Monday, April 30, 2007

Getting out and about . . .

I'm thinking we aren't going to be getting Josie until Wednesday. If I hear otherwise-I'll let you know.

Today, Mom and I ventured out and walked around Hoan Kiem Lake and then met up with some of the PLAN families currently here and in various stages of the process. The weather is actually pretty nice-mid-eighties, some sun, some clouds . . .The forecast for the week isn't so great-showers, thunderstorms, upper 70s. Welcome to the rainy season in Vietnam!

Hanoi is pretty crazy-motorbikes everywhere and pedestrians, motorbikes, regular bikes and cars all weaving in and out-but not running into each other-which is pretty surprising. Just crossing the street was an adventure for us. There was one shopping plaza we wanted to check out-but the street was so wide and so busy-neither of us felt comfortable. Towards the end of the afternoon we were getting more and more courageous. Maybe by the end of our trip we will be renting our own motorbikes. Then again-maybe not.

The street noise is pretty amazing too-everybody honking, construction projects that are only going in the middle of the nite, and there always seems to be some random guy singing very loudly around 2 am the last couple of nites. But I don't think it was the same guy . . . There's so much energy here. It's really neat, and the noise doesn't keep us awake either. It's quickly becoming ambient noise.

It was fun to get a baby fix today with the other families. We went to a restaurant where some of us sat in seats made from cyclos(the kind that are attached to bikes so you can be driven around). I had some delicious steamed fish in banana leaves. Still working on Mom trying some Vietnamese food-she was pretty interested in my noodle/veggie/meat meal last nite. We're going to meet up with some of the same families again tonite for dinner here at our hotel. So-let's see if I can get some pics to post . . . .

View from the hotel . . .

Another view . . .

Hoan Kiem Lake

Random people on the street.

Cool cat, huh?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

We're Here!

Wow-what a long trip! We arrived at the hotel at about 1am Sunday morning. I believe we're 14 hours ahead here . . . We traveled for about 27 hours. Mom and I both managed to sleep about 5 hours last nite-I'm hoping to not nap and get right on a regular sleeping schedule. We'll see. I feel pretty good-Mom's a bit rummy.

So-we got the internet to work here in the room. I can't seem to access my email-so for now-if anyone needs to contact me-use my netzero account: I hope I can figure out the problem with my groupwise access. I think I might lose my mind if I can't access that account for over a month. I think the WiFi is the issue, but not sure.

So-the trip. We did end up getting the upgrade to business class from San Fran to Seoul. Wow-that was cool. The seats recline fully and they have adjustable footrests. When we sat down-we were immediately given glasses of champagne and little bowls of warm roasted nuts. yum. After a couple of rum and cokes-they served dinner. Okay-i have never eaten airline food that I would rave about before-smoked salmon appetizer, sesame chicken with noodles for me, Mom had some sort of beef and cheddar potato, caramel cheesecake for dessert. yeah. We had our own little TVs and several movie options. I watched The Holiday and amused Mom with all my giggling. Notes From a Scandal was also good-but a bit intense. I dozed during Blood Diamond-which was good because it was a little distressing and quite frankly a little too "real" for me.

While the seats were comfortable-I was in the middle, which made getting in and out a bit of a challenge. Mom and i seemed to be the only ones not able to completely sack out during the trip (were they all drugged or something?). The seats in front of us were completely reclined and Mom and the guy next to me had their footrests completely extended. The first time I came in from the wrong side and basically fell on the guy next to me getting back in-after that I chose to climb (literally!) over mom to get in and out.

We had a about an hour delay in Seoul-and then a 4 hour trip to Hanoi. I thought it was funny that the only sleep we got on the entire trip (besides half-asleep dozing) was while we were in coach seating. When we got to Hanoi-we got through customs without any problem and had a hotel car pick us up. The guy was holding a sign with mom's name on it-how cool is that? Not that I could see it or anything as I had taken out my contacts and spent half the trip blind as a bat. I was going to take a pic of us standing uder the sign at the airport-but after such a long trip-there was no way I was permanently documenting the state my face and hair was in.

We ordered room service this morning-because we hadn't yet figured out how to get coffee and well, you all should know how important coffee is to us! After a quick shower-I headed downstairs to change some money and find more coffee (one cup is NOT gonna do it!). On the first floor of our hotel is a shopping center with a grocery store, baby store (dangerous!), coffee shop (yay!) and a whole host of other shopping. Buying groceries in another country was fun.

