Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Settling In

This week has been our settling in week- the kids are finally on a "normal" schedule of going to sleep around 8pm, waking up around 7am, and taking a nice 2 hour nap in the afternoon. The (seemingly) insurmountable goal is to have all 3 kids sleeping at the same time-- and a couple of days I have actually achieved that!!!:) Aaah, the tranquility of watching my Oprah while folding clean clothes on the couch. Another overwhelming task accomplished- I have caught up on laundry! The last of our traveling to China clothes are now clean, folded and put away, and being recirculated in the endless cycle down the chute to be washed and back up the stairs and hopefully in the dressers before being used. I am so glad that mountain of clothes is not haunting me anymore!!!

This week we continued to play ouside A LOT. Tonito absolutely loves his Little Tikes car, and his legs move like Fred Flintstone trying to keep up with Vivi. Both Vivi and Tonito have magnets in their knees and attract the cement several times a day. When one falls down, the other reminds me of their previous owies and I end up kissing all of the scars from the past week:).

Words Tonito uses now:
choo-choo (for train)
coche (car)
más (more)
leche (milk)
agua (water)
"pease" (please- only once in a while:)
Thank you
and all of our names, including Boudicca and Mingo, our 2 dogs and his BEST friends/toys- he LOVES loves loves the dogs and they are the first thing he looks for in the morning.

In China, they told us that Tonito was a little delayed in his speech. This history, combined with us being a bilingual household, is probably the reason why he isn't speaking as much as other kids who are adopted at the same age. We are not worried at all though- I would say 90% of the time we know what he wants either through what he says, and mostly because of his body language (pointing and grunting:). We have an amazing preschool through our public school district that he will start in the fall and provide him with speech and OT and I am confident that he will slowly develop his communication.

Tonito has been really progressing in so many ways- it is amazing that in only 2 weeks time he has grown so much! He will try to repeat almost anything we say, and he sits longer and longer on the couch cuddling and reading with us every night before bed. The first couple of nights he would last not even 5 minutes, and tonight I read at least 10 books with him sitting with me. His favorite was Jane Cabrera's "If you're happy and you know it"- nod your head, flap your arms, spin around, etc. He and Vivi acted out all of the verses, laughing and anticipating the next action.

He says a lot of other words that might be in Chinese, although sometimes we think he is trying to say something in English/Spanish. He adores Tonio and his face literally lights up and he screams 'baba" and "papi" when he sees Tonio. He really, really wants to hang out with and imitate everything Tonio does- from cleaning the garage, to using tools, bathing the dogs, or working on the computer. He wants papi to kiss his owies, eat with him, and more than anything wrestle and play with him!!! He loves me and is bonding with me as well, but papi is his #1 best friend:). I love to see them together and watch him just smile and laugh with papi- and it kind-of works out well because Vivi is a mama's girl who needs her hugs and kisses from me:).

Speaking of the two 3 year olds, they have their adorable, tender moments and then 5 minutes later they are fighting over the same toy (the toy that didn't really seem interesting until the other one started playing with it!). We are refinishing our wood floors upstairs and so we have all of our furniture in the girl's room and we pulled Vivi's mattress down into Tonito's room. So they took their nap together (that was a miracle, they actually fell asleep in the same room and slept for 2 hours!). Vivi woke up first and came to play in the family room. After a minute she burst into tears and starting saying something that we couldn't understand. Finally she cried "my friend! I want to play with my friend Tonito!" We told her he was still sleeping, but she wouldn't accept that. "But he needs a snack with me!" So we went and got him so that they could eat their snack together and play (play and argue over the same toys).

This week we got to visit with grandma and grandpa several times. He loves grandma and grandpa and really tries to say their names. He shows them his toys, laughs at Grandpa's antics, and relishes Grandma's kisses. Overall he is a really happy kid that thrives on attention and love, and just wants to play play play.

We are so fortunate to have Tonito as our son!! If anyone is in the adoption process and is wondering if they should look at the file of a "Waiting Child"-- I wouldn't not hesitate for a minute. Obviously every family has to determine what special needs they are able to handle regarding time and money (dr appt's, PT/OT, hospitalization for surgeries, etc)- but I would encourage families open their hearts boys and girls, and these amazing kids that are a little "older." So many families I know started the adoption process with a certain age/gender in their head, but just glanced at a list of waiting children and suddenly they fell in love with one of the kids that didn't fit their original plan. Just have a look and you might hear a little voice calling out to you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mommy, look! A cheerio got in my nose!

