Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day One of Mom's Visit

My mom arrived at the Guangzhou International Airport at 10:30pm on Sunday night. I was more than excited to see her! I even made a sign that read, “Welcome to China Mom!” just in case she couldn’t spot me in the crowd. We found a taxi and made it to my apartment at about 11:45pm. My mom was so eager to show me all of the gifts that people sent with her for me that she proceeded to unpack it all and pile it on top of me. I was so overwhelmed with the love and generosity of my friends and family back home. Thank you all!

The next morning, I didn’t allow my mom much time for jet lag recovery because we hit the ground running. First, we ate lunch at a little local Japanese restaurant called Futian Noodles. My mom ordered Japanese Fried Rice and I ordered noodles. Due to my mom hosting a Japanese exchange student in March, it was my mom who was showing me how to use the chopsticks to eat the noodles. *smile

After lunch I took my mom to one of the nearby malls so that I could go to the bank. Here, my mom had to experience her first “squatty potty”! This may have been the first one, but was definitely not the last one.

Next, we walked over to Ikea. This was my mom’s first time visiting an Ikea. At this point I think the jet lag was hitting her a little bit.

At about 2:30 we walked over to my company’s downtown office so that we could get assistance in registering my mom as a visitor in the city. In the office I was able to introduce my mom to my Chinese teacher, Sara. We ended up talking for awhile and Sara gave my mom a Chinese name, lè lè 楽 楽 . This means “happy or glad” which is so fitting for my mom!

About an hour later my company’s visa specialist was ready to take us to the police station to register my mom. (This is a mandatory procedure in the People’s Republic of China.) When we got there they said that they could not help us because the man who was in charge of registering people was in a meeting. Therefore, we got back in a taxi and headed for the fabric market.

When we arrived I whisked my mom up to the third floor to see my tailor, two wonderful Chinese women who speak minimal English. After looking through some books my mom picked out a jacket pattern. One of the ladies then led us to a fabric stall in which my mom could pick out which pattern she liked. After finding the fabric she wanted it was then up to me to try to bargain with the lady to get in down to a lower price. I was able to lower the price a little, but not by very much. I am still working on my bargaining skills.

By this time my mom was more than exhausted. It was only about 5:30pm, but my mom had not even been in China for 24 hours yet!

We went back to my apartment, ordered pizza (yes, I can get Papa John’s pizza delivered), and relaxed. We also needed to pack because the next morning we were getting on a train to go to Hong Kong and then on to Beijing!

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