Thursday was a free day in Changsha. All of the adoption paperwork has been completed and Jeremy is now legally our son. Now, we just wait for his Chinese passport, which we should receive on Friday. Once we have the passport, we can go on to Guangzhou where the US consulate officials will put an immigration visa into the passport, which will allow us to bring Jeremy into the country. Thursday was also the 14th day of the Chinese Lunar Year, which is the day of the Lantern Festival. This day marks the end of the new year celebration. There were many people all over the city enjoying the day, which was quite nice outside. A bit cloudy, but the temps were in the 50's. In the morning, we took Jeremy to a bookstore near the hotel. Mary found several books with pictures of common items, their chinese characters, their pinyin pronunciations and also the english word for them. We hope to use these to help Jeremy learn english, and Sarabeth remember her chinese. After lunch in a local restaurant we met up with Jacky, who took us to a large park in Changsha where there were lanterns everywhere.
Just as in the US, there were people selling trinkets and balloons and toys right inside the entrance to the park, targeting the kids with their wares of course. Jeremy quickly had himself a helium balloon.
We then began walking around the park. We were soon surprised to find out that there was an amusement park area located within the park. There were many rides and carnival type games, which Jeremy was very excited about. He had never been on rides before, but he was ready and willing to try. We did bumper cars (the chinese were very timid about bumping tho, unlike in the US where the whole goal is to smash as many other cars as possible). We did do some bumping, but several folks just rode around in circles, avoiding contact wherever possible! My theory was if someone avoided hitting me, I would not bump them. But, if someone bumped me......it was on!
Jeremy enjoyed this, but really wanted to ride the swing that was located next to the bumper cars, so off we went to this. Neither Mary, Jacky or I wanted to ride this one, but Jeremy was eager to go by himself. He was smiling the whole time!
Next, Mary and I took Jeremy on a ferris wheel that circled high above the park. Jeremy was pointing things out and talking up a storm! We have no idea what he was saying. After this, Jeremy took his first roller coaster ride with Mama, on a small coaster. He again enjoyed! The ride daddy wanted to go on was the big looping roller coaster. Jeremy was game!!! We bought our tickets and climbed the stairs, only to have the gate closed just in front of us. WooooHoooo. We got to get in the front seat of the next ride! The ride operators were quite concerned about Jeremy's lack of arms-- they wanted me to put my arm across his chest during the ride. I dutifully kept it there..... until we were headed up the first hill. Then we just enjoyed the ride. Jeremy again was all smiles!
Jacky said we could come back to the park at night when all the lanterns would be lit, but that there would be no way for a taxi to get there because of all the foot traffic. It would require a long walk to and from the hotel. We opted to stay back and walk down the street for dinner. We enjoyed a great meal. Towards the end of dinner, the fireworks started outside. Oh my goodness!!! All over the city, everywhere you looked, there were fireworks. People were setting them off right on the sidewalk across from the hotel. Big starbursts were going off outside the hotel windows. The noise was incessant, from about 7pm until who knows when. They were still booming when we went to bed at 10pm, and they were still booming when I woke up at 12:30am. When I re-awoke at 3am, it was finally quiet outside.
Another day closer to coming home! We can't wait to see the rest of the family at the airport in Minneapolis next Friday.