Monday, May 31, 2010

We are a family!

We had our G&R yesterday and are officially a family!! We can't believe it has finally happened after all this time! After the ceremony we drove back to Hanoi and settled into our room for the night. He fell asleep at 9:30 and didn't wake up until 6! Wow!! When he did wake he just sat up and played in his crib. We are knocking a ton of wood right now because we are not sure if this is just his personality or if he is still in a bit of shock lol. But we'll take it! he is a remarkably easy going little guy and has not cried at all except a bit of whining when he was tired. We're still waiting for the meltdown. I think it definitely helped his transition that we spent time with us last week as he knew us when we arrived yesterday. It was very sad leaving the orphanage as the his main nounou Tho was very upset to see him leave. She cried as did we. She has been wonderful to us and him. The ceremony was short but quite nice. They apologized for the long wait we've had and told us that once the papers were signed yesterday morning they rushed the ceremony for later that day. they were so nice. Anyway, without further ado here is our son! Well, first there are pics of the drive, then the orphanage, then the G&R then hanging out in our room. We are moving today from the Medallion to the Somerset Grand...yay, an apartment with a pool!! Here are some pics:)...ok, apparently in no particular order lol. I thought they uploaded in order. In any event, enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

G&R today!!! Fnally, the last piece of the puzzle...

Heading to Hoa Binh...again. We are having our G&R today wooohoooo!!! Finally! We are traveling back at 12:30 today and having the ceremony at 4:30. We'll be posting pics of our little man soon!!

Food glorious food

Well there is really not much to report. We are still in Hanoi with no word when the G&R will be. The agency rep said she will call us tomorrow (Monday) and let us know what she has heard. She still hopes we'll have the ceremony tomorrow afternoon. I doubt it somehow though. I am hoping that it will at least be Tuesday. Meanwhile we've been wandering the streets of Hanoi shopping and poking around various market areas. It is hot as hell and as a result we need to take frequent stops in cafes, which I'm not complaining about! Just as an example as to how hot it is, today it was 31...not too bad right? But with 85% humidity it officially "felt like" 46. That kind of weather makes Meg a sweaty and miserable beast. But thankfully there are plenty of cafes to stop in and enjoy a yummy Vietnamese coffee, cold with sweetened condensed me it's good! We've also been doing a lot of good eating so this blog will contain pics of some of our favourite meals plus a few extra pics of Hanoi, enjoy:

One of our favourite restaurants, The Ladybird, an dishes we have had there:

Shrimp pate on sugarcane:

Sweet sour chicken curry, eggplant is pepper sauce and stir fried veggies and pork on noodles:

View from the upper deck of the Ladybird:

Thai glass noodle salad at the Tamarind Cafe (next few from there as well):


Deep fried mushrooms (very good):

69 Bar (no they do not know the connotation lol):

Mixed spring rolls:

Bun Cha:

Chicken 69 with 6 spices:

Yummy Vietnamese coffee (hot this time):

A little cafe we stumbled across:

Some other Hanoi scenes:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Back in Hanoi and still waiting for G&R

We decided to come back to Hanoi for the weekend. As much as it was wonderful to spend our days at the orphanage with Van, it was difficult for the nounous and their routine. We decided it would be better to get out of their hair for a few days. It was sad to leave Hoa Binh without Van. We really hope the G&R will be Monday! Either way it looks like we'll be in Vietnam for awhile yet. We are not sure what we will do for the weekend, probably just hang out here. We were thinking of Halong Bay but it seems a bit rushed. However if the G&R is not until later in the week we may consider it. Here are a few pics of Hoa Binh and the orphanage...minus Van of course as we can't post pics of him yet.

The countryside on the drive there:


Anybody in the mood for some deef fried salted pig thing?

The entrance sign:

The road down:

The greeting room at the orphanage:

One of the canine greeters. He was pretty manky:

Laundry drying in the sun. Lots of laundry for lots of little ones:

More laundry drying on the back side of Van's baby room:

Younger girls folding laundry:

Surrounding countryside:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sorry Pat but another man has stolen my heart!!

Day 3 in Hoa Binh. What a journey! We spent all day yesterday at the orphanage. What a gift to see the inside workings. Anybody that has been referred a child from Hoa Bing is lucky indeed! The nannies are amazing. Not to brag, and perhaps we're biased, but Van's nanny is the most amazing! She loves him like crazy and he is wonderfully spoiled :) All the children are treated so well. The ratio seems to be about 3-1. The orphanage is clean and quite big. There are a lot of older children who help with the little ones. There are some really wee babies there. During a break from loving my little Van I was loving on a little guy who couldn't be more than a week old. Everything runs very efficiently and the babies are not left long if they are crying. There is a really funny older blind lady who alos helpwith the little ones. Yesterday she was throwing a dirty towel towards the basket and she hit Pat, well she got the biggest kick out of that. All the nannies laughed. Everybody is so nice there and we are so very lucky to get such a bird's eye view.

