Tuesday, September 23, 2014


How dare I leave you hanging! There is simply so much to tell, so I will have to back up quite a bit to Sunday.

We spent our morning by taking a taxi over to Shamian Island where we used to stay in our past adoption trips when the White Swan Hotel was our home for the week. It was somewhat nostalgic to be there again...to remember our past trips with the kids. We were sad to find that, since the White Swan has been closed for renovations for two years, many of the shops are now closed, including Jordon's Place (I wrote about him in With an Open Heart). 


We walked around the island to a few of the local shops, including Jenny's Place, and then walked over to the small Catholic Church where we'd visited and attended Mass in the past. I planned to only walk in to say a prayer, but when we got to the side entrance we could see that Mass was taking place. As I popped my head in the door, with Joseph at my side, I heard a man making the announcements in English. At that very moment, he asked if there were any guests present. You know I couldn't resist. I raised my hand high (actually, I think the Holy Spirit pushed it up there because I really didn't have time to think), and he asked where we were from. I told them who we were and introduced Joseph as our son that we'd just adopted. The whole congregation clapped, and the look on our son's face was sweet. It was like he knew something special just happened! A few moments later, Mass ended and we were on our way. Sometimes I make myself laugh. Yes, I am loco.

We ate some lunch at a familiar spot that almost all adoptive families know--Lucy's. When Chinese food is no longer so appealing, you can escape to a place with some comfort food from the U.S. including burgers, fries, pasta, you get the picture.

We took a taxi back to the hotel in time to clean ourselves up, and headed out to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for 3:30 Mass. I've had this in the plan since before we left home, and our guide wrote the address on paper for us to give to the driver. It took us about twenty minutes to get there, and it was apparent we were getting deeper and deeper into the heart of the city. I have to say that I was growing more nervous by the minute. I don't know how to explain it really, but there were so many people and the further we went from the hotel, the more uncertain I felt. With every turn, the road seemed smaller and the area seemed more congested. I was seriously ready to tell the driver to head back if we felt uncomfortable upon arrival.

But then we finally pulled up to the Cathedral, and it took my breath away. This place was AWESOME. People were everywhere taking pictures, which was so nice to see that it is respected as such a magnificent landmark, dating back to the 1800's. We made our way to the front of the building, and realized that we were a few minutes late. The cathedral was already packed full. The man (who seemed to be somewhat of a guard) at the front took one look at Joseph, though, and allowed us to enter through. We found an usher to helped us find a pew to squeeze into, and as we looked around, we learned that Guangzhou has a large African population (probably 70% of the attendance). It was nice to see such diversity in the city, and in the Catholic Church! When we did the peace (shaking hands with all around you), Jimmy noticed that the man behind us was wearing a shirt with a logo from a car dealership in Palm Beach, Florida...HOME! What are the chances of that??? Mass was beautiful, of course. I love that wherever you are in the world, the Mass is the same. It felt quite special to attend Mass with Joseph for the first time. 

When Mass was over, we took some photos of the cathedral and headed out. Crowds were still gathered but we made our way around them to the street. We tried to find a taxi for about five minutes, but no luck. I started to get slightly paranoid. Jimmy suggested that we cross the street, which we did, and it still seemed that no taxis were coming by, and the ones that did drive by were either full or out of service. The "slightly paranoid" started to drastically intensify. The streets were full of people, and we decided to walk further down the road to what looked like more of an intersection. The further away from the Cathedral we walked, the more unsettled I felt. Several more taxis passed us by, and now I was in full-blown panic mode. It was awful! I kept thinking that if someone took Joseph there would be no way to find him. I started to think about the fact that we had no I. D. and no phone number to our guide. Can you imagine? After just leaving church??? Where was my faith, LOL????!!!!!

Anyway, after about fifteen minutes of this, and actually being denied by a couple of cabs once they looked at our destination on paper, I finally pretty much threw myself in front of the next taxi I saw. He rolled down the window, and I begged him to take us in. I even used the fact that "I have baby!" (pointing at Joseph) He threw three fingers up to say that he wanted 30 RMB. Honestly, I might've paid 3,000 RMB at that point. Praise the LORD, he agreed, and I hustled Joseph in that cab with Jimmy behind us. Oh my goodness, it was crazy. Of course, my husband made fun of me the whole time. I know...I am losing my marbles. I think it's time to come home. You have no idea how relieved I was to make it back to our hotel and take a shower after that. We opted to stay close to our temporary nest, and ate in the Executive (free) Lounge for dinner that night. 

Once we were safely back and relaxed, I could really reflect on the beauty of that Cathedral. Just look at these photos! Breathtaking!


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