What's hard about a cheerio in the nose, is that the hole in the middle won't allow you to blow it out. Plus, when little fingers try to pull it out, they only end up shoving it higher and higher. Vivi announced this at breakfast on Monday, and fortunately Tonio hadn't left for work yet! He had to hold her still (poor baby) while I very, very carefully pulled out the delinquent o with tweezers.

Dr. Mommy came to the rescue again today, when Tonito tumbled down the stairs head-first and banged his forehead into the door jamb. He has a really hard head, and I thought it would look a lot worse! Maybe our little frozen hippo (disguised ice pack) really does make the owie go away faster? He was up running around within a couple of minutes, which led to 2 scraped knees and elbows outside. The cement was not kind to Tonito and he will have little scars to prove it. After lots of kisses, squirt-the-hurt, and Diego band-aids, he was doing well enough to jump on the trampoline for a half an hour before his nap. He still can't jump with both feet leaving the ground, but he tries SO hard and laughs the entire time!! This will be his next big milestone.

The kids have been doing really well together- they both are "outdoors" kids and we spend the majority of the time playing, riding bikes/cars, jumping on the brinc-o-line, and getting dirty. :) Life is great!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Our First Week Home!

We had a very fun first week at home!!

Sunday: Grandma and Grandpa came over and Tia Didi to play! We hardly noticed the suitcases strewn around the house- in fact if you squint your eyes, you can practice mountain climbing reminiscing the hike by Heavenly Lake. Hey, we unpacked enough to hand out some souvenirs!:)

Monday: My first day alone with 3 kids went better than I expected, but a lot of work..especially after having slept only 3 hours (Vivi was up crying, who then woke up Maya). Tonito doesn't believe in jet-lag, and he slept from 8pm until 10am. We went to the park today by our house!!! Although he is a little wobbly at climbing, Tonito LOVES parks. He is working on balance, and it is hard for him to step up onto a different level. On the bouncy bridge, he can only cross it scooting on his bottom, but always with a smile!!

The laundry has been moved out of the suitcases and onto piles on the floor, which are fun to jump in (think autumn leaf piles).

Tuesday: Today we went to our first play group! Vivi had a couple of girls her age to have fun with, but the little boy Tonito's age wasn't here today. Nonetheless there were lots of toys and Tonito enjoyed discovering them! After the playdate Tonito was kind-of quiet. He went down for his nap really well, but then when he got up to go potty he seemed sad. When I put him back in his bed he was silently crying:(. I asked him "niao niao ma?- potty? He shook his head no. Shui?- water? But he said no. My short list of vital Chinese was dwindling. I asked him "nai nai?" (grandma, his name for his foster mom) and he shook his head yes with tears running down his face:(. Then I asked him "ge ge?" (older brother) and he also shook his head yes. He misses his foster family. I rocked him to sleep and kept repeating "wo ai ni"= I love you. When he woke up he was his happy self, but maybe a little more huggy. It is so sad to see someone grieve, especially when there is nothing you can say or do to alleviate it. I am sure he misses them, his house, his food, and language so much!!!

Wednesday: Today Vivi had school, and so Tonito came in to say hi to the wonderful teachers. He walked right into the classroom, like he knew he belonged in school and started playing with the other kids and toys with no hesitation!! The other family from Vivi's preschool who also just got home with their 3 year old daughter from China, was also visiting. How fun would that be to get the four 3 year olds together to play!! Both Ming and Tonito were sad to leave this fun classroom, and couldn't understand why their siblings got to stay (needless to say I won't bring him up there next week when I drop off Vivi!). So instead of getting to go to preschool and play for 2 hours, Tonito got to come with Maya and I to the grocery store and buy badly needed food! I bought so much fruit and vegetables, chicken, milk, yogurt- and I plan on pumping up Tonito's diet with as much healthy food as I can to build his muscles and bones, and just make him stronger. He is so teeny tiny, and you can tell he gets tired very easily. Not for long!:) This is summertime!!! Time to play outside all day!! And we did- after naptime we played outside until Tonio got home at almost 7pm: basketballs, cars, chalk, soccer, t-ball, you name it, Tonito found it in our garage and dragged it out to play. He and Vivi were TIRED going to bed tonight!

