Today we went out and saw a few sights around town. It started with a stop outside the Zhenglin seed factory. That was the sight of where RJ was found at just 2 days old. It is a difficult piece of history to face, but I think it is important as we start to piece his story together for him…even the painful parts. Someday he may want to know about his life before he became part of my family...and these things are a part of that life. The seed factory was on a busy street. His papers say that a policeman found him near inside the back door by an abandoned house. I wonder if his birth father worked at the factory or if his birth mother lived nearby. There were some very tall apartments nearby, but also some very worn down brick huts. Of course they might not have lived close by at all, but because RJ was only about 2 days old at the time he was found and the likelihood that they would have been quite poor, they probably couldn't have come from too far away.
After that painful dose of reality, we went to the nearby water wheel park. It goes along the famous Yellow River, which runs all the way through Lanzhou. The park has many water wheels that replicate those along the Yellow River used for farming. They are quite amazing, although none of them were 'on' as we were at the park. It was a lovely walk and really nice to see a little bit of Lanzhou city. Then we went for a meal at a restaurant near the hotel. On our way back to the hotel, I promised Emma I would buy her a popsicle. So, at the first little vendor on the street I saw, I decided to just run over so I wouldn't slow the group up. Just as I was approaching the little ice cream stand, I missed a step down on the uneven sidewalk, I felt my ankle twist under me…and down I went….all the way. I was certain I sprained my ankle, but after I sat on the curb for a minute, I realized that I would be able to walk on it…even though it was already swollen and hurt like crazy. I limped back to the hotel, and put it up while we all napped…hoping that it was not sprained. How would I ever manage with my two kids if I had a sprained ankle? Although it is swollen and a bit bruised, I have been able to walk almost normally on it, so I think all will be well.
Anyway, after our nap, which we have all come to enjoy quite a lot, I decided that we should try the pool. Emma loves to swim…and I figured RJ would too. The pool at the hotel was not very nice and it was very crowded. We had quite an audience of observers watching our every move. We got ready, swim caps (required in all the pools in China) and arm floaties and all. Emma started in first…it was cold she said. I thought, I'll just dip RJ in from the side to get him used to the water. Maybe it was the cold water…but boy did he hate it. So, then I got in and thought maybe if I was in there and held him as we played that he might like it. But no such luck. He hated everything about it and screamed and fought to get out. So, swimming for the first time was a loser…but at least we tried. Poor thing, he seemed quite traumatized. But he recovered quickly. He is so good natured and easy going.
Only one more full day in Lanzhou, then off to Guangzhou for a week. We are already ready to go home. Emma often says she misses her home and friends. She has done so great for these two weeks, but we will definitely be anxious to get home.