Posted by: scooter133 | May 2, 2010

A tour from above and making friends at the Hyatt…

After the Laundry adventure we headed back to the hotel and hung our for a bit.  Even was getting sleepy and I think Jennifer too. (-;  I knew that she was not interested in taking a tour of the Taipei 101 so I suggested that Maleah and I go up for a look see while she and Evan took a Nap. It would make for a more enjoyable visit if Jennifer was not with us.  She’s not a fan of heights, she does not like the road over-crossing at 15′ let alone a building at 1300′.  So Maleah and I set out for Taipei 101, 91th floor 390m up!  So in this picture, the last square section at the top is where we are headed!

So we hit the over-crossing and head for Taipei 101.  I figured that since I didn’t see any Mall Maps I’s just head towards the center and up.  Have to be something obvious at some point…  After wondering a bit I saw some observatory signs and followed them.  There was a pretty big line, but it went pretty fast.  We hopped into an elevator full of people an headed towards the 89th floor. Taipei 101’s elevators sweep visitors from the fifth floor to the 89th-floor observatory in only 37 seconds, about 37.7mph!!!

The view is phenomenal from that high up!  This is the tallest building around by far. I think the next closest are in the 30 something floors. This is where Jennifer would start freaking out.  You can hold the camera up high on the window and look almost straight down. Its pretty intense. Maleah keeping up with her reading was reading the signs on the ledge that said no sitting or standing, so she was careful to not climb up there.

Next stop was the 91st floor.  Not sure what is on the 90th floor. We hit the stairs and went from the 89th to the 91st.  Then you step out onto the top of that last square section. It was a pretty awesome view.  Though we needed to be there either an hour earlier, or 30 minutes later.  The sun was not quite setting and was a tad dark for good panoramic pictures. Once we got out outdoor view in, we headed back down the stairs to the 88th floor.  When you build a building like this you must have to plan for the whole Show and Tell aspect of it. This was totally setup that way. It was $400NT$ ($12.77 USD) to get up there, you tour around the few floors and then are taken through shops.

After wandering though the shop maze you get to stand in another line to get back down to earth. This time the elevator ride seemed a bit faster. My ears were messed up before this trip started and this trip down added another level of popping and aching. When we were back on the 5th floor Maleah turns to me and asks why she can’t hear herself and that she sounds funny.  I asked her to swallow a few times and see how it was.  She said it was much better after that!

So yo give a bit of an idea how big this place is, here is a picture of the skyline from a mountain behind the building. At the bottom of the building where the 2 round things are is a tan building beyond the shadow of the building on the left. That tan building is the Hyatt @ 25 stories…

Maleah and I make it back to the Hotel to pick up Evan and Jennifer and go and grab some grub.  They were STILL sleeping.  Well Evan mostly… It was almost 7pm!  I said that She’s going to be the one pacing the halls with him to get him to sleep later tonight!  I tried my hardest to wake him.  He was not waking up!  I was calling his name, rubbing his back, nothing. I gently shook his shoulder, nothing.  I Picked him up and bounced him a bit, nothing. Maleah tried a few things, nothing.  I figured well maybe changing him while in his sleep stooper might be better.  Changed Diaper, New Clothes, socks and shoes, nothing!  Okay now I’m getting worried.  I tickled his feet and he started to smile.  Sill way out of it, but it was a reaction.  After another 5 minutes of poking and prodding he finally snapped out of it.  By is he going to give Jennifer and Maleah a run for their money!

We headed back to the food court and I figured that what I got that first time they liked so I got it again and Jennifer chickened out and got another sandwich. Well at least this one was from some Asian place, so I guess it was not all bad. Kids didn’t seem to enjoy the dinner like they did the first night, though seemed to have enough to fill a hole. We then headed for some Ice Cream cones.  Maleah and Jennifer went traditional and I opted for the Green Tea.  All was pretty good by me, though neither of them liked mine.  Evan was not too sure about any of them, though I wish I had the camera on his face when he tried mine. It was his least favorite.  He at least went back to Jennifer and Maleah, though wanted nothing of mine!

Then a milestone bonding test!!! Totally unscripted too!  Of course I woofed my Ice Cream down so Evan and I were wondering about the courtyard area. He’d either run by his own or with holding a finger. He stopped at a lady waiting for an elevator. He was holding one of my fingers and the lady stuck out her finger for his other hand to hold. I’m thinking to myself. You better not put that hand up to hers and Hey lady, what are you trying to do her?  Thinking good thoughts and not wanting to cause a scene I waited to see what Evan would do.  I figured with all the volunteers at SLC he might just go for the lady’s hand… He stared at her for several seconds, his other had at his side.  I’m figuring that this is a good test, see what he does, don’t influence!   My boy passed with Shining colors!  She stopped looking at her and went walking on, the hand not once lifted to meed hers!  Yes!  What a great feeling!!! Jennifer was looking form a distance and when we came back her and I were beaming with joy!

The Girls finished their Ice Cream and then we bummed the mall a bit. We knew there had to be a toy store, though still didn’t find a Map. I popped in Toy into the Translator and asked some ladies… They produced a Map and searched though it and found it for us.  We made it there and both Maleah and Evan were in heaven.  Neither one wanted to Leave.   It was getting late so we pried them from the toys and went back to the Hotel. No Medicine to deal with this time we had the bottle ready at 9:500pm  or so this time, a much better start for us but considering his late nap we new it would be a late start. I think Maleah was out in 5 minutes.  Evan on the other hand was not tired. Of course, His and Jennifer’s Extended Nap! They work up Just a few hours before…  I told Jen that I was hitting the sack and good luck!

I did help getting the bottle and such ready, though he was not ready at all.  They paced the floor for a bit. He was getting tired, but like all kids, fighting it. After an hour or so he started to get pretty aggravated. Crying and Crying… He’s one of the ones that needs to be held standing up, you cannot hold him and sit, you need to be standing. You don’t really have to move, just have to be standing.  Each time Jennifer went to sit on the bed he would start in crying again. She then gave up on the sleep and though she’s try to play with him, Maybe that would work?  No, it seemed to make it worse.  Maleah still fast asleep and me wanting to, I got up and gave Jennifer a break.  I bounced him and bounced him in my arms. I stared bouncing to the Rhythm of his cries which made funny sounds.  He started to laugh a bit and then three laughs later, was not crying anymore.  For the last 30 minutes Jennifer and I  were worried that we’s start to hear pounding on the walls to be quiet, or the hotel staff to pay us a visit.   He Probably cried for about hour on and off and it was 11:30 by the time we was quiet again.  Another 15 minutes of pacing and walking to be sure he was out before placing him in the crib.  Ah asleep at last!!!

It was short lived… He was up at 4am!  Jennifer and I traded for about an hour and he was back asleep for another 45 minutes before everyone was up!

Posted by: scooter133 | May 2, 2010

The Cootie Dance…

We thought the Laundry services would be similar to what we had in China, that was a bad assumption. Our Stay in Taiwan is for 11 days, we brought enough essentials for 6 thinking that we could get some laundry done while in Taipei. What we should have done vs what we did…  We should have asked, but we didn’t, so here’s what happened….

We hear that the YMCA hotel had Coin Laundry. Figuring that Its Coin machine it should not be to bad, find the Hotel and its probably in the basement and do a light and dark load.  When we left the Hyatt, they didn’t quite understand where we wanted to go. I had a suitcase in hand with our dirty cloths and I wanted to taxi to another Hotel.  We eventually pulled it up on Google Earth in Chinese and we were on our way. A 3 mile taxi ride and we were there. Jen, Maleah, Evan and the suitcase was out of sight in the lobby and I asked at the front desk where the coin laundry was and they asked if I was a guest.  Er, um, guest? Um, yeah sure. We were desperate at this point. They Directed me to the 7th/8th floor. So Maleah hit the 8th floor button, Asking what we are doing here. We told her laundry…  We get to the 8th floor and looked around and nothing obvious. There was a guy there cleaning the floor and we asked him.  He asked us for our Room number….  Uh, oh…  I repeated that I was looking for Laundry, pulled out a coin and pointed to my cloths.  He Directed us to the laundry ‘room’.  It was about 8×12, with 2 stacked washers/dryer combos.

Signs in there that said, hotel guest use. Maleah who’s starting to read wanted to know what the sign said and then asked why were were not staying at this hotel.  I’m not sure what Jennifer told her as I wanted to get in and out as fast as we could.  So the Wash cycle was 30 minutes and the dry was 50.  We loaded up the Dark in one unit and the lights in the other.  Then We had to wait. Maleah helped by having us hunt for a nearby potty. I’m sure the people there wanted to know why we didn’t use the one in our room, but it helped pass the time.  With more time to kill, we waled the street a bit, Trying to scope out a place to eat lunch while we were on the Dry Cycle. There was something going on across the street form the hotel. Some restaurant had some event going on.  There was a Mob of people, a ton of camera flashes and a few TV camera looking guys.  After a while some ladies would walk around. We could only see their heads from out vantage point. Looked like a big deal with the Line of people waiting to ‘see’. Still not sure what was going on, but looked like a live broadcast of some sort.

