We started the day with the breakfast buffet.  Did you notice that the previous sentence rhymes?  Plus, it is how we have started every single day since the 15th of September.  Walking out from your  bedroom and having  breakfast there, waiting for you. Wait a minute . . . that is what Seth, Kate, Zane, Grant and Claire have every day.  They walk out and breakfast is just there for them.  Does the fact that their selection is limited to toast, English muffins or cereal really make that much of a difference?  Hmmmm. . . .  . .

Some families took a tour today of the Six Banyan Temple.  It’s a cool pagoda that used to be the tallest building in Guangzhou.  We skipped the tour, instead opting to attend local church services.  We had emailed the local branch presidency before coming, and we were armed with the detailed directions given to the meetinghouse, which was on the 14th floor of an older building.   We skillfully navigated the metro system like pros (the local metro is really clean and easy to use) and arrived at the meeting about 15 minutes early.  No one was there.  And the doors were locked.  Clearly, we had the wrong place.  We hung our heads, trudged back to the hotel, and sent a quick email off to the branch executive secretary letting him know we were sorry we had missed the meeting.  To our delight, a few minutes later we got an email saying we had gone to the old building, the new building was a quick taxi ride away.  And to boot, they run their meeting block in reverse of our schedule at home, so we hadn’t missed sacrament meeting yet.  We hopped a cab and made it to sacrament meeting in the right place – the third floor of the Ramada hotel.  They had a seminar room with chairs lined up and an electric keyboard.  Two teenage boys passed the sacrament, blessed by two Elders (they actually only have an Elders Quorum – which both Elders and High Priests attend), to a congregation of about 100 people.  It was a great meeting that shared the spirit in abundance.  A highlight was hearing a bit of the conversion and life story of an African American man who lived in Orem just a few years ago and now is living with his wife and new baby here in Guangzhou teaching English at a local academy.  Fuuny and cool to come all the way to China to hear an African American man speak.  The ward was fairly cosmopolitan, hailing members from around the globe who were spending time in China for one reason or another.  Also cool, one of the members works for the State Department in adoptions, so we should see her on Thursday when we go for our consulate appointment.

After church we headed over to a place called Shamian Island.  This is where the White Swan hotel is located.  The White Swan is where we stayed when we brought Claire home, but it is currently under major renovation so they are not accepting guests right now (basically, they have completely gutted the place).  But there is still lots of fun shopping there, namely, squeaky shoes.  We did most of our shopping at a store called Jenny’s place.  We had done quite a bit of shopping and laundry there in 2010.  Surprisingly, they completely remembered us and Jenny’s husband called Tom by name!  So that meant we had to buy a few extra things 🙂  We will probably head back over there another time just for fun . . .

Tom will say (and we might all agree) that the best part of the night was finding awesome, authentic char siu.  Tom went back down the same little alleyway he had before and bought some in the familiar white to-go boxes.  And the unexpected kicker?  The food had gone down in price.  So for 33 yuan (roughly $5 American dollars) we ate a fantastic meal.  When we made it back to the hotel, Seth joined Joe and ate a second dinner with the rest of the Bay Area Adoption Families at a local mexican restaurant.  Seth reports the food was pretty tasty.

On the way back from eating Mexican food, Joe and Seth found a street vendor selling Beats earbuds.  They bargained down from 40 to 10 yuan (about $1.25), but then realized they only had 5 yuan.  So once Seth got home, Tom took the boys back out to finish what they had started.

Sunday night was Liz’s first really hard night.  Just keepin’ it real.  We have mentioned that she is an energizer bunny, and we do believe that her general disposition is happy and active.  But as time goes on we are realizing that her behavior may also be a coping mechanism as she keeps herself occupied to avoid feeling sad.  Sunday night she woke up a few times during the night just sobbing.  She would be comforted after a while and then go back to sleep, only to wake up again crying.  We are so grateful for Liz in our family and for Heavenly Father’s tender mercies, but we know that our happiness (and eventually her happiness) arise out of pain and loss.  We’d love your prayers for our little girl’s broken heart.