China, oh China.

I have to say I'm glad it's Neil there and not me.

I love love love to travel. I haven't been anywhere out of the country but Brazil, but it was an amazingly awesome experience, that I can't wait for the day to travel like that again. But China. Not on my list.

I talked to Neil this morning at 8:30, which was 10:30 p.m. his time. He was really tired yet very chatty about China and his experiences thus far. I have to share itwith you.

I'm glad I'm hearing about it all, will get to see his pictures, yet never have visit. And here's why:

* It's crowded. Very crowded. He said what they call the "countryside" of Shanghai are houses on top of houses and you can not see any bare land. It was basically called the "countryside" because there weren't any high rises there. Wow.
* Shanghai had 20 million people. The "small town" that they went to had 11 million. (yikes.)
* Yesterday Neil was in wherever-it-was where there were 7 million people. He said there were no street names. He said nothing has an address. You get around by calling people and finding the nearest landmarks. He said it takes a "hell of a long time to get anywhere" because of it.
* He had to visit a soap-making plant (Uni-Lever) as one of his stops. They have a glycerin (his product) department there. He said it was astonishing. They had equipment and machines that made the soap but workers who put the soap into the soap boxes individually. Individually, people! That is millions of boxes by hand! Unreal.
* Speaking of these factory workers, which most people in China are either factory workers or farmers. The average person in a good factory job makes $100/month. And this is considered a really good job! Can you imagine?!
* In most factories, the workers live there. The factories are a lot of times in the bottom of high rises and the factory workers live above the factory. People pay for their own food, rent, etc., but are expected to live where they work. Could you imagine that either? Maybe that is why a lot of Chinese people here in America live at the restaurant they work at?
* It appears that the government, even though it's not communist anymore, still is very near being so. The government regulates everything so strictly still. They are in control of building homes and buildings. The economy is very wealthy and growing like crazy, but their people stay very very poor. And the roads are brand new and very nice, yet people ride bikes or walk. Not many people have cars. Just the more wealthy ones do. And he said he's seen a lot of Chinese driving Buicks!! How funny is that?!
* Also, no one gets bills, like we get our Visa bills, etc. They always have to pay in cash. Another way the government can stay in control, I guess. (Wow.)
* He said at one point he saw some high rises, which they were still building, and counted 30 of them that were
exactly the same. People are moving into the cities like crazy to find better work, yet it's making these cities so populous and dirty.
* He said he's never seen such a dirty place before. When were in Brazil, we thought it was dirty. But he said this is nothing like Sao Paulo. So it's hard for me to imagine. He's seen signs all over that say "no spitting" (the Chinese spit a lot because they don't believe in swallowing their saliva?!) but he said he's actually not seen anyone spitting (maybe because the signs say to not do it? -- ha!). But he said everyone smokes. He said he couldn't see well tonight because his eyes still felt so foggy from all the smoke he sits in every day. I so can't imagine that, either. (I hope he'll be okay).

So that's some of Neil's experiences so far.

What bothers me the most when he tells me these things is then knowing what the adoption policy for international adoption is there in China. I've done so much research and now it's starting to make some sense!

Just recently a new policy has been added with a lot of regulations. They want their children going to (basically) the best-looking families in the US. You have to be of a certain weight, BMI, a certain age, have to have been married for a certain amount of time, neither parent can have had any surgery before, neither parent can be on anti-depressants, neither parent can basically have any illness to speak of. Plus a hand full of other "rules". It's just crazy, I think. The people of China have the lives like they do there, yet they feel their children can't live a good life in the US if their adoptive parents aren't perfect to their standards. It's China's way of still having control even when their babies leave. It just dismays me. I wonder if a c-section is considered a surgery to them? Probably so. Oh my goodness, it's just crazy.

So these are the kinds of things Neil is experiencing over there. I think he liked Japan a million times better. At least he's now seen both worlds. I'm happy for him. But now I'm ready for him to come home. :c)


Michelle said...

Wow! All so very interesting! Sounds like an experience he will never forget! Can't wait to see some of his pictures!

The Trier and Jen said...

praying the time goes fast my friend


Johanna said...

Hi!! My friends parents are living in beigin for 3 years on an assignement from cat. check out her blog... http://johnningbeijing.blogspot.com/ very interesting.

LiLi said...

Sounds like you are doing well and that he's having a good time (well as good as you can when working)... I love reading your blogs. And after reading about the temper tantrums of Maia... I think she is frustrated becasue of Daddy being gone, and she doesn't have sophisticated enough thinking (yet) to be able to vocalize how she feels, so she is acting out on her frustration of not being able to communicate to you about her missing her daddy. Hang in there! It should get MUCH better when he gets home. When you put her to bed at night, snuggle her close and tell her that you know she misses her Daddy and that he misses her so much and that he can't wait to get home to see her and hold her and read to her... It will offer her some comfort... it may not curb the behavior, but it will give her some confidence... ((hugs)) you are doing great, Mommy Val! I only hope I do half as well, when Matt is out of town. I'm dreading it SO much. I have NO PLANS while he is gone... nothing! I don't even know where to begin to plan something. We might have ONE play date during that time, but it's the day before he comes home. My mom is thinking of taking a day or two off from work to help me out, but sometimes I feel we just stress her out... so I don't know if I am going to encourage that. I may ask my cousin if she'd be willing to take Maegan one day while Matt is gone. She loves hanging out with my cousin and my cousin has ALL BOYS (teenagers) ... so for her it is fun having Maegan. Other than that, I have no clue what we will do! *sigh* Pray me through it, Val! PLEASE pray me through!

Missy!! said...

Oh wow!! What an adventure!! I totally understand the "dirtiness" of it all! And I use to think our cities were gross!! :) Needless to say, he'll have some great memories to share with others!!

MP said...

Great post, I find it VERY interesting!!
That is a place I would like to see first hand although it's not THAT high on my list :-)

lil ole' me..... said...

No bills? I can't even imagine. I never carry cash anymore.

And, I cannot believe all that you described about adoption. I had no idea.... how crazy.