The first few days of dh and Banana's trip to Joseph are very similar to the first few days dh and I spent in Beijing to pick up Juliana. The most notable difference is that we were there in a mild December, they are there in a bitter January. It was cold when we were there. I can't imagine how difficult it is to try to do any sightseeing in the bitter cold weather they are facing.
The main goal of these first few days is to get out and move so that your body can adjust to the time change before you add taking care of a new child to the mix. Beijing has a lot of attractions, unfortunately most of them are outdoors. The last few days dh and Banana have visited Tienanmen Square, the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and the Olympic Village (this is the only attraction we didn't go to last year). Poor Banana complained on Skype last night (her early morning) that her feet hurt from all the walking they had done, and that was before the Great Wall. When we spoke early this morning (about 7 PM China time), she had fallen asleep in her clothes in the middle of praying the rosary with Dad.
In some ways I know dh would like to visit new spots in China. I am thankful, however, to have been to these places. It allows me to feel more a part of the trip. They even went to the same crazy restaurant that served us this last year.
Sure enough they served it again this year. Dh did not bother trying it this time around and although my Banana is a fish eater, she still didn't brave it.
Since we had seen most of these places with the adoption group last time, dh spent the first few days on his own. They went back to the places we had gone, but they did it on their own in an effort to see a little more and not feel rushed. Yesterday was their first day with the group and apparently Banana really enjoyed that (she is like her mother in that regard, I also enjoyed meeting other adoptive families), there are quite a few children traveling with their families. Banana likes to talk and I think she is enjoying making some new friends.
Our group in Beijing was about 30 families. This group is considerably smaller. I think there are just under 10 families, six of those families will be traveling with dh and Banana to Zhengzhou tomorrow (tonight our time). They are at the point in the trip where the excitement to meet your new child really starts to build. Juliana was given to us the same day we traveled to Chongqing, but Joseph will not be brought to them until Monday (Sunday night our time). I know dh is anxious for this and although nothing will compare to having them all home, I am excited to Skype with them and to hear dh and Banana's impressions of him.