We moved the piles of laundry to the basement (out of sight, out of mind). I broke down and did a couple of loads since Vivi and I were out of socks!

Thursday: In the morning, we visited Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandma was at work, and Grandpa got to watch all 3 kids BY HIMSELF while Mommy when to the clothing resale. I bought some clothes for Tonito, Maya, and their cousin Iñaki, but most of it was for Vivi. She had been using 24 months and 2T the last two summers (though towards the end of the summer her t-shirts were becoming midriffs!). When packing for China I realized she had NOTHING that fit her! We skipped 3T's altogether and I found a lot of cute 4Ts for the summer. Just a plug for clothing resales- cheaper prices, on cute clothes, people (sellers) get to make money, the school holding the sale takes a percentage (easy fundraiser!) and its way better for the environment (cutting consumerism!).

In the afternoon, we came back to our house with Grandma and Grandpa so they could babysit at night for our Chinese class. Yes, we are still taking the class, and no, we are not very good students. I am going to retake Chinese I this summer and maybe the second or third time around something will sink in!! We apparently support the "critical age theory" that it is harder to learn languages post-puberty:).

Friday: It is gorgeous weather out, so we took Tonito for his first of many walks to our public library. The kids section has a lot of puzzles, puppets, and other toys out, in addition to endless books. He doesn't really have an interest in books, and I wonder if he has ever been read to? When I try to read to him on the couch, he would rather do anything else... this is something we will be working on this summer! We love to read, and it is so crucial to him learning vocab and improving his language(in English and Spanish...and Chinese). At least he had a fun experience at the library playing with the puzzles!

After the library we walked over to the park, which he loved! It is much bigger than the one near our house, and this one has swings, etc. He is slowly gaining more confidence and trying to do "harder" things like climbing up a ladder instead of the stairs. For the first time I walked across the bridge (you know the ones that move and bounce when you walk? Earlier this week he would sit down and scoot across!:).

They were so tired after all the playing, so the naps lasted until around 4pm, when we headed outside again. We played until papi came home- with chalk, basketballs, collecting sticks. I love summer!! This time at the park, Tonito could climb up the ladder to reach the tall slide, and went slowly, slowy walking across the bridge!!! I was so proud of him- I can't believe he learned how to do that in less than 1 week? His large motor skills are visibly improving every day. Today he also walked up and down a step without holding onto anything- it is incredible to witness this improvement developing in front of me. He is doing so well!!! We have virtually no issues with hitting, he has had no temper tantrums since we've come home, and every day he seems to understand more. Tonito- you are amazing!!!

Saturday: Tonito and Vivi went to storytime with Tonio! Maya and I met them there after Maya woke up from her nap:). It was fun to introduce Tonito to the librarians, who knew we were adopting from China and were excited to meet him. (Vivi is starstruck by one of her favorite librarians- she just stares in awe, frozen whenever she see her. When she asked Vivi where she had been, Vivi could just barel answer "China," before shyly turning away).

In the afternoon I went to visit some good friends from college and Tonio got to play with the 3 kids! It was his first time alone with all 3, and he handled it fabulously! Tonito is definitely a "papi's boy," and his face lights up when Tonio walks in the room as he screams "baba" and flies into Tonio's arms. He beams with pride when Tonio carries him around and wants everyone to see that he is in papi's arms. He loves his papi so much!!!

Sunday: Today the kids were outside literally from when they woke up until they went to sleep (except for a minor hiatus during naps). They jumped on the trampoline (Tonito tries SO hard to jump with both feet leaving the ground!) laughing hysterically at each other, they rode in their little cars and trikes, they bathed the dogs with papi, helped to clean the garage, and visited with Uncle Bob, Auntie Pat, Uncle Tim, Auntie Colleen, awesome driver Tia Mimi (the lightpole is still crooked), Grandma and Grandpa. Nikki, Matt and Ewan came over to meet Tonito and play as well- it is so much fun to play with family and friends!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

DAY 18: Coming home, a family of 5

Our flight left Hong Kong at 11:45 am, meaning that we had to be at the airport no later than 8:45am, and it took almost an hour to get there via shuttle bus. The only shuttle bus that would get us there in time left at 6:30, so we were up early!!!