Our 30 minute timer went off and back up to the Laundry room we went.  We switched from the washer to the dryer and headed out to lunch. I’m sure the front desk was suspicious as us coming  and going…  There was a Mall of sorts the next street west of us so we figured there would be another food court. There was, though it was more sit-down and order style vs. typical food court style. Not seeing anything that jumped out at us and not knowing how long it would be we decided that we’d go to the Green and White holy grail… Starbucks!  Maleah, Jennifer and Evan shared a Ham and Cheese and I had some thing else not sure what it was, though it was on foccicia bread.  Had to wait for  table which a nice young couple (did I just say young couple?!?!?! Now I really feel old!!) gave up for us. Evan is quite the ham and gets lots of attention, waves and smiles.  We finished our ‘lunch’ and walked about a bit.  The YMCA Hotel is pretty close to Caesars and the HSR station.  Timer went off again so back off to the 8th floor. We arrive and there is a few minutes left on the cycle.   There were not that many lights so we started there while the darks finished up…

So while I’m folding I hear a loud shriek and Jennifer is is hoping up and down waiving her hands and a piece of laundry goes flying!!!  Not sure what was going I was thinking something happened with Maleah or Evan.  Apparently while Jennifer was getting stuff out of the dryer she came across a pair of womans underwear and stared in on the cootie dance.  I grabbed it and put it aside, Maleah wanted to know what the commotion was all about, and wanted to pick them up and check them out.  We folded the rest of the laundry and flagged down a Taxi to head back to the Hyatt.

Posted by: scooter133 | May 2, 2010

A Night out in Taipei – Tong Hua Night Market…

So we have yet to go to a night market, so this was the night.  There are so many to choose from!  We have been recommended a few, Shi Lin being the most popular and one of the largest, though after a day of travel and tired kids, we opted for the one a few minutes down the road.

They say its a 10 minute walk, though I think it might be 10 minutes if you were a fast walker and had no kids in tow!  We opted for the Taxi ride. They dropped us off at the entrance of some alley. We started our way in!

There was not too many people there, yet!  There was a traffic pattern to follow, as with cars, though traffic on the right. Opposite traffic on the left. Kind of hard for the first time visitors as there are so many things to see and you want to wonder from side to side.  So figuring that we have to come back we just stuck to the things on  he one side. It was pretty interesting. I took mostly pictures of the food vendors, but there was several other types of vendors there too. Was surprised to see several bra and pantie places. There were also pants, belts and a few other clothing places mixed in.  I was also surprised to see that there were not too many trinket type vendors.  So I’m guessing that this was more of a local’s market? We were thinking, they have these things every day of the week, from the hours of Lunch to 1-2am. The places that people live are probably pretty small, so shopping on a Moped is not going to yield the typical shopping cart full of groceries. So they probably eat out more often then not. The food is good it is pretty cheap so it is probably quicker and easier to grab some eats at the night market on the way home.

I took several picture though its a pain on WordPress to post lots of pictures and its 2 clicks to post them to Flicker, so off they went.

You can view the Tong Hua Night Market pictures here

So Maleah was not too happy, she was a bit tired, but her smell sensitivity was in full gear.  You could tell the vendors that were selling stinky tofu.  She would really comment then and try to bury her head in Jennifer skirt.  By the time that we got to the end of the alley, Maleah was done.  She was going piggy back on Jennifer while I was with Sleeping Evan.  1/2 way back Maleah was rea;ly fading fast.  She started to fall asleep!  Not good as she was holding on to Jennifer.  She just about slipped off… So that was the end of the piggy back ride.  We are now about at the entrance where we walked in. Jennifer spied some pot stickers and dumplings that smelled great, So up till this point we had not par-taked in anything.  So she  and Maleah were waiting in line for the potstickers, Evan and I went for something to drink.  We met up in the middle and then really got hungry. So then we went for several other snacks. By the time we left we had Potstickers, Corn, Yams, Sesame balls, Onion pancake and a drink.  It was getting pretty crowed at that point and vendors were still piling in!

So Loaded with Dinner we were headed back to the hotel.  A short taxi ride later we were at the door to the hotel room. Searching for the key to the room.  I was not remembering putting it in any pocket.  So we do a Quick look in my bag and no luck. And of course Maleah pipes up…  “I have to go potty”  5 feet from the potty on the other side of a locked door!  Jennifer grabs Maleah, I have Evan, My Hip-pack, my Camera and all the food and head to the check-in desk.  In the elevator now and a few of the people in there are asking if there was something else I could carry… I replied “Just My Room Key would be nice.”  They all laughed…

A few minutes later Evan and I were back in the room.  Maleah and Jennifer followed in a few minutes.   So here is what we ended up with:

Some Fruity Drink with, Melon and Pineapple and some black seeds or something in it

These were delish!  Yams with some sweet glazing on them.