So I know everybody would like some info about our little guy. He is pretty easy going. He loeves to be carried around so he can see the sights up high lol. He is a love bug and has taken to us quite well. Especially me. He reached for me no problem. He of course loves his nounou most of all which is totally understandable but he also seems to really like us too so we can't ask for anything more. He was shy at first but once he realized we weren't so bad he figured he would take the extra attention no problem. He is a charmer that's for sure. All the nounous can't pass by him without a smile or a word and it doesn't take much to get him to grin and laugh. He crawls like a bat outta hell and you have to really watch him. He stands in his crib and cruises around inside but does not seem too interested in walking yet. He's a bit bow legged lol and we realized that's because he loves to be carried and gets carried a lot. When he was born he weighed 4.5 pounds and the nounous indicated that he was as skinny as my arm. Now he is 19 pounds which is amazing considering his birth weight! They are all amazed at how well he has done and think he's a big boy now which I guess he is. He has a crazy amount hair and it all sticks up into a bit of a mohawk that makes everybody chuckle. His 6 month pics clearly showed him with a haircut. He'll be getting and another one of those when we get home :) He has 4 teeth, 2 on the bottem and 2 on the top but not through a whole lot. I am in love!!! Pat is loving the daddy bit too and we fight over the opportunity to carry him. Although frankly my carrying cannot be too long because I sweat so much that he gets all sweaty too. It is hot as hell here lol. Very very humid!!

SOn another note we are kind of stuck here. Have no idea when the G&R will be. We are now trying to decide what to do for the weekend. As much as we love going to the orphange, it is hard on the nounous and their routine for us to be hanging around there all day everyday. We have decided that if the ceremony is next week we will either go on a hill tribe trek this weekend or go back to Hanoi. We don't want to leave Van but we can't stay here that whole time. Hoa Binh itself is not very interesting and the hotel is a bit noisy so it's not very relaxing. They are all very nice though.

So that's our update for now. I will update again once we know our plans.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hello from Hoa Binh!

We are here!! We left Hanoi at 10ish and arrived in Hoa Binh at 12:30ish. Had lunch at the restaurant near our hotel then headed to the orphanage. What can I say...he's amazing, glorious, beautiful, funny...I could go on and on. We spent 3 hours with him (and the other babies). It was such an incredible experience. Sadly we had to leave him to head back to our hotel at 5. we'll be spending everyday at the orphange between 9 and 5 until our G&R ceremony, which has not yet been set. We are still hoping for Friday but not sure. The internet connection at the hotel here is a bit odd so not sure how frequent our updates will be but I will try to give one everyday. No pics though as we cannot post any pics until he is officially our son...also this computer sucks lol.

Rest assured we are great and happy and he is wonderful.

Meg and Pat

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hanoi day 1

We had a very exhausting day in Hanoi. I forgot how completely frenetic this place can be. Actually I think it is even more so than when I was here 9 years ago (yes 9, thought it was 8...where does the time go!). We started our day with a hearty breaky then we headed out into the Old Quarter armed with our Lonely Planet. There was a handy little map with the walking route. We figured we would try and follow that at least some of the walk, with a detour to the "computer street" to try and find a converter for our electronics (our converter does not seem to work). The first 4 hours of our walk was very fun and interesting. We checked out Lake Hoan Kiem, stopped for coffee at Highland Cafe, walked down silk street and many other streets selling various items. Then came our detour to the "computer street" which didn't have computers at all, only hardware stores. Nobody seemed to have what we were looking for. The street was chaotic with cars and motorbikes speeding by and no room to walk on the sidewalks. Of course this is not new, this is in fact par for the course with respect to the Old Quarter. But by this point we were exhausted and beyond hot (humidity here is pretty brutal). On top of that we got caught up briefly in a police chase lol. We are walking along when suddenly a couple of police vans pull up and 6 or 7 police guys jump out and run into one of the stores. We literally had to jump out of the way. Anyway, our detour was a bit longer than anticipated and by the time we made our way back to our hotel's neighbourhood, we were in full sensory overload. Now for me to get a sensory overload is pretty major. I've done quite a bit of traveling and been in many similar environments including Hanoi before. For some reason though we hit our ceiling and ended up in a zombified state simply trying to get back to our hotel. It made crossing Hanoi Old Quarter streets quite a challenge. Anyway, it is quite a place. We ended our evening sitting on a small patio above one of the small streets eating good, cheap food and drinking beer while watching the young Hanoians cruising on their motorbikes and the shop keepers hawking their wares.

Tomorrow we are off to Hoa Binh for a few days. We are not sure what the internet connection will be like so we may be incommunicado for a few days. The next post we make will be after us having finally met our little man!! We are coming Van!

Here are a few pics of Hanoi to tide you over: