Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Meeting Jubilee

When we got back to the orphanage, I was brought into a room while the nannies prepared Jubilee for our visit. 

So many butterflies and excitement! 

We aren't allowed to post pictures of her face until we finalize in September, but Janice, knowing this, made sure to take some good pictures from both sides. Jubilee had been sleeping, and they woke her up and probably fawned over her while getting her ready, so she looked a little tired and confused when she first walked in. She wore a traditional Chinese dress and held the photo album we sent. They encouraged her with candy to interact with me, but after a few minutes she woke up a little more and started playing. Waiting for her to come in was a little awkward because a few other nannies and orphanage workers came in to watch our first interactions, but as soon as I saw Jubilee, they all melted into the background and I forgot they were there.

Because we weren't able to do the orphanage tour earlier, Jubilee got to come with us and be my tour guide. Then we went into the room where the children play, and I got to play with her and her little friends for awhile. Then it was lesson time-the kids sat in a circle while the teacher sang and talked in both Cantonese and English. Any time she asked for a volunteer, Jubilee's hand shot up and she would say "me!"
The orphanage was really great, they have teachers and therapists on staff, with short, fun lessons multiple times a day. Every nanny seemed to always be singing, whether it was a song like 'the wheels on the bus', or singing about tidying up or taking a bath. Jubilee is very musical because of it, and knows so many songs. 

The next day I would have the opportunity to take Jubilee back to my hotel room to spend some one on one time with her. There were a few things I needed to buy, some things weren't quite clear in her information. She doesn't have a swallow reflex for her saliva, so she goes through about a dozen bibs every day. She also had a fistula in her repaired cleft palate, and because of her syndrome, her mouth is misshapen, and the combination of those issues keep her from eating solid food. I had brought some baby food but thought she could eat rice or small pieces of food, but they said she needs everything pureed. So after taking the bus and the subway back to the hotel, Janice told me the name of a mall I could go to to get the things I needed. She asked the concierge to write the Chinese name of the mall (the English name is iSquare) to give to the taxi driver so I could get there, and I set of on my first unassisted adventure in Hong Kong.

 The taxi ride was just a few minutes long, and only cost about $2 US. I went to the 2nd floor, where Janice had described a store for baby items. Turns out it was Babies R Us! I bought some bibs and some baby food, and a bowl and spoon set, and a board book that has English and Cantonese words in it. Then I wandered into a couple of other stores and bought some souvenirs, and then went out to the street to catch a taxi back to the hotel.

When I got outside, it was dark, but the neon lights on all of the buildings made the sidewalk very bright. 

Trying to look like a confident navigator rather than a lost tourist, I casually scanned the area...and there were no taxis. At the hotel there is always a line of taxis waiting, and this small town girl took that for granted. I started to walk along the sidewalk, figuring with so many stores around there had to be a place where taxis waited for customers. Eventually I found a money exchange booth, and figured I had a good chance of the employee speaking English. He did, and he told me that the taxis don't always stop, but I can hail them from the street and they might stop. So I saw a taxi at a red light, dashed across the street, and leaned over to the window. Just then the light turned green, and the taxi driver didn't speak English and didn't understand the English name of the hotel. I thought I would be out of luck, but he motioned for me to get in anyway, and he drove up the street a little and pulled over. While he did that, I pulled out the card I had gotten from the concierge with the name of the mall. It was written on a business card for the hotel, with English, Chinese, and a small map on it. Phew! He looked at the card for a minute, then we were off. I grabbed dinner in the hotel restaurant and collapsed into bed, exhausted! 

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