As a counter balance to yesterday's heavy, teary post, today I'm sharing with you about a fun day.
We got some of the kids dressed up and took them out to a local park.
This little guy's advocacy name is Paul. He has Down Syndrome, and he was my buddy for the day.
Now, before we go any further, you need to understand a cultural difference. In the US, you hear park, and you think, "playground." Not so in China. In China, park means adults doing tai chi. It means old men playing mah jong. If you do see equipment planted in the ground, it's just as likely to be exercise devices, intended for grown ups. You may see concrete ping pong tables. But you're not likely to see swings and slides at your typical local park.
This it totally a Chinese park experience. This man, and several others like him, are writing out poetry in characters in the blocks of the pavement. They're doing with brushes that have water in the handles. Their work will evaporate as the day goes on. I saw this going on at a couple different parks this trip.
Waiting for the rest of our team to arrive. We were kind of a spectacle. Not as many Westerners visit China outside the provincial capitals, and to have a bunch of funny lookin' foreigners out with a bunch of special needs kids was quite a sight to see.
Writing with sidewalk chalk.
Shannon with Ella. <3 Ella. Oh, this girl! I'll have to do a post just for her soon, but I left a piece of my heart with her, too.
If you've been reading along since the start of the trip, you may recognize this pair. This is Tina and her new son, Nathan. You'll see another picture of them when I get to the Hong Kong photos at the end of the trip.
As we walked through the park, we heard musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments, and even people singing.
We brought along some things to help entertain the kids at the playground-less park. This is Daisy, who also has Down Syndrome.
Blowing bubbles. This was a universally popular thing to do with all the kids we met.
Hey, there's Tina and Nathan again!
As we walked along, we came to a lake. On the left, sitting on the wall, is Morgan, a neat young lady, who was a real asset to our group. She was born in Beijing, and adopted to the US as an older child. She was helpful in translating for us, and she had a lot of energy to keep up with busy boys.
After our walk through the park, we took the children to lunch at McDonald's. The kids passed the time with play doh.
The advocates passed the time taking pictures of the kids. Roland recently had eye surgery.
Ordering food was quite the hilarious ordeal, and for some reason our table's order took forever to arrive.
Eventually, we all got fed. It was fun to see the kids' personalities come out. Daisy, who was so excited about the prospect of french fries that she had to be assured over and over that she was going to get some. One little guy, who cleaned up any hint of a mess. Another who slurped down a packet of dipping sauce. They're all funny and endearing.
The restaurant staff even brought out free mini ice cream cones for the children. I like to think that in some tiny way we were helping to change societal perception of special needs. Of course, I'm pretty sure Chinese people in general think Americans are crazy, so no knowing what we'll do next. This was several days before the election, and while we were in McDonald's, the television played a clip of our Orange Emperor and his Fierce Opponent. It was a little embarrassing.
After lunch, the nannies took the kids back to the orphanage and we caught a city bus back to our hotel. Being out and about in China is always fascinating. You always see interesting things, like this street vendor, sampling his wares.
A mobile pet store near the bus stop.
And there's the bus! It was quite full, so our team had to stand. All part of the adventure.
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