Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some photos to prove we were there

We had a fabulous time. The best girl's night ever! Here are the three beauties on the ferry boat to Victoria.

Rose treated herself to the massage chair, which left her all giggly and wiggly. Like an 8 year-old needs a massage.
We got off the boat and went through Customs where I was asked if I was the sole guardian of the girls. I said that I was not. (Mistake!) The Customs official then asked if I had a letter from my husband stating that he was aware I was taking our children across international lines. I wanted to say, "please! It's Canada!" But instead I apologized profusely and said that in the future I would get a note from Papa.

From there we booked it to our hotel, dropped off our bag, exchanged money, and ran to the bus stop where we just barely caught our ride to Butchart Gardens. The slight drizzle we'd had all day turned into pouring ran as the bus pulled through the entrance. Thankfully the staff at Butchart supplied us with umbrellas and a stroller for Maya, and off we went. Despite the weather, it did not disappoint---truly fantastic. Later in the afternoon the rain stopped so we could get some photos.

Rose in the rose garden.

Rose getting squashed in a sister sandwich while posing on a statue of an animal with pointy horns.

Lucy stunned by the size of the "Angel's Trumpet".

Which is something I will plant in my garden.

When the rain started again in earnest, we hopped back on the bus and ate dinner at an "Old Spaghetti Factory", bringing back memories of my teenage busing job at an O.S.F. in Utah. To be honest, the spaghetti's really not all that great.
The next day we did what Cholita wanted us to do the second we stepped off the boat--take off all our clothes and get into bathing suits to swim in the hotel pool.
From there, we marveled at the hydrangeas on the grounds of the Empress Hotel,

and marveled at the size of the Wooly Mammoth at the Royal B.C. Museum.

By this point, Cholita was fading fast. With her medical treatments, she requires a nap each day. Sometimes more than one. We'd already checked out of the hotel, so we went back and I sat in the lobby with Cholita while she slept on the couch and the big girls explored a nearby park. When she woke up, we walked down to Chinatown. I use the term "we" loosely. Rose walked. Lucy walked. I definitely walked, but Cholita did not. I carried her most of the trip. I should have brought a stroller. Anyway, when we arrived in Chinatown, she perked right up and said, "I am Chinese! I'll walk." So she proudly led the way through Chinatown. She may have even thought it was China.

We went to a restaurant for a late lunch and Cholita picked up her chopsticks and announced, "I know how to use chopsticks because I'm Chinese!" I'll let you be the judge of her technique.

I think it could use some work.

From there, we went into a shop where a man asked if any of us spoke Mandarin Chinese. Cholita raised her hand and confidently said, "Yes. I speak Chinese because I am Chinese." The man asked her in Mandarin what her name was. I answered for her that her Chinese name was Qiu Ju. Cholita became flustered and said, "Mom! I know what he said! I told you! I'm Chinese!"
The whole Chinatown experience was very interesting. Just a couple of weeks ago when we wanted to watch Cholita's adoption video, she burst into tears and didn't want anything to do with it. China was not something she wanted to talk about at all. But the minute we stepped foot into Chinatown, she was all about Chinese pride. We absolutely must take her back to China one day.

From Chinatown, we went back to the Empress Hotel where we arrived at Rose's Shangri-la--Miniature World. I'm sure it was created with 8 year-old girls in mind. Truly, Rose was enchanted and could have spent the whole day there amongst the dioramas and doll houses.
But we had to return to the U.S., so off we went to the boat. Little did we know, that returning might not be as easy as we'd thought.
I presented our passports-- three U.S. and one Chinese. We've never had a problem before. This time, the official picked up Cholita's passport, waved it in front of me and said,
"You're presenting false information at an international border."
"Is this child a citizen of China or the United States?"
"The United States. I have her citizenship documents here. I've never had a problem."
"You do NOT present this document EVER. I could confiscate it right now and refuse to allow her to leave Canada."
"She's not in a great mood right now. I don't think you'd want to hang out with her."
(He wasn't in a joking mood) "You do NOT present this document. Do you understand how serious this is? Do you understand that she's not a Chinese citizen?"
"Yes, I just showed you her U.S. citizenship papers....."
"I'll let you take her this time. In the future, get her a U.S. Passport!"
Yikes! Who would have thought it would be harder getting her out of Canada than it was getting her out of China!
We arrived home at 11:00 last night. On Friday nights we need to give Cholita her shot. Lyle always does it but he was away camping. I asked Cholita if we could maybe do it the next day. She said, "Mom, let's just do it now. You'll be O.K." It's sad when you get a pep talk from your 3 year-old. So I did the shot, something I really don't like to do. As usual, Cholita didn't make a peep. Afterward, she patted me on the back and said, "Good job, Mom. I'm so proud of you." Talk about choking me up.
I'm so glad Heavenly Father blessed me with a boy and three gorgeous daughters.
They're each so individual, and each so completely amazing. I'll always cherish memories of this trip.


Chelsea said...

Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun! Tom and I loved the gardens when we went for our "cruise" but we want to go back again when it's warmer.

Lori Lynn said...

I really love the way you tell a story. Cholita in Chinatown was a hoot! Glad you all made it back across the border.

Jen Bay said...

Sounds like a lot of fun... Guess you better get that US Passport... or Canada may decide to keep her.

Lisa said...

Hey, E!!!! John and I stayed at the Empress for our honeymoon and did Butchart Gardens too....oh, it's so lovely, isn't it? I'm jealous of your super fun girls week...glad it was so great and that they let Cholita back into the States. :) Go get that girl her passport! We just got Gracie's and it's only good for five years! Like we will do sooooo much international travel in five years to make it worth the cost of the passport in the first place. :) But's awfully convenient to have, no?

Amy said...

Such a dreamy get-away! So cool you were able to spend that special girl time, Eileen. What a treat! (Except for that border those guys can be so cranky. Psheesh!)

...And what a precious comment Cholita made after her shot.