Okay-I'll check in later when I hear from Cherie and find out when we'll be able to get Josie!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maybe we should apply for citizenship . . .

So-we leave on Friday for Vietnam! Yesterday we were informed that there may be some delays in the process in Vietnam-and it was possible we would need to stay longer. Mom and I decided to go ahead and change our return flight now, rather than having to deal with it in Vietnam. We are now returning home on June 4th. If we get done with the US Embassy early, we may try to leave sooner-however, flights out of Hanoi are very difficult to get. Apparently, it's quite the hot spot for tourists in SE Asia. We also only have a 30 day visa, so we'll have to get extended ones while we're there. It was suggested we consider arriving in Hanoi a week later so that we don't have to stay in country for so long-but since I will be able to Josie next week-there's no way I'm delaying my trip. It just means we'll have even longer to explore Josie birth country. And I hear it's just beautiful. Even in the rainy season!

We're staying at the Somerset hotel-which has little apartments. We'll have a kitchen, washer/dryer, 2 bedrooms, and a living room. I think we'll be quite comfortable. There's also a pool-can't wait to take Josie swimming.

I will update my blog with pics and videos while I'm there. And I will do as many individual emails as time allows.

I can't wait for you all to meet Josie! She will be baptised on June 17th at the 11am Mass at the Cathedral. It will also be her first birthday! And Father's Day . . . . . We'll have some sort of celebration at the house afterwards.

I can't thank everyone enough for all their support, prayers (Thanks Maddie!), gifts, good wishes, excitement, and help throughout the last 7 months. I'm so lucky to have all of you in my life! Thanks especially to those (ahem, Shu!) who've talked me down from the ledge more than once. This has been the most amazing and stressful time of my whole life! The control-freak in me has had a bit of trouble letting go and just letting things happen. Soon-it will be all worth it.

Much Love-


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Finished room . . . .

There are a few people who have apparently been anxiously awaiting pics of the finished room-and with the exception of the glider (which hopefully all the pieces will arrive UNBROKEN soon) and the proper hardware for the shades (so that they can actually go up and down-a good feature in a shade)-the room is finished. I need to arrange things on the shelves too I guess . . . .

Uh, oh . . .I just realized I forgot to put the stuff I had on top of the changing table back after I took this picture. That's a bit of a problem because, apparently changing tables make really comfy cat beds.

It's harder than you would think to hang those letters straight. Plus-the O is larger than any other letter. weird.

My aunt made the curtains . .don't they look great?

See those dresses hanging on the changing table in the first pic? I want to take all 3 to Vietnam. Why, you ask? Why would one child need 3 fancy dresses during a 3 week period? Well-she doesn't. But I love all 3 and can't bring myself to leave one behind. Besides-we need a Giving and Receiving dress (the green one), a coming home from the orphanage dress (the purple I think-it's in the back-you probably can't see it), and a coming home dress to greet Papa and any other family members that travel to the airport (pink). And-there's church, too! See-so many uses for fancy dresses!

Seriously-I have so many baby clothes packed-I'm not sure I'll get to bring any clothes. Last weekend-I took all of Josie's clothes down to Mom's so we could wash and decide which ones to pack. Mom's been feeling a bit stressed about the trip-it's really hard to have no control over any part of this trip. We have no control over the arrival and departure dates really (we've already had to change our departure date-and I've changed our hotel booking 3 times), we won't know when we get Josie until we get there, we will be at the mercy of the US Embassy and just hope and pray that we can leave on our scheduled flight on May 22nd.

Anyway-even though it's laundry-i thought that playing with baby clothes would cheer her up a bit. It works for me-I have taken the clothes out of the closet and rearranged them at least 4 or 5 times. But now-i figured it was time to cut of the tags (so many tags, piles of tags!) and wash them. When i got there-Marina was there to help-Mom asked me where the baby soap was. Huh? You know-there's a lot I have to learn about babies and how to care for them (did you know walkers=BAD!?), but I thought I at least knew how to do LAUNDRY! So-off to the store for Dreft and liquid Downy (no dryer sheets for Josie!). Wow-the clothes smell and feel so good-I think I could just dive into a pile of freshly-washed baby clothes. I want to wash my clothes in this stuff now.