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Paul, Katherine, Grace Ann and Zoe!
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April 4, 2006
The morning started off with a thick soup of haze, humidity, and pollution rolling off the Pearl river.  Even early at 5am boats are busy setting sail for the factories down river.  We’ve been up for 2 hours, and the great success we had sleeping last night we’ve now discovered was only due to the shear exhaustion of gotcha day.  Last night, Zoe didn’t afford us the luxury of a full night’s sleep.  She went to bed maybe by ten after 2 straight hours of holding her, rocking her, walking her, and then putting her down holding our breath hoping she would stay asleep.  No luck, she seemed to have an aversion to laying down, and her habit of head butting the mattress to comfort herself didn’t allow for us to simply hang back and let her fidget herself to sleep.  Up then again at 2am or so to take a bottle, then back to sleep.  But once again Katherine can’t sleep anymore, awake from walking the halls at 2am and we’re stuck awake so very tired.  At breakfast Zoe continues her habit of literally eating anything not tied down.  How a kid of 15 1/2 pounds can put away so much food I have no idea, but she can out eat any other kid in this group.  She has now realized that she’s not one of 90 babies in an orphanage, and rather now has 2 people doted to her every need.  She has made it clear that her every need is food, and that if she cries she gets it!  Watch out Gracie, this one is already getting demanding of mom’s attention.  At 10am I am off to do a couple hours worth of paper work while Zoe and mom do some playing in the room and some shopping at the street market outside.  We then head out for a walk in the sweltering heat, which I love, but which causes grumblings in most of the others.  We have until 3pm free, so we buy some gifts and meet another couple at a corner grocery.  We decide to have lunch together in our rooms, a local place actually will deliver pizza, and although it resembles school cafeteria pizza more than dominos it still tastes awfully good going down.  Zoe has her first play date, and immediately tries to put to rest the “kind and gentle” tag her caretakers gave her by trying to wrestle down the other baby.  Zoe loves the other kids, and likes to have lots of people around.  Not surprising given where she has come from.  Then it is off to the medical clinic for check ups.  The walk is beautiful.  The island we are on (Shaieman) is separated from the main city by a small canal, and the entire island was build by the British back in the Boxer Rebellion days.  Lots of old beautiful European architecture that now has the wear of one hundred and fifty years in the tropics without any real money to keep it up.  Clothes hang out of every window drying in the haze.  Needless to say, there are no washers and dryers in the 400 square foot appts most of the people live in.  The clinic is on the other side of the island, a short walk through beautifully old tree lines streets and ornate gardens, which contrast against the wear of most of the buildings.  The contrast is stunning.  The clinic is stark and crowded, but clean.  None of the girls enjoy themselves as they are poked, weighed, measured, etc…lots of crying, but Zoe, as usual, takes it in stride and just looks around with those big eyes.  Once again our agency seems to have lots of pull over here as we are whisked in without waiting in any lines and run right through the process with military precision.  On the way back we see lots of soldiers in parade, and are told not to take pictures of them for fear of getting your camera taken.  We also see a primary school and have the collective voices of children reciting something in unison as they do in every other school all over the world.  Strange old trees with odd roots twist and tangle out of the gardens, and one buds a flower that seems to weigh at least 4 pounds making a huge “thunk” as it falls out of the tree onto the Mercedes right next to us.  After some more playtime its out to dinner where Zoe scarfs down chicken & rice conge, broccoli, and scrambled eggs.  She eats more than I do.  Then passes out on the walk back to the hotel with every once of her blood I’m sure circulating through her stomach.  Right now she is asleep, and so is Katherine.  We’re both hoping to get some real rest tonight, but only time will tell.  We miss you Gracie, and we are showing your picture to Zoe every day and telling her all about you.  We will see you in less than a week now!  Uh oh, she just woke up!