After 12 looong hours in the air (of which the kids slept about 20 minutes AFTER we landed and were taxi-ing to the gate), we arrived in San Francisco exhausted at 9am on the same day that we left (crossing over the international date line so we can have breakfast twice on Saturday, April 12, 2008). We decided to challenge our sleep-deprived bodies to a race through customs (and the added fun of 2 tired 3 year olds:) , and made our flight that was leaving less than 2 hours later. THe security in the SF airport was horrendous- huge, huge lines!!! But fortunately a guard saw us and another family with 2 young kids each, and let us go to the front of the line (to the chagrin and dismay of the hundreds of other travellers- sorry!).

On the flight home the kids slept almost the whole way, which was relieving! My eyes were soooooo happy to be closed- whoever invented sleeping did such a good job. Coming home, we were welcomed by my parents, my brother Tim and his wife Colleen, my sisters Christy and Emily, Auntie Joanne, Uncle Larry, cousin Melissa, cousins Annie and Peter with their adorable baby Sammy (for whom we'll be coming to the airport in a month or so, as they return from their 2nd adoption trip to Taiwan!), and lots of balloons and signs!!! ALl of the hugs and kisses (I think the balloons and stuffed gorilla helped too!) woke up the kids, who shared their contagious smiles with everyone. It was so beautiful to see my whole family together (except my bro Nico at college- we missed you!). Thank you everyone for coming to welcome us home!

We went back to our house for some delicious homecooked Mexican food- chicken tinga and carne asada, with beans and rice, guacamole, and fresh tortillas!! Yum. Tonito definitely loves Mexican food!:) Even the tinga, which was a little spicy! The toys fascinate him, and he played, and played, until finally it was time to go to sleep. He loves his room (yay!), loves all the toy cars, and is overwhelmed by the toys. We have plenty of toys, but compared to some of my friends' houses, we really aren't splitting at the seams. Nonetheless, this is more than he has ever seen and I can tell he won't be bored for a long time:). After the overstimulation of the playing, he slept soundly from 8pm until 8am the next morning!! Jet lag, schmet-lag.. well, for Tonito at least. The rest of us were kept up by Vivi's 2 night terrors, which lasted for 2 hours. She has these especially when she is overtired, which is the definition of her current state. She finally slept from 3am until 6am, so I had a whopping 5 hours of sleep. But I can honestly tell you I woke up happy:). Tired, but happy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

DAY 17: Hong Kong

Click for Hong Kong, Hong Kong Forecast

Today was an amazing, busy day!!! We started off taking a taxi, to the star ferry, to cross the harbor to “Hong Kong” island, then walked for a long time through the greenest, most tropical city parks I have ever seen to the “peak tram,” and then took this cable car up to the top of the peak overlooking the foggy Hong Kong island. This downtown area and skyline is incredible- think shiny new skyscrapers towering over a million neon signs, with second story open air sidewalks zigzagging over the crowded streets and city parks with bougainvillea vines and palm trees and such lush vegetation and fountains, it seems impossible to be in a city with 7 million (twice that of Chicago proper!). There is a lot of money in Hong Kong- we walked through the financial district- every high end designer brand was available, and their stores were packed. We were nostalgic for London as we rode double-decker buses that drove on the left and followed the exact same street signs as they have in London (the black and white ones for street names, blue for touristy sights, etc), and we smiled at the “mind the gap” signs in the subway. Extraordinary city!

First boat ride!

In the tram (first cable car ride):
One of the parks: After taking the cable car to the top of the peak, we came back down, and worked our way via subway and public buses to Stanley, a cute little town on the complete opposite side of the island where a lot of ex-pats live (and more money!) and they have a great street market there. The bus ride there was beautiful- we passed so many bays and beaches and again the lush green forests with brand-new apartment buildings popping out here and there. I keep saying “lush green” because I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Of course we had to do more shopping (not our last in Hong Kong) but 2 tired kids helped us stick to our budget! In Stanley Market, in search of lollypops (the woman correctly told us that through this tiny alley was a shop that sold candy):

Lunch at a one table restaurant
Vivi's silly new smile:

On the bus on the way there:

After Stanley Market, we headed back via bus to the central station, where we had some food- we had eaten this noodle, bok choy, and meat soup at Stanley market that was a little too visceral for my tastes. Vivi had her first donut from a bakery we found (we wanted her to try new food on our trip, and although this was new for her it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind as far as broadening her culinary horizons:). After loading the kids up with some more calories, we decided to power shop at Temple Street market, which was only a couple of stops away.

