for months!!
I'm emailing back and forth with Sonia during my business trip to Asia and when I land in Hong Kong I email her for her CCAI family hotel location in Hong Kong. I tell her I'll walk or take a cab over and take pictures of the hotel. Hell, I can't sleep past 5 AM I may as well do something useful.
So off I go downstairs to ask where the Regal Kowloon is located, the girl looks at me a bit funny and says it's across Moody Street. She and I are still having a language problem so I ask her to draw me a map, she smiles and pulls out a piece of paper and draws my hotel and the Regal Hotel, IT'S RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET I CAN SEE IT FROM MY HOTEL ROOM WINDOW. No way, Hong Kong is a big city what are the chances of my being right across the street, I guess they are pretty darned good.
This story gets even better, y'all know I work for Outback Steakhouse and the reason I'm in HK is that we are opening a new restaurant next Monday (June 5th) and guess where it is? That was an easy one, it's right across the street from the Regal Hotel Kowloon...you guys are coming 1/2 way around the world for your authentic Chinese experience and you are going to see a brand spanking new Outback Steakhouse out your hotel window. You're going to see an Outback and a Starbucks and a nice 7-11!!! Don't worry, there are tons of great Chinese stores and restaurants in the area too but we Western places/people do stand out.
Well, the good news, if you get tired of Chinese food you can just stroll across the street for a Bloomin' Onion or a Burger--we are even going to be open for lunch :) :)
A few random tips for traveling to Hong Kong:
- Don't forget your plug adaptor (or get one from the desk)
- You'll also need a currency transformer from the hotel if you want to run any of your small appliances, curlers, etc. I speak from experience when I tell you don't think 220V, well, maybe if I just plug my curlers in for a couple of seconds (1/2 time) it'll work. It will NOT work, your curlers will smoke, your room will smell and you will have to purchase a new set. Trust me, I pulled this bonehead move in both Asia & Brazil when I started traveling I spent a fortune on new hair gadgets.
- Also, never plug your computer or camera charger into the currency convertor, that's also very bad. Your chargers should be equipped with built in convertor (it'll say 110/220 V on the back).
- One last not so positive tip, keep your purse/wallet close to you, this city is very Westernized and that means pick pockets running around. It's certainly no worse than an average city in the US but just watch your stuff. If you want to buy some things just put a few HK$ in your pocket and use those for your purchases.
- Don't buy the cute Chinese baby outfits from the local stores in HK, they are 2x more than the street markets and probably 3x more than the provinces. I know, I know, you'll be tempted but just suck it up and wait a few days :)
CCAI folks, you'll love your hotel and the beautiful city of Hong Kong I promise. I wish you all safe and speedy travels.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
39 Beautiful Girls, OH MY!
Great Wall received referrals for 39 sweet girls, they come from Guangdong Province (10), Hubei Province (15), Jiangxi Province (12), Guangxi Province (2).
Isn't that just delightful! I bet that there are 39 families that won't sleep tonight or if they do they'll have sweet dreams of their girls. Some families expanded and some were made today, what great gifts.
At Great Wall these gifts were delivered via email, with the holiday on Monday the staff wanted to get the packages out so they asked families about a email versus a call...well to get your package to show off for an entire 3-day weekend the answer was yes, yes, yes. I know they missed out on "the call" but they'll get so much more via FedEx.
It's funny every time somone asks me if I've heard I tell them that they'll hear when I hear. Then I say, some people have babies naturally, some via c-section and I'm going to have one via email. The good thing about that...I can just push forward and share my joy :)
This is what it's all about folks, this is why we stay strong and continue to wait our turn!!!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I will not be beaten down!
OK, the official word in is and CCAA's May referrals cover June 7 - 15. That's 9 days this month vs. 7 last month well at least it's something!
I made a decision a few months ago after my meltdown and uttering the statement I want my money back (not a good moment) that I will not be beaten.
I say this to the CCAA, you can't beat me, I'll continue to wait as long as you make me. I'm going to China for Kacey, I don't care if it's Fall or Winter I'm going!!!! Whatever their reasons for this delay (be they good, less children being abdonded or bad, orphanges not turning in the babies' paperwork because of Hunan) that's all well and good but you can't get rid of me, I'm staying in line.
I told someone on Saturday that I've just given myself over to the wait. I'm not fighting it anymore I'm just waiting. I can truthfully say I wasn't even upset about the referral news, it was just as I expected and I'm happy for those folks that will be getting the GREATEST news later this week, I'll celebrate with them and follow their travels, picking up tips along the way.
It will be my turn soon, I'm sure of it. It may be the end of August or even September but in the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, "as God is my witness I'll never go hungry again" or in the not so immortal words of me, "there is no wait long enough to deter me from having a family"!
Linda, Jill, Stephanie you guys are next in the referral line and I'm counting on you to get me through the next few months I'll be living vicariously through you. Cindy and Sonia are going to handle June for me by heading to China for Kailee & Amelia--I'll be following along every step of the way.
So this is my plan and I will not be swayed...I love a good plan.