These were the potstickers and dumplings

The corn didn’t get a fair shake. It was a biut before we got back to the Hotel and it was no longer warm, and was a bit chewy. It had good flavor, but a bit off. 

The Onion cake was the best EVER! Crispy breadded outside tender onion goodness on the inside

End it off with a (from what I hear)  sweet sesame ball. The girls devoured it before I had a chance to get to it!

Posted by: scooter133 | May 1, 2010

Adjusting and Schedule….

With Evan’s Medicine schedule and not being able to have anything to eat/drink an hour before and after its made for an interesting food/sleep schedule.   Figuring out his nightly routine has been our main focus. It seems as though he is used to having a bottle before bed, which is what we would expect. Though having to have his medicine with no food/drink has made that a challenge. He’s been getting the medicine at 8:30pm or so which means the bottle can’t come till 9:30, and then by the time he’s asleep its 10pm. We have been getting up at 6am or so… With the long days its been hard to keep up on the blogging…

So we’ve Left Tainan and are now in Taipei.  We sported the ‘Limo’ from the Shangri La hotel to the HSR, It was only $20 and well worth it.   Talking the bus to the hotel  was not too bad, but it was a bit crowded. The Limo was a Fancy Nissan Altama, It has been one of the nicer cars we have been in. The Taxi’s have all been clean and nice too. Much better than the taxi rides in China. Maleah loves the Taxi rides as she hops in and can move freely about the cabin! With all of the people here and the mopeds they don’t travel too fast so its not to crazy.

The train ride was about an hour 40 minutes.  I wish that we had something like this where we live. I would so much rather take the train to SF than drive… It was just after Evan’s nap, so he was wide awake for the whole train trip. He did pretty good for having to be in a confined space for an hour and 40. The plane ride home is going to be a challenge. I think our only saving grace will be that we leave at 7:50pm so we’ll keep him up till part way through the flight and hopefully he’ll sleep a good portion of the flight…  Could not of planned that any better…  Fingers crossed!!!

When we arrived to the Hyatt Jennifer had a pretty good headache going, so I took the kids out for a bite to eat. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on hotel food so I figured that since we were next to the Taipei 101 mall they had to have a food court.  So off on a mission.  Evan in one arm and Maleah in the other hand off to Taipei 101.  It is an easy walk from the hotel, there is a nice catwalk from the hotel to the mall. So once in the mall we had to find the food court. No easy mall map that we could find, but every food court we have been in so far has been in the basement so we went down, down, down… Maleah is a pro at the escalators now…  So another food court was found. Not wanting to give into American food i went looking for something that we could all eat.  I found a combo meal that had tofu, soup, rice and some vegetable…  With Evan in one arm, and Combo Meal in the other. I attempted to navigate the eating area.  The tray was not too heavy, though I didn’t notice how slick the tray was with the bowl of soup. I should have put the soup in the corner of the tray…  Yes, you can see what happened next, though not as bad as you are thinking… There was only a bit of soup on the floor.  Oops!  The people there are so nice and friendly though I dont think it was on the floor for more than a few seconds!  So off to the tables with what was left of the Soup and the rest of the meal.  I spied a table, Headed towards it and on the other side of a Pillar so did another family!  They saw my bit of distressed look I’m sure and offered me the table. I was very thankful!   I didn’t want to have to navigate the table area!  So now Evan on my lap and Maleah still being a Picky eater I was not sure how we were going to fair…  I know Maleah would like soup, rice and tofu so I had a pretty good chance.   I started with the Soup for her and told her to not eat any of hte floating things if she didn’t want to.  She started woofing it down!  Evan and I started on the Rice and tofu.  He didn’t seem to be interested in the tofu, but the Rice seemed to be a hit.  So of course there are no forks and spoons and of course I didn’t think to bring any. I think Evan and I did pretty good with the chopsticks!  Others were commenting, though not sure if it was my feeding technique, my mess with the soup on the floor, that I’m white with two Asian kids, or that I have a squirmy kid that I’m trying to feed…   Maleah started in on the floating things. There was some white heart shaped things that she devoured, not sure what they were. Then onto the other thing. She asked what it was, and I was not sure I wanted to try it.  I asked her to give it a whirl!  Nothing thinking she would, she popped it in her mouth…  She said it tasted like Chicken.  I don’t think it was, but she enjoyed it until it rolled onto the floor. Evan and I were struggling with the rice and the chopsticks. He did pretty well, you can tell that he’s been fed with them before. So I tried to clean up as much of our mess as we could before we left, and then we headed out to get Jennifer some food.  There was a great supermarket there and Jennifer was craving a Ham on Rye…  Though the Deli didn’t make sandwiches. They sold the stuff to make them , but didn’t make the sandwich itself.  They guided me to a ‘Subway’  Well it would be a Ham sandwich…  The lady behind the counter and I negotiated what I wanted as it was not a numbered Item on the menu.  With Sandwich and cookie and Maleah in one hand, and Evan in the other we set off for the Hotel.