This place blew my mind!! If we didn’t have kids with us, I am sure we would have spent all night here at all the food stalls and different booths of Chinese and Tibetan goods!!! There were also tons of knock-off purses, clothes, watches, electronics, etc, etc. We finally bought some scroll silk paintings, which we had been looking for in Guangzhou but hadn’t found any we loved. We also bought some Christmas presents for our families (I’m not telling!!). Toñito by this time had fallen asleep, and I was singing Vivi her 150th round of “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” (which was even more painful because I don’t know the words except to the refrain, which I sang over, and over, and over, and over upon request to keep her happy). So we decided that I would take a taxi back to the hotel with the kids and our purchases while Toño went over to the electronics market a couple of streets down. We came back and watched “Happy Feet” (only $2) while I packed, had a “midnight snack” of instant oatmeal, and Toño was back soon because the prices of the electronics were as expensive or more as at home. Whew! What a busy and tiring day of carrying kids on our shoulders and walking around- but SO WORTH IT!!! I highly, highly recommend Hong Kong!!! We love it here!!!:)

From the upper-level of the bus:

Oops- I didn't mean for that picture to be in front of McDonald's!

Tomorrow we go home!! I am so excited to see everyone!!! And for everyone to meet Toñito!!! He was so cute today. I think the whole morning he was sad about something, because when we would ask “hao bu hao?” he kept shaking his head no (meaning something was wrong). But the second half of the day, after sleeping the whole bus ride to Stanley, he was his old self, giggling, fooling around, giving tons of kisses, and pointing at and asking for everything at the market. He is very sweet and you can tell he needs a lot of attention and love and kisses. He also doesn’t like to walk around much, but totally prefers being carried or in a stroller (my back needs a massageJ). I can’t wait to introduce him to you!!! He might be overwhelmed and scared and tired, but in time I know he is going to love our big, crazy, loving family!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

DAY 16: Train to Hong Kong

Click for Hong Kong, Hong Kong Forecast

We had to get up early today for our 7:45 luggage pick-up and 8am ride to the train station in Guangzhou. It’s funny how you make plans that seem so easy on paper, and then when you’re traveling in 85 degree heat and 90% humidity with two 3 year olds (one with an itchy rash, one very sleep-deprived) and 5 suitcases, 2 backpacks, 1 video camera bag, 2 kites we picked up in Urumqi, and 1 hello kitty bag full of toys and snacks (whew!) life gets a little more complicated. Especially when they keep asking to see your passports and tickets, the kids want to ride on the suitcases and want lollypops, and there are only 2 adults!!! Let’s revisit the sleep-deprived 3 year old- that one would be Vivi, due to a crisis of gargantuan proportions: WE LOST HER CHUPÓN (aka binky, pacifier, etc) last night at the hotel!! I have no idea where she put it, so she had to fall asleep without it. For anyone who knows Vivi, this is a HUGE, traumatic problem because her chupón is the single most soothing “lovie,” and sleep-aid that exists: no blankie, no stuffed animals, not even sleeping with mommy can replace it. Which is why, she didn’t go to sleep until after 11pm, and even then it was tossing and turning and crying in her sleep all night. Poor baby!
Crowded Guangzhou apartments

Laundry day is every day...

So back to the train ride: everything was great, the scenery was lush and green and beautiful amid the never-ending apartment buildings with laundry hanging out the windows and old air conditioning units dotting the walls, the seats were soft and comfortable, the train went fast (under 2 hours!), and everything was clean (except the squatty-potties, which are never clean). Tonito's first train ride!

Fun with stickers!

Close to Hong Kong

As we neared Hong Kong, maybe half an hour away, they locked and closed the bathrooms. I can’t figure out why they would do that? Of course, Vivi needed to use the potty. We went up and down the train with her dancing around until someone told me about the closed-down potties. In the next breath, she told me to just have Vivi go in the sink (out in the public hallway). I had no other choice, and 5 minutes later, Toño had no other choice with Toñito. So don’t ever use the sinks on the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong (bring antibacterial “magic soap”).
Tired kids hitch a ride

When we arrived, we got off the train and had to pass through customs and immigration. I don’t understand why, since Hong Kong is not a separate colony from China anymore?? But anyway, in the middle of the long line, Vivi had a meltdown because we left her lollypop on the train. The screaming, stomping feet, crying, letting herself be dragged, lasted a very, very, long time and everyone was watching us move through the customs line at a snails pace. Finally some kind-hearted (or auditory-sensitive) immigration official pulled us out of the line and opened a special booth just for us. We picked up our “checked” bags, loaded everything onto a cart including the 2 kids, headed for the taxi stand, realized we didn’t have Hong Kong dollars, Toño went to exchange money, and finally took 2 taxis to our hotel in Kowloon City. Whew!!!

