We met with our guide, Grace, bright and early 8:30 Saturday morning. After boarding a bus with several other adopting families, we left for Tian An Men Square. We were then told that we would be walking for several hours, boarding the bus for lunch and then heading to the Great Wall. Unfortunately we were unprepared for just how cold it was. Jacob should have worn a heavy sweatshirt under his winter coat to stay warmer, and really all of us were pretty cold most of the time. We viewed the amazing sights of Tian An Men Square, the Forbidden City, and the Imperial Gardens.
The architecture was so lovely, the colors so vibrant. Grace told us many interesting facts about the emperors, the different palaces, and many of the Chinese myths and legends surrounding the area. She really added a lot of history, politics, and cultural differences to her discussions. It was probably around 1:30pm before we walked to the bus and headed to a lovely Chinese restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was housed in the upstairs of a jade factory. After the meal, we toured the factory to learn the differences in the quality of jade and to learn the technique of making certain jade pieces.
Later, we headed to the Great Wall. What an unbelievable experience. The climb was quite steep and we took a few breaks along the way. Steve and the kids did a fantastic job and made it up several different levels. I was dizzy and not feeling well, so I didn't make a very impressive show. On the way back to the hotel, we passed the Water Cube and the Bird's Nest after dark with all the lights on. Gorgeous.
We found out that our flights were quite early Sunday morning and needed to leave at 5am. I made the mistake of brushing my teeth with tap water without thinking on Friday night, so I was actually up most of the night Saturday night.
Sunday morning's flight was short, but then we had to circle the airport in Shenyang for quite awhile. The runway was a sheet of ice. There was alot of snow on the ground and it has been snowing all day, too. The temperature here is 0 degrees. Cold doesn't really cover it. We made it to our hotel in Shenyang. It is actually the Gloria Hotel instead of the Intercontinental Hotel I thought we would be staying in. We managed to send the boys out for McDonalds and plan to meet Grace for our evening meal. We are settling in and preparing to meet little Jia Wen tomorrow morning at 10am. It's still all a bit surreal, and we haven't really had enough sleep to be at the top of our game. Hopefully tonight we'll all get caught up on sleep. Pray for Jia Wen as she leaves her home tomorrow. It should be a very difficult day for her.