So Up three flights of escalators and something happened that I almost never do!  I didn’t look where we came into the Mall!  There were several options for the way out.  I happen to choose the escalator that was next to the Hyatt catwalk, which was not the escalator that we went down, Bonus!  Off to deliver mom her Ham sandwich!

Shortly after Jennifer was feeling much better!  I think it was the lack of coffee in the morning…

Posted by: scooter133 | April 29, 2010

The day we became four… – Part 2

So a few  quick Introductions… The lady in the green shirt who brought in Evan is Jessica, she helps facilitate the transition and also works with getting the paperwork in order. The lady in the brown shirt is Mei Chun, she is a volunteer and translates what the staff says to English and vice versa. The lady in the red shirt is Spring Peach. She is the head Nannie and also transports the children to the Dr if needed.

So the video camera is on overdrive at this point…  As is my heart.  I want to hold my son, but he needs to get a feel for the situation, he need to be comfortable with us. Breath… Breath…  I want to hold my son!  Spring Peach and Evan have a special connection. They have spent quite a bit of time with each other. She explains that he has bronchitis and is congested. She shows us his medicine and how to administer it to him.  He is still a bit quiet, though soaking in everything. Maleah is chomping at the bit waning to get down on the floor and go to him.  I figured Maleah would help with the transition. He would see her and how we are interacting with her and hopefully feel more comfortable with us.  We had a small introduction After a small introduction on the floor. Maleah was the first to give him a squeeze. With his bronchitis spring peach said that he has been a bit reserved. Maleah handed him a toy and his reservations changed… He seemed to be feeling better and getting used to us.

We spent a bit of time with him on floor and then were told that the birth fathers family was there and wanted to meet with us.  We picked him up from the floor…  I was holding my son!  He was in my arms, I felt his warmth, his little hands and feet.  My moment was here!  I was holding Evan…  Breath… Breath…  My face was red with excitement. I WAS HOLDING MY SON!!  I didn’t want to let go. I wanted him to stay there in my arms.  We worked our way over to the couch and I could not keep him all to myself, I handed him to Jennifer.  It was hard to let him go. Though this was going to be the first of many holdings!

Meeting the birth-family was pretty emotional. We knew that they would be there, but I do not think it is anything that you can prepare for. The gift of life that has been given has no words that can convey the gratitude that was felt. Us in gaining a son, them knowing that he is going to a loving family who will be able to support him in every way.  I’m just going to leave it at that there were many tears shed by everyone in the room.  Very emotional… We said out goodbyes to the birth fathers family and had some one on one time with out son.. More tears were coming. There was a tissue box on the table. I’m sure it was emptied by the time we left.  We were a family of four, at last!

While we were there people would pop in to visit Shih Jung and say their goodbyes to him. With each new person that stopped by you could see the love and care that was there. I would guess that he does not see all of these people all of the time so seeing all of them in such a short time was exciting to him. With each goodbye there were more tears shed and more tissue used. After a while we were visited by a volunteer, Min-ju, she loves to play with the babies in the nursery, she played with Shih-Jung three or four times a week since he was a baby until yesterday. She was super nice and he lit up when she was in the room. She made him lunch and fed him while we were there. Jennifer was getting the rundown of schedule and paperwork with Mei Chun while his Nannie feed him lunch.   At this point I think I had 4 missed calls and some 70+ FB notifications. I thought I would work in the Big Sister Little Brother post.

While Evan was getting some grub they brought in lunch for us. Maleah up to this point has been at her highest ‘picky eater’ point. We were hoping that she would not be too fussy with their gesture of providing us lunch.  It was dumplings. Maleah can go either way with them, she usually will eat the outside and not the insides.  I think Maleah was pretty hungry at this point. It was Maleah’s first Asian meal for the trip and she ate several of the dumplings.  She did us proud!!!  After lunch we had a little play time while they talked a bit more about the facility and Evan’s schedule.

Spring peach stopped back in and brought us come cloths that were give to Evan by one of the Nannies that could not make it today to say goodbye. You could see that Evan and Spring Peach also had a connection. You could feel the love between them.  At this point Evan seems much more comfortable with us. He’s laughing and smiling while we are holding him.