P.S. Why the rocking chair? Well M3 doesn't like all text on the post and it was the only photo I had with me on my trip:) The rocker was my friend's 21 year old daughter's chair...I refinished it myself and my fabulous neighbor Bonnie (seemstress of excellence) made the cool cushion & pillow I picked it up the day I left. LOVE IT!
Monday, May 22, 2006
Bad Words...Engine Trouble!
Worst 2 words in the travelers' vocabulary...ENGINE TROUBLE! That's exactly what we had today on Korean Flight 36 from Atlanta to Seoul. A flight that was supposed to be 14 hours 25 minutes (already a bit@@) ended up being 17+ hours. We sat on the runway and at the gate on the plane for a whopping 2.5 hours then had monster head winds the entire way to Asia which slowed us down even more!!!
Keep in mind that there are around 400 peeps on those monster 747's so not much of an opportunity to move folks to other flights. They have to get the planes fixed and fast. I sit upstairs most of the time, it's nice and quiet up there, all the easier to nap and read trashy magazines!!! If you have the opportunity to take advantage of business class on a 2-story plane sit upstairs, you'll love it.
The good news, we arrvied safely the bad news I arrived in my hotel in Seoul at 10:00 PM rather than 7:00 PM :( It's time for bed here in the East, 11:00 PM on Monday. Tomorrow I'll meet with my team, unfortunately little Minseo (pictured with her Mom, my Marketing Director for Korea) won't be there. She has to go to school...bummer.
Nite, nite all have a good Monday!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Special Day for Mom
This has to be a short post because I really am going to Korea now but I wanted to thank Terri, Kathy and everyone else involved for throwing my Mom a GREAT retirment party. It was absolutely fantastic and she was both surprised and overwhelmed at the wonderful turnout of all her friends, old ones and new ones.
Jimmy, Kevin and I have always been so proud of our Mom and seeing how well she was loved by her friends and co-workers it was absolute validation of how we've always felt about her.
The bad news, I have this fancy new camera and somehow I turned off the flash function, everyone kept telling me it wasn't going off but it said "automatic" and I continued to trust the camera...silly me!!! Oh well, I'll try and fix the rest of the pictures with photoshop but for now I'll just post one of my favorites of Terri, Kathy and Mom.
I'll leave you all with the quote of the day from my brother Kevin, he said "I thought Mom only loved and cared about me like this...now I find out she loves and cares for ALL these people. What's up with that?" I told him not to worry as the baby of the family he'll always be her favorite:)
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Mother's Day AddendumOk, so Mother's Day was not so hot for me but for a couple of people I know and hold dear it was the GREATEST!
Congrats to Lori, Marc and Justin they met Miss Katie Starr today in Gansu you can check out the photos at www.thestoryofyou click on the In China Now tab then Katie Starr for photos of the happy day. More happiness in another province where my July Secret Pal Z and her husband T were united with the lovely Katrena. A common thread, both of those precious babies drove quite a distance to meet their forever families and their first photos feature little sleeping angels :)
All in all, maybe Mother's Day is OK, it just depends on where you are sitting in the line.! I think I'll just be thrilled for my buddies and in the immortal words of the Chicago Cubs..."wait 'til next year!!!!!
Happy Mother's Day to all the first timers and to all my BTDT friends around the country and of course a BIG HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to my Mom, Susan who is celebrating in South Florida and having no problem at all toasting the coming arrival of her first grandchild.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Mother's Day 2006-Not A Good ThingOk, it's Mother's Day tomorrow...possibly the worst day of 2006 for me, maybe the worst day of the entire decade. Well that may be a slight exageration, no, no I don't think so!
I had a plan and it was a really good one, I was going to totally ignore it (the entire day) so it would go away. Seriously it's 24 hours and I can easily sleep 24 hours with breaks for snacks, no problem! With this fine plan completed I was on cruise control THEN IT HAPPENED things started coming in the mail, CARDS, with wonderful and supportive messages from my friends and family and my plan was ruined!!!! I tried hiding the cards away but it just didn't work I kept getting them out and looking at them . You see I'm hanging by that "thin red thread" on M3's t-shirts and those card senders are holding the other end so when I put the cards away the thread just started to unravel. I needed a new plan--fast!
New plan, just lay low, stay cool and make it through the day. Maybe rejoice in a no shower day or an entire day on the couch watching HGTV re-runs. This seemed a reasonable compromise and then I got a PHONE CALL, my BF and her family are going to Braves' Game for Mother's Day and I'm along coming too. No, no I explain, I have a plan I am laying low on Mother's Day I couldn't possibly go with you, yes, yes she says you were not going to lay low you were going to wallow in your misery all day and that is unacceptable. Damn friends, damn red threads, I even ended up getting the tickets on-line so I have to show up, they need my ID at will-call.
So, I'll go to the game, I'll get some sun, I'll have a couple of beers and I'll hang on as tight as I can to what's left of the red thread. A note to those holding on to the other end...PLEASE DON'T LET GO!
