Sunday, November 8, 2015

Travel Day to Nanning, Guangxi

Today, Sunday November 8th, we woke up way too early and headed to the hotel lobby to let Rick rest since we were wide awake and he was still pretty tired.   We've been able to Face Time with our kids back home a few times, which has been nice.  They are enjoying seeing us and seeing the hotels we are in and the city views.  We are just loving seeing their faces and hearing their voices!

A little before 9 a.m. our driver picked us up and took us to the Shenzhen train station.  We stopped for some water and Gatorade before leaving Hong Kong.

Bye bye Hong Kong!  Our stay was quite brief, but it was nice to be back to this beautiful place, even if for just a very short time!

We arrived to the train station a little after 10 a.m. so we had almost 3 hours to hang out before the train departed at 1:00 p.m.  We enjoyed people watching and we also got some reading in and some homework done.   I think people enjoyed watching us too. We really stand out with a little blonde hair blue eyed boy and a little Chinese girl who doesn't speak Chinese or English.   People have been fascinated by watching us sign to her and her to us.  One lady even came up to her and started talking to her.  We pointed to her ears and said- she can't hear.  The lady seemed to act like she understood, but still kept talking to her, thinking maybe she'd speak Chinese to her.

Rick pointed out two ladies sitting directly across from us who were signing. He said, "I think one or both of those ladies are deaf."  Sure enough they were!  Now that's not something you see every day in China!    We noticed them and also noticed that their signing seemed to be not that different from ours.   They noticed us too and they definitely were excited to see us signing to Lena and her signing to us.  Very cool!
Now to a funny.  While waiting for our train, we had to use the bathroom once or twice.  Lena was 2.5 and not potty trained when she came to us, so she clearly does not remember squatty potties.   So we get in the bathroom and she takes one look at it and shakes her head no to me, like oh no I am not going to do that!    It was too funny, but she did use it.  We really had no other choice.  They are truly disgusting, but one of those 'China' things.  ;)

 Killing time in the Shenzhen train station!

A little before 1 p.m. we boarded the train.  We had assigned seats.  They were very nice.  We enjoyed the beautiful scenery as we passed through and stopped at various towns and cities in Guangdong and Guangxi province.   I believe the train went up to a little over 305 km at its fastest.  It took about 4.5 hours to get from Shenzhen to Nanning.  About half way in, Lena started to get very tired.  We decided we'd let her nap, but when it was time to wake her up when we got closer to Nanning she was out of it and not so happy about waking up as you can see in this picture.

 All aboard!

It was fun to watch the board to watch the speed of the train and read the names of the various towns and cities we'd be stopping at along the way.

 And the scenery was incredible!  These are just a couple of many that I took.  Guangxi is absolutely gorgeous!

I told you she was tired!

 Welcome to Nanning!

When we got to the train station, Amby was waiting for us.  I've heard nothing but great things about him so I was excited that he was going to be our guide...until he said that he had some other work to do this week and we are going to have Miko instead.  I have heard someone had her, but don't know of many who have.  I hope she's decent.  Amby helped us get to the van and then took us to our hotel, the Marriott in Nanning.  It is a very nice hotel in the new part of the city.  Amby told us that Nanning has 3 million people and that this area was once a sugar cane field until maybe the last ten or so years.  Everything around this part is modern.  There is a lot going on and a lot of lights.   After getting our bags in our room, we went out for a walk and grabbed some food since we really didn't eat breakfast or lunch- just some of our snacks we had brought from home.   We checked out the mall that is right next to our hotel and went into the Wal-Mart that is in the basement of the hotel.  Wal-Mart is always an interesting experience in China. I wished we had took the camera out tonight, but we left it in the room.   One kid said hello to us and tried to tell us something more, but we had no idea what he was trying to say.  Evan definitely stood out and I swear, people seem to look at us like we took Lena or maybe they think we just adopted her.  It's awkward.   I told Rick that we might have to have one person run out for some errands if we need something because I can't imagine the looks we are going to get with 3 Chinese girls and Evan!!!  

Speaking of...we are about to head to bed as it's after 10 p.m. here. Rick is already sleeping.
Tomorrow morning we have some down time to prepare for the day.  We meet our guide in the lobby at 1 p.m. to exchange some money and then head to the civil affairs office around 2:30 p.m. It sounds like gotcha will be around 3 p.m. which is 1 a.m. Monday morning at home.  Say some prayers for the girls, their foster families, and for us before you go to bed tonight!  We're excited, but getting nervous too- this is a big change and as much as it's such a cool thing, it's hard too.  It's been awhile since we've been through this with two at once.  We're trying to gear up for that!

Good night from this end of the world and HAPPY ORPHAN SUNDAY!  By the end of Orphan Sunday, there will be two less orphans and soon to be two more Henningfelds!


  1. How exciting! We stayed at that same hotel a year ago! Praying for you, the girls and foster families! I wonder if our daughter would know your girls?

  2. How exciting! We stayed at that same hotel a year ago! Praying for you, the girls and foster families! I wonder if our daughter would know your girls?

  3. Praying for you, Brooke!! Love the descriptions in your post - it's so fun to follow along. :)

  4. Best of wishes and prayers for your family, Brooke. When you get home, let's connect. I have friends with daughters from Nanning, (Canadian).

  5. Love your updates!! I'm so excited for you.

  6. I LOVE reading your updates and am so excited for what lies ahead for you and your family! Embracing you in love and prayers...