They then gave us the quick nickle tour of the facility. We were able to see some of the rooms that he had been in while he was there. As we were walking around, nannies from within would rush over to the windows blowing Evan kisses. They had called us a taxi and we only had a few more moments where Evan has spent the first year of his life.  We walked by the admin offices and even more people came out to greet us and to say their goodbyes to Evan.  It was an emotional three hours.

Posted by: scooter133 | April 29, 2010

The day we became four… – Part 1

It was an early to bed night for getting ready for the big day… After last night’s post I called in the 6:30 am wake-up call, wanted to be ready for everything… So much to do before we head out, get up, get showered, get dressed, get fed, get money, get pastries and get there! I figured 3 and a half hours should be okay for that!  Maleah took her firsrt on her own big girl shower!!!  Wanted it to be a special day for meeting her brother. This is pretty special coming form the I don’t want my face wet bathtub girl!  So off to a great start… Jen and I followed close behind and then brought out the Iron.  Had to look our best for the meet up!  we changed into our not meet up clothes just in case breakfast got messy.  We headed down to grub and for mew it was a haze.  I was hungry, but didn’t really feel like eating.  We grabbed a few bites, got our morning jolt of coffee and headed back up to the room. We we asked to offer to pay for lunch at SLC, though not really told what lunch entailed. They also said to bring pastries for the staff. Though not sure how many people were really there…  So off to the ATM I went.  Through the tunnel, under the tracks to the Train Station I went. Maybe 12 minutes round trip. It was 9am and it was at least 78 degrees and humid! By the time I got back to the hotel I was lucky I wore the other shirt from breakfast…  Talk about sweating bullets!  This body is not built for this kind of weather.  There were people with jackets on out there. I just do not understand that.  Money in hand, still needed the pastries. We decided to use ‘The Shop’ as it was called in the hotel lobby. It had a pretty good selection of pastries, breads and cakes. We napped a few here and there hoping it would be enough.

It’s about 9:34am, We needed to be at SLC at 10am.  We had heard that SLC can be pretty difficult to find and many Taxi drivers get a bit lost and have to call SLC to find their way there. So not wanting this to happen to us I printed out Directions to SLC in Chinese from Google Maps and added in the Address for better visibility. Downloaded this to the iPad for better visibility.

Map to SLC

So We ask the hotel to read the map and explain to the taxi driver where we wanted to go.  She read off the Address to the guy and he nodded his head.  Not being sure he understood I showed him the Map.   He looked and looked.  Seems like the Taxi drivers that I’ve shown Maps to have never really seen maps before. They all look a bit puzzled when they see them. I know if I saw a map of my home city I’d be pretty sure where I was. It included a few major streets and university campus.  Not the case.  A bit confused he got out of the car and met up with another taxi guy. So it was the two taxi people, and a few hotel people having a chat.  No map, just the address. He gets in the car and is confidant he can find it.  We are finally on our way to our son!  I’m following along on my Map where he’s going.  The route he took was pretty much dead on to the directions on the map. So we were there by 9:45am. We thanked and tipped out Taxi driver and decided since we were early we would take some photos of the outside…

Nervous as can be we wait…  Though the feeling of realness is more clear.  This is going to happen!!!  He’s in the building, he’s only a few steps away! After a few minutes of waiting, Mei, the translator, drives up on her moped. She took us up to the waiting room and explained to us about how the transition would happen. She mention that the birth family was here and was with our son and it would still be a few minutes before he would be brought in. Like an expectant father, I was pacing back and forth… well in my head while waiting patiently on the green couch.  Looking up at the clock…  He’s over due!

It’s hard to describe the wait at this point. Wanting to see and hold my son after just seeing pictures for the past 8 months.  He’s in the other room moments away…  Jessica one of the facilitators pops in and says it will be a few more minutes.  Okay Breath, Breath… A few more minutes. I can do it… Breath…  Jessica Walks back in and this time he is in her Arms!  Yes, He’s here… patients, don’t rush her… let her come to you…

At this point there are tears all around. Well except for our son, he’s a bit quit. This has to be pretty confusing for him. We wanted to give him a chance to see us and be more comfortable with the situation.

I’m going to have to break this one into multiple posts. Sorry…. Next post will be up as soon as I can…  Hopefully the above pictures will tide you over…

It’s after 10pm here and he is still squirming around. He took a short nap earlier and it gave him a boost, so we are going to go ‘Light Out’ to see if we can get him (and us) some much-needed rest.

Thank you all for your support!!!!  Love all the Comments and replies!! Keep them coming!

Posted by: scooter133 | April 29, 2010

Backtracking… Another Night in Tainan…

Getting so much pressure to post pictures of the meeting I had not finished the blogging from the night before.