Tonito's first subway ride!
A little loopy!!

After arriving at the hotel and settling in, we went to visit the Po Lin Monastery. Hong Kong is made up of many different islands, and we were headed on the bus and then subway to Lantau Island (one of the outlying islands).

First cable car ride!

How can they be so cute?

Mom- I'm not sure if you'd like it?

So sweet!

The beautiful view from the cable car

Mommy's boy

Once you get off the subway, you have the choice to either take the Ngong Ping cable car 5.7 km up the mountain or take a bus (or I guess some people take taxis?). We took the amazing cable car through the mist and over tropical, undeveloped vegetation in the National Park into the clouds and up to the Po Lin Monastery. The view was absolutely breathtaking- we could see many islands, the turquoise water dotted with tiny red and blue fishing boats, the skyscrapers in Hong Kong, the rocky shores, and several paths making their way through the trees and flowers. Vivi and Toñito loved it, and the whole ride they were pointing and looking at everything out the windows. I highly, highly recommend this to anyone coming to Hong !!

Posing pretty

Tonito, like Vivi, loves animals

You can barely make out some of the stairs behind us, leading up to the giant Buddha (totally covered by the clouds)

Papi and kids

He did it all by himself!

Vivi goes down to help

What a good sister!

Outside the monastery is the Ngong Ping Village, which is actually a tiny outdoor shopping place with restaurants and lots of postcards and souvenirs. After you walk through this “village,” you come to an enormous staircase leading up to the gigantic bronze statue of Buddha. I was imaging us carrying up the kids, but thought we should see how far they could get up the stairs themselves- they both totally surprised us!!!! Vivi was ahead, and finished all of the stairs without stopping. She just kept pushing until she was at the top! After exploring the area a bit, I showed her that papi and Toñito were still climbing. She told me that Toñito needed help, so she climbed back down and held his hand the rest of the way!!! It was adorable!!! People were taking pictures of them, and I was so proud of her.

Post-climb adrenaline rush

We walked around and then headed back down to get some dinner (though we hadn’t even eaten lunch!). All of a sudden we noticed a sign that said the last cable car down was at 6pm, and it was 5:45= so I carried Toñito and Toño carried Vivi and we RAN back to the cable car station just in time. We were both dripping with sweat and my hair has never been curlier, but we made it.

This is when our little adventure became a bigger adventure. Getting into the subway station, we were kind-of in a hurry because by this time the kids were really hungry and it was starting to get dark. Toño was ahead of me on the escalator down, and he thought I was closer than I was. So apparently he got on the first train, thinking I had seen him and was following, but I didn’t know where he was when I got to the platform so I didn’t get on. Several trips back, we had once decided if we ever got separated on a subway, the person ahead would just wait for the person behind at the first station. So I got on the next train, and then at the next station I got out and was looking around, but I didn’t see him. He said he was there waiting for me, but with all of the people I must have missed him, so I got back on the same train. Vivi fell asleep in my arms at this point, and I did not have a seat for the rest of my trip- I had to change 3 different times to a different line, and then walk forever to take a bus. When I finally found the bus stop and the right bus (thank goodness Hong Kong is bilingual!!!! What would I have done in Beijing where everything is only in Chinese!?) I sat down in the front seat and asked the driver if he could please tell me when we got to my hotel. Fifteen minutes later he stopped the bus, and said something really loud in Chinese. I guess he was asking if anyone spoke English, and could they ask me where I was goingJ. The woman behind me asked me where I was going, I told her my hotel, and then she translated it back to the driver. I was the last person on, and finally got back to my hotel where the front desk had a key waiting for me, left by Toño. At this precise moment, he was filing a missing persons report to the local police station!!! Finally, he called the hotel room and I told him I had made it back, etc, and he came back and cancelled the missing persons report. Oh my gosh, what a long day!!! The kids were wired after snoozing on the subway, and went to bed around 10pm after a dinner of rice, and bananas with peanut butter. (Toñito also had some of my chicken satay).

I am exhausted so I will go to sleep now too!:)