Did anyone happen to catch "The Amazing Race" last week? If you did, you saw where we were today--the Stone Forest. We completely enjoyed the 5 hour round trip, marveling at the tiny hillside villages and terraced fields. With each of our adoption trips we've been able to get out of the city and see a totally different side of China.
Today Lyle made major progress on the XiXi front and was able to hold his hand and even carry him. My back is so very thankful.
XiXi marveled at everything. I can't adequately describe his "wow" noise. It's an adorably high-pitched "Woooo-aaahhh" sound that makes everyone around him smile.
He's a good little walker and Lyle mentioned more than once today how excited he is to take this little man camping.
XiXi spoke more to our guide today than he has on any other day. She said that he speaks well and "knows very much". With us, XiXi has taken to saying something once in his normal voice and then repeating it in progressively louder voice. I know it's got to be so terribly frustrating for him. Yesterday at the minority village, XiXi saw some chickens and he squatted down, clicked his tongue at them, and put his hand out like he was going to feed them. He told our guide that he had chickens at his last home. I wish so much that I could really converse with him. I was almost tempted to have our guide ask him how he felt about his new family, but I thought that it would be an unfair question and not respectful of the foster family who clearly loved him so much. Besides, I wasn't sure I wanted to hear his answer.
I did ask Helen to find out his favorite foods. He said, "duck and tomatoes fried with egg." We went to a local restaurant outside of a Yi village and our guide ordered his favorites. His eyes lit up and he let out a "Wooo-aaahhh" when he saw the food.
Rose couldn't even look at it, which of course prompted to Cholita to continually turn the Lazy Susan so that the duck was always staring at Rose. It made her think of the duck who didn't want to be dinner on the movie Babe. "Christmas means carnage."
Frankly, XiXi eating duck means carnage. Holy chur, it was messy. When we left the restaurant, his place looked like some kind of gruesome crime scene--bones and gristle all over the place. The funny thing is, XiXi can't abide by so much as a crumb of bread on his chair and will stand up until someone wipes it off. Lyle was like, "Kiddo, have you taken a look in front of you? Cause it's ugly."
After lunch, we went to his finding location. The translation I had done in the U.S. said that it was "a body building place" in Biji Square. Then our guide said that it was "a health facility" in Biji Square. With the first, I pictured kind of a Chinese version of Gold's Gym and with the other, I pictured a doctor's office. When we got there, I realized neither one was exactly right, but I could see what they were getting at. It was the exercise portion of a large, busy square.
Our guide said it was in a very nice part of town. People of all ages were using the equipment and men sat at tables playing cards. Mothers doted on their children and grandmas sat together knitting and talking. We spent a long time there, with the kids running and playing. XiXi was so proud of himself when reached the top of this climbing structure.
It was the sunniest weather we've had during our whole trip and as much as I tried to attach a more somber feeling to the place, I just felt peace and happiness. Peace that his birth mother wanted him found quickly and took him to a place where that would happen and happiness that we have been blessed with this remarkable little boy.