There were lots of Fireworks being set off lastnight and the night before, so I decided to investigate. Who can forgo fireworks???   Come on…  I was in luck as there was a ton of them across the tracks and up a block.  They would go off like every 20 something minutes. Girls were in bed again and it was only 7:30pm.. With all the knots in my stomach for the pending events for tomorrow I need to get out and walk around. So off I went!

I walked towards the direction of the fireworks though didn’t see or hear anything.  I came across some guys that seemed to be sweeping the the leaves in the street, thought it was a bit off at 7:30 at night to be hand sweeping the streets. Brown leaves vs fire cracker residue, 7:30 at night not much difference. They were cleaning their mess up!  Across the street from them was a gathering of people.

Entrance to Temple Courtyard

There seemed to be random people coming and going so it looked okay if I was there. One side of the courtyard had a stage setup with a bunch of chairs, the other was the temple with a few flights of stairs to it.  While in China there were a few temples that it was not appropriate to take pictures, so I was just observing. There was a group of people in the temple that were in the middle of a ceremony. Another group was outside waiting their turn, another group had just finished and was at a group of tables eating.  The 2nd group finished and the 3rd went in to do their thing…  I so wanted to take pictures of the event… I so wanted to find someone who spoke English to tell me what was going on.  Talking with some other Taiwanese, apparently many people who can speak English do not because they are embarrassed, I’m sure their English is far better then my Mandarin!  I asked several people and kids throughout the ceremony event and no one spoke enough English or wanted to speak and fill me in on what was going on or the name of the temple. So after that 3rd group finished the stage opposite started to show signs of life.  There was a guy who seemed to be collecting money from most people, but didn’t seem to be everyone.  Mostly the people that were in the seats.

I cannot say that I could follow along, but there were funny parts that I could laugh with the rest of the people though.  I tried again with the people coming and going to see if any of them spoke English.  No such luck.  I asked a 7 or so year old boy and from his look at me I’m sure I had cooties hanging all over me. Another 20 something with no luck. 12 something year old sisters got me a few giggles, but no English.

Here is part of one of the opera songs

So in my efforts to find someone to speak English to give me a quick rundown of the event I would walk from side to side in the back. Bring close to the temple I would look at it and the things going on inside. People were still coming and going, just not in groups anymore. A super nice guy (another note here, EVERYONE here has been great and helpful!) who spoke no English wanted me to start using that camera I was lugging around.  He took me by the hand and brought me into the temple. He wanted me to take pictures of specific things. He took me into areas that were sectioned off too. Pointing to this and that, super excited that I was there.  He then let me wonder a bit here and there. I found another place in the back that was set up for prayer. I knelt down and said a few words about our son and our family. The guy would pop his head in and check in on me. He was so happy for me to be there experiencing their celebration. I was happy too!! This is where my son is from, this is his culture and his country. I wanted to know as much as I could!  I just needed someone to speak English! Before I left I wanted to try and tell him why I was there. I translated the word Adopt and showed him a picture of my son. He then went to get a group of people and they were all happy and excited.  I thanked him and his friends and left the temple…

So on my way out of the courtyard I tried one more time for someone to translate for me. I wanted to know what I was experiencing. I wanted to know the name of the place I was at.  I found a lady that spoke a few words of English. After a bit of discussion with her friends, another guy said the name of this place in English is ‘Temple’ to which he got a sock in the arm by the lady. So I struck out again. I might go back tomorrow to see if I can find someone to tell me what was going on.

Posted by: scooter133 | April 28, 2010

Big Sister, Little brother

Posted by: scooter133 | April 28, 2010

Another Day in Tainan…

So it was an early start to the day. Well mostly because the girls were in bed by 6 the night before!  So with 12 hours of sleep they were ready to get breakfast…  Along with the Horizon Club, you get buffet breakfast.  So we all headed down to the 10th floor to grab some grub.  All Maleah wanted this time was pancakes.  Talk about a Spread…  We kept going back for more and kept finding more places that they were serving food from. take your Typical buffet counter with maybe a dozen things on it.  Not multiply that by about 8 or 9.  There was the typical continental type stuff, regular American breakfast type stuff, Japanese type stuff and of course Asian.  Mostly all intermixed among themselves.   I wish I was the type to just publicly take random pictures of things in an area where its not a typical place to take pictures.  Though I guess my hard drive thanks me for not filling it up… So we all had a bit of everything.

We headed back to the room to catch up on blogging, get maps planned out for the day and a map to get to St Lucy Center.  We decided to head west and check out the Confucius Temple. We were able to get the Hotel to tell the taxi where we needed to go. I have Maps of the area all on the iPad too but it was probably  easier for the hotel guy to tell the taxi guy.  It was raining a tad, so the hotel guy handed us a few nice umbrellas to use for the day.  Did I mention I like this Hotel??  So a short taxi ride later we are at the Confucius Temple.   We took the nickle tour. Maleah like the pond out front with the fish and turtles.  Whoa was there ton of turtles in the pond!  Of course I found a squirrel and snapped a few dozen shots.  Not sure what it is with me and squirrels…  Inside the temple was nice. Lots of history.  We were approached by one of the guys keeping an eye on things, an older gentleman who’s English was pretty remarkable. It was not his native tongue by far, but his English was great. ( I could of used him later tonight for some translating!)  Here are some of the pictures from the temple.

After the temple we heard there wewre some nice shops near the Tayih Landis Hotel. So we tried to get a Taxi from the temple to the hotel. I tried to flag down a Taxi. held out my hand pointed and waived to a guy. Maybe he was a ‘Light on’ Off duty type guy, as I waived to him he smiled and waived right back!  We did end up getting one that was stopped at a light.  Again I’m thinking that the name is like a proper name that does not need translating. Wrong there…  I handed him the iPad with a Map of where we wanted to go. Unfortunately he could not read the small print on the iPad, Making it bigger just made it blury.  Eventually he was able to make out enough of it to get us there.

We wondered through the mall there till we found the food court as it was lunch again.  Lucky for Maleah they had a McDonalds there too! I’m a pro at ordering too.  (-;  I was even able to type in enough stuff in my translator to ask for more catchup. She smiled and handed me more. Maleah was pretty upset last time since she didn’t have enough, I made sure she did this time!!!  Jennifer jumped right in again and ordered some Dumplings. I tried to order a noodle soup without meat or seaweed. I went for the beef noodle soup picture and then told her no beef and that I wanted Toufu instead. Well three other people tried to help ,me,  and the third did a bit of translation for me. Wasn’t what I was looking for, but it was good.  We had the Shangri La stationary, and showed it to the taxi guy and the trip back to the hotel was pretty uneventful.

We hung out in the hotel for a bit, took a rest. then went out to a Park that I found the night before.  No Not South Park…  I dont know the name of it.  IIt was about 3-4 busy blocks away. It had a nice playground, though since it had been raining, the slides were all wet. Maleah still enjoyed herself though.

Posted by: scooter133 | April 27, 2010

An Evening Out In Tainan

So after the food court and a quick tour of the Mall we went back up the hotel room to hang out for a bit. So the Girls crashed after a bit and they were out and not coming back for night.  It was only 7pm so I decided to take a walk about town. Took out the iPhone and added a ‘pin’ to my current location on Google maps. Not that I needed it, as the Shangri La was the tallest thing around.  I headed out in a direction where I saw lots of lights and people.  the first few streets I came to were more what I picture a night market to be, lots of food vendors and people. Though these were all in store fronts and not  an open market type.

I was wondering from street to street just soaking it all in. Not really having a place to be or a particular direction except for where there were lights and people.  I came across this building (see below) and thought it was cool. It was in the middle of a round-about with no obvious want to get to it. I dodged a moped here and there and took a few picts from the middle of the street.  Then walking a block down this guy came up to me and said he noticed I was taking pictures of the building. Showed me his shirt that had a Picture of it on there.  Not that I could tell. (-;  Then he was like a mini tour guide… So here is where it gets a bit odd.  He tells me that the building was built in 1719 or something and talks a bit more about it. Then he whips out his phone and starts showing me other places around the city.  They were small photos and at an angle and a bit of a distance.  I remember passing some of the ones he mentioned. Then he was a bit more comfortable and was a bit closer. I could see the images on the phone a bit clearer. They were pictures of Lego Structures made to look like the buildings that he was talking about.  A dozen or so.  I didn’t have a feel for if he was trying to get me to pay for the info or what.  I thanked him for his time and he wondered off.

I then stumbled upon South Park. There was more a a night market feel here but maybe only a dozen vendors.

Not sure what this was about but I was out in front of the Tainan Tran station. It looked like it was there for some event/display, not something that is there all the time.  So I’m pretty much at the same place that the bus dropped us off at in the morning.  There had to be a way to get to the other side of the tracks without going way out of the way , or the way I came from.   Rooting around I found a set of stairs that went down below.  It wasn’t for the train itself, but seemed like it was more for getting through the intersection.  I tried it as there was nothing that was going over the tracks.  Part way through the tunnel there was an intersection. Score!  Wondering a bit more I was standing out in front of our hotel!   Not that the morning’s $2.70 taxi was not worth it, but it would have been super easy to get form the bus to our hotel.

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