Friday, February 6, 2009

Our mud babies

I bought all but one of these clay dolls at a flea market years ago, falling immediately in love with them. Little pieces of the red thread to China. The one on the far right I got in Xi'an when I adopted Jing. I got to buy almost nothing that trip as there was a miscommunication with the agency. They told me all the China fees had been covered. I assumed that meant ALL the fees in China. But turns out they were not counting the physical exam or consulate fees as China fees, though they are IN CHINA, huh?! So the day we got to Guangzhou, our guide unhanded me of all but $27 - with four days to go before heading home!

My credit card was useless as I had lost my job after Dossier to China, a horrifyingly unexpected surprise, and was out of work and broke and basically charged it over the top to get there and get Jing home. Oh how frustrating! And scary! Me, a rather timid person, alone with a wild, unhappy child I could not communicate with and a dismayed new little sister who was being slapped, shoved and spat upon by her new sibling and no money! So just a few small souvenirs, mostly from Xi'an when I thought I had those extra hundreds! But I did get the kid, which was a miracle considering my circumstances, so who can complain!

It was a scary time, though. I had no idea what we would do as I had cancelled the White Swan breakfast buffet to save money. But a budget oasis presented itself right in the midst of the panic! Down the road we found a little grocery store where I got three orders of fried rice and three slices of watermelon for 7 yuan! We ate it every day and ate the fruit basket the hotel gave us and even squeezed in a meal at Lucy's, I think right before our money was pilfered, and we made it home with a bit of change in our pockets! What an adventure!
Well, I did not intend to ramble there but what memories! And so we came home with a few sets of terracotta warriors, many of which broke, the little clay doll, chops for both girls, a cheap toy car and plane for Jing and Lily and a couple of t-shirts plus shoes and two boys outfits for Jing - she gagged at the girls clothes I brought her and refused to wear them, and then refused to wear the boys' outfits she picked out, choosing to roll with sweat under the two layers of clothes she came in, including a heavy denim outfit with jacket. While I got cussed out all over China by little old ladies pointing their fingers at me and lecturing me angrily! We all hope to go back so we can relax and enjoy the trip and explore China together as a unified family! Hopefully with more than $27 in our pockets!


  1. Jan, your journaling is always so awesome. I'm getting to know so much more about you and your girls. Would love to meet your family one day.

  2. I loved reading your story!! This must have been a horrifying moment when you had all of $27 and still 4 days left in China. And 2 kids!! I don't know how - or if - I would have handled it! Definitely not as well as you did!!

  3. Wow, I love to read your journaling Jan! I can't even begin to imagine how terrifying it would be to find yourself in China with only 27.00 and 4 days to go. I was paniced when we had only a few hundred left by that time.

    I swear you have a book inside you waiting to get out!! I hope you get to write it some day!