P.S I got a Pooh card from Kacey and it has an Atlanta postal stamp but no return address, if somebody has her here in the city limits please return her to her mother immediately :)
Kacey Got a New Car!
Kacey got a new car last night, well it's her Mom's car really and it's a 2005 so it's not technically a new car. BUT, it's new to me and I bought it for her so I'll stick with my title!
You all need to know that I just hate buying cars, it makes me crazy and I don't do it unless I absolutely have to! Well, this time I was driving a perfectly fine sedan, only 4 years old, ran like a dream, so what in the world would inspire me to not only BUY a car but SELL my exisiting car on my own. Kacey would! She needs a ride that will carry all her future friends (Emily, Kailee, Amelia, Eliza, Baby Shannahan & Chloe) along with the mental health expert I'll have along for support to playdates and the park. My old sedan just wouldn't cut it, 2 car seats at the most and the mental health guy!
I'm now the proud owner of a 2005 Honda Pilot that seats 8 and is as clean as a whistle and my old car has found a happy home with Jinger & Gary carrying the adorable 14 month old Gracie to and fro. Everyone's happy and I survived the car purchase with flying colors!
Last month I thought that I could NOT be any more ready for Kacey's arrival but now I'm even more ready--she has her own car for heaven sakes. I even found out that the guys at the fire station around the corner (I LOVE firemen) would put my carseat in for me when I'm ready, they know how to do it properly to keep the little pumpkin safe in case of emergency :)
The picture you'll see of the new ride is behind Kacey's new Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree. I planted it for her this Spring because it'll be WAY too hot down South to do it when she arrives, we will make her stepping stone complete with her little footprints when she arrives for the base of the tree!
Monday, May 08, 2006
Much Ado About Nothing & A Prom!
I feel a bit guilty when I have absolutely nothing to post about the adoption moving forward and that's exactly where I am today--really I'm not lazy I just don't have any news to report. CCAA is back at work after their nice one week holiday and that's about all that has changed in my adoption world.
So, I'll just bore you all with details about my fun weekend in St. Louis...in my quest to return to normal life until referral I decided I'd visit my buddies in St. Louis, it was my friend Sharon L's birthday, happy birthday Sharon L. and Bobby's high school prom. I personally can't believe that he is old enough to go to the prom, and with a Senior Girl no less, that just seems wrong to me :) But he is and he looked so handsome and grown up (see photos)! I loved taking pictures of he and his friends, embarassing him as little as possible while still being as pushy as hell to get the best angles. I even boxed his poor Mom out for one shot, oh well I'll share with her. His Dad (Bob) didn't get one single shot with him, I'll make that up to them both next year.
A good weekend to me is good friends, good food and good fun and I had lots of that the past couple of days! Getting away and just being my normal self always makes me feel so much stronger and better prepared for the wait. Next stop, the very chichi Hamptons with Sharon C. at the end of June...I can't bear to make more plans than that. After we find out the dates for the May batch of referrals I may have to starting scheduling July out but I'm not willing to cross that bridge unless I absolutely have to.
Arghhhhhh, I guess I should also recognize that today, May 8th is my 10 month LID anniversary. Kacey is officially OVERDUE!
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Golden Week in China!It's a slow week on the adoption front, as the CCAA and most of China closes for Golden Week, May 1-5. I'm not really sure what the holiday is all about...if I were my friend Cindy I'd know and maybe she'll comment with the 4-1-1.
What Golden Week means to me is that nothing is happening to bring Kacey closer to me and I really don't like it much. I know, I've developed this new Zen feeling of peace & harmony but that only applies when the CCAA is working hard and matching those ahead of me. When they are on holiday all bets are off and the Zen slips away from me. I've committed to bringing it back starting next week, I'll breathe deeply and think calm and happy thoughts starting on Monday! This week, I'll pout and stomp around the office which is also a lot of fun :)
On a positive note, I've gone ahead and scheduled a nice two week business trip to Korea, Tokyo & Hong Kong for May. Being away always makes the time go faster and the Zen feeling easier to hold on to. I'll be gone for May referrals which will also be interesting, I can stalk the CCAA site real time and report to all my friends back home when they change their message.
As for what that CCAA message may say, it's anybody's guess...people ask and I just don't know what to tell them. Could be June, could be September this is the craziest journey I've ever been on and I've been on some lulus!!!
So happy Golden Week China, maybe Kacey gets cake for the holiday, that would be a nice thought. You folks at CCAA should be nice and rested and ready to process a big ole batch of referrals...my June buddies Jill, Stephanie and Rosette are counting on you and so am I.
I felt guilty about the lack of Golden Week info so I goggled it and here is the answer: These national holidays were first started by the government for China's National Day in 1999. They are primarily intended to help expand the domestic tourism market and improve the national standard of living, as well as allowing people to make long-distance family visits. Chinese Golden Weeks are consequently periods of greatly heightened travel activity.
In 2004, there were calls for the Golden Week holidays to be cut back, due to their disruption of the regular economy.
Wow, it's a made up holiday...go figure!