Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monkey park, and other musings

We went to the monkey park today. It's a popular park outside the city centered around a Budihst temple which sits on top of a mountain with a lake at the mountain's foot. At the base of the mountain, the older Chinese generation are seen exercising...ti chi, ti chi swords, dancing and swimming in the ice cold lake. Actually, this was the first body of water I've seen in China that looked pretty clean...but I still wouldn't swim in it. As you walk the road up the mountain, the monkeys come out of the trees and the Chinese begin to feed them, what looked to me like Honey Buns. The more experienced monkeys even took them out of the plastic wrapper. We walked, and took pictures. At one point, I was trying to take a picture of Graham and Stef while carrying Maggie. Maggie was watching the viewfinder and pointed at Graham and said "ga ga", or whatever the word is for "brother". We also walked through the temple...didn't see any monks but I was promised they were there...somewhere. All I saw were Chinese paying for entrance into the temple, where they could pay for incense sticks to burn to various gods, and stuff money into boxes for other gods. I guess the monks show up once the boxes are full.

Maggie's getting better and better. She is still quite and bashful, but you can see that she wants to open up. When she forgets to ignore us, you'll catch her talking. Tonight, as I carried her home from dinner she even started singing. Of course, we had to act like we didn't notice, but that isn't too difficult when she doesn't know what your saying.

She also started playing with toys today. We brought a few things with us, and bought a few inexpensive toys. She and Graham played on the floor for a long time tonight. She played with a little tea set, and would fight back a smile anytime one of the three of us tried to act silly. Graham finally got her to laugh out loud when he took her cat and played as though it was drinking from his tea cup...of course, she caught herself, and the laugh was cut short...still cute though. When she fights back a smile, it really is pretty funny looking and if we laugh, she turns her head and tries to hide behind a hand by covering her eyes.

She is very talkative...and even though we don't know what she is saying, you can tell that her speech is very advanced for a child her age. Several of the Chinese have commented on this too. I hate to think that she would lose her ability to speak Mandarin, but I also don't know how to make sure she not only keeps what she knows, but also help her develop her Mandarin while also learning English. I know some of you have older adoptive children. Maybe you can give us some advise.

Quick sociology lesson...the vast majority of Chinese are of the Han ethnicity. The rest are one 55 various "minorities". Guizhou province is known for their significant number of minorities, making up about 40% of the population. We'll probably never know, but we think that she is likely Buyi...partially at least...or maybe even Miao. Tomorrow, we're going to visit a Buyi villiage, which I think will be very interesting. One tidbit...the Buyi eat dog...yep, dog. They think it keeps them warm in the winter...whatever works, I guess. As a matter of a fact, on December 22, all of Guizhou province celebrates some sort of provincial holiday by eating dog. Too bad we're leaving early.

Oh, and after griping so about no Starbucks, we found the American run coffee shop. It was really a nice treat to sit and relax in something familiar.

Also, and Stef wants me to say this...and I'm to lazy to see if I've already said it...but she's potty trained. As a matter of a fact, Stef was out today, and it was me and Graham in the room with Maggie. In typical "Brook in charge fashion" I drifted off to sleep. Something woke me suddenly, and I asked Graham where Maggie was. In typical "Graham not paying attention" fashion, he had no idea. She was in the bathroom, taking care of #2 all by herself. We'll get into more of these details down the road, but we've come to learn a little more about her that makes me really think we've got a sweetie on our are a couple: She was prone to answer the phone at her foster parents home. OK, maybe that doesn't mean much to you, but when I see this little girl walk around my room and think of her answering the phone in a proper way, it makes me laugh inside. Also, whenever her foster grandparents would leave the home, she always said, in a very proper way something along the line of "travel safe Grandmother, and return home safely soon"...also, she loves to wear a backpack. Apparently her niece....her foster brothers daughter...goes to kindergarten and wears a backpack. She would tell her foster a very proper way..."grandmother, when I am older I will wear a backpack and I will go to school too" I type it, it doesn't seem to have the same impact, but it is all pretty funny when you hear'll have to trust me.




  1. I love the details! It makes me (probably everyone reading) feel so much more like a part of your journey! Thanks!!

    As for the language thing, unless you enroll her in special classes, there won't be much hope of keeping that... I figure someday they might have the opportunity to study it again and perhaps it will come easier.

    Hope everyone is sleeping well... Love the pictures! She is SO cute and Graham looks like he is being such a great big brother! Love, Sharla

  2. I am hearing some really, really good things... Thank You, Lord... keep blessing this beautiful forever family.

  3. These are great posts and she'll love reading them someday.

    I'm not sure about her keeping her Chinese, but I'd be glad for Joel to talk to her when you get home. He is keeping his. We let him read the characters, which helps a lot. I think since she does not read yet (assuming she doesn't), then it would be much harder. We have an electronic translator that Joel uses now just for practicing his Mandarin. We are trying to at least keep it familiar enough that he can pick back up where he left off. Our guide told us Joel knew probably around 30,000 of the 60,000+ characters! He writes them really well (from what i can see anyway).

    You can buy videos in Chinese. (maybe having these would keep it familiar to her).

    Hoping and praying you all continue having a great trip! Leslie

  4. Love seeing all the pics. I can see the changes in her in only this short time. The pic. of her and Graham walking together was one of my favorite. Of course seeing the family pics. brings a smile to my face. You all look great, hope this means your are getting rest @ night. or catching a nap here and there (during potty time or whenever). Can hardly wait to see what you do tomorrow (today where you are). Hope your day is fun. Love